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Redesign the Factory 1 0f 6

In order to compete and sustain competitive advantage in the 21 st cen­tury, the business strategy for a manufacturer calls for a cost-effective management of its products, processes, and people. The entire process must achieve faster manufacturing and delivery cycles, lower costs, and better quality to satisfy customer needs in a very highly competi­tive environment. This strategy requires a dynamic infrastructure and a synchronized network of customer-focused processes, product de­signs, people organization, and systems to satisfy the demand for product varieties with immediate deliveries.


This paper proposes a framework for synchronizing the manufac­turing segment of the supply chain by redesigning the factory layout, people organization, manufacturing process flow, and systems and pro­cedures. It takes an integrated resource management approach to blend the cross-functional disciplines from marketing, industrial engineer­ing, manufacturing/process engineering, materials management, pro­duction management, and quality. The paper specifically outlines a step-by-step methodology to redesign the factory floor for synchronized flow manufacturing and lean production. The paper proposes the inte­gration of enterprise resources planning (ERP), demand-pull materi-als/Just-in-Time (JIT) and selected initiatives from quality manage­ment (QM) that provide for an infrastructure for the manufacturing strategy to operate. The paper also highlights the results that the inte­grated approach can lead to in achieving the key competitive advan­tages of reduced cycle time and costs.


A good part of this framework has been developed for a generalized and integrated approach based upon the experience gained in three case companies—one is a highly repetitive electronic assembly manufac­turer with total manufacturing cycle time of few hours and the other two are varying degrees of hybrid or mixed-mode precision electro­mechanical assembly manufacturers with total manufacturing cycle times of few days to weeks.


The proposed framework is applicable to both hybrid or mixed-mode manufacturing and repetitive manufacturing environments. The ap­proach is specifically applicable to the companies striving for an oper­ating strategy of manufacturing components on a repetitive demand-pull basis and end items on a built-to-order basis.


1. Product/Process Flow Mapping and Product Family Grouping

The purpose of the product-to-process flow mapping is to organize or group products (models or end items) into product family group­ings that primarily share the same manufacturing processes and equip­ment with similar or varying process times. The products and pro­cesses are listed in a matrix format and applicable processes are mapped to each product. A visual or computer-assisted analysis of the matrix for process commonality leads to the determination of the product families and subfamilies.

To Be Continued

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