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Lean Manufacturing, Basics, Principles, Techniques

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Figure 4 shows the core elements of planning and control and execu­tion systems. Master planning, including strategic, business, and sales and operations planning, is a function of top management. It sets the direction and scope of the business. Master production schedules (MPS) must be valid, matching the goals of master planning, and be tested for realism by rough-cut capacity requirements planning, ensuring that needed resources will be available. They drive detailed planning for both material and capacity requirements and provide management with a handle on detailed operations. Execution has elements for both prior­ity and capacity control.

Material requirements planning (MRP) embodies manufacturing's basic logic:

      What products will be made? How many? When?

      What resources are required?

      Which are now available for use?

      Which are now on order?

      Which others are needed? How many? When?

Figure 5 is a typical MRP format. The MPS at the top shows the desired schedule of a product to be made. Major and subassemblies (and other components down to raw materials) are defined by bills of material (BOM). At each level, the basic logic is applied, indicated here as require, have now, will get, need, and start. Unfortunately, most MRP programs use less clear and definitive terms. This powerful tech­nique can apply to batch production, shown in figure 5, continuous production, with rates in each time period instead of specific orders, and even to make-to-order. It is a part of all commercial software of planning and control computer systems.

Capacity requirements planning has three objectives:

      Determine resources needed to produce what's planned.

      Initiate actions to get them.

      Control production lead times.

Manufacturing has four types of capacity: that required by the MPS; theoretical, based on time utilizing available machines, equipment, and direct labor; that demonstrated in actual operations; and effective, that being utilized on items produced and used promptly.

Sound planning with computer systems requires

      input from a team of knowledgeable people in the major functions

      a complete core system as just described

      necessary subsystems integrated with the core to serve all func­
tions involved

      accurate data with NO SIGNIFICANT errors

      a short planning horizon

      an agile, responsive production facility

      fast, disciplined execution to serve customers' real needs.


Two questions must be answered for effective execution. The first: "Is total output adequate?" The second: "Are the right items being made?" These cover both capacity and priority. Capacity control has three objectives:

      ensuring that output (throughput) meets requirements

      keeping input and output in balance to control work-in-process

     managing lead times of specific orders, vital for effective opera­

Priority control has five objectives:

     shop planning—ensuring that everything required to start work is

     job selection and assignment—choosing which order in a work cen­
ter runs next by whom

     feedback—measuring work performance against plan and initiat­
ing corrective actions

     lot or flow control—providing data on work location, material
counts, and costs

•   rescheduling—adjusting priorities to reflect changing requirements.

All necessary techniques are now available to meet these objec­
tives and are well tested.

To Be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 10


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