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Lean Manufacturing Articles

Woven through every enterprise is an enormously com­plex web of activity, seldom clearly seen. It flows in ev­ery direction and touches every physical activity. This shadowy web is the flow of information. The sum of all information flow processes can be envisioned as the in­formation supply chain and the enterprise as an infor­mation factory. It is more than computer systems and telecommunications. It includes everything from casual conversations by the water cooler to formal policies and procedures. When viewed as a single function, it is a large and growing portion of the cost of a business.

The characteristics of information flow are very simi­lar to that of physical material flow. Data is the raw ma­terial inputs for the processes. Information is the finished product. Complexity and variation along the flow of information have the same potential as any physical machine or work center to create bottlenecks, quality problems, delivery delays, and increased costs. Organizing, controlling, and managing the flow is both a challenge and an opportunity that may ultimately de­termine the success or failure of the enterprise.

Much has been published about the application of improvement Blitz1 events to achieve rapid improvement of labor productivity and material flow on the factory floor. Significant, rapid improvements in the cost, qual­ity, and cycle times in the information factory can be efficiently achieved by applying the Blitz approach to information flow processes. These improvements ben­efit the company, customers, and employees. The au­thors have demonstrated many times that this approach can be easily adapted to improving information flow. A simple translation of information process activities into material flow terminology is all that is required.

To Be Continued

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

Lean Manufacturing Articles and click on Series 14

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