There are very few manufacturers in any industry that Just-In-Time
(JIT) has not affected. Whether it's compliance labeling, EDI,
reduced inventories, preventative maintenance or cellular
manufacturing, a JIT impact has been felt. The shop floor control
area is no exception. Some of the advances here include cellular
manufacturing, daily production schedules, Kanban replenishment
systems and zero inventories. Cellular manufacturing is a practice
where the manufacturing process is contained in a single area, as
contrasted by a process layout where all like functions are grouped
in the same area. The shop floor control benefits from cellular
manufacturing by line-of-sight visibility, that is, jobs are visible
from start to finish. This significantly reduces the possibilities
of batching subassemblies at a work center for transport to another
work center and also eliminates transport time. This also makes
dispatching less complicated as there is less coordination between
work centers. Daily production schedules certainly compliment shop
floor control. This practice enhances shop floor control by forcing
scheduling and production to spend more time planning build
schedules. To publish daily schedules requires good communication of
capacity, material availability and current job status between
these two groups. It also requires a data base system capable of
publishing daily schedules.
Kanban system, or "card" system, is a pull system that uses cards or
containers as a signal to replenish inventory at a specific
location. This technique aids the shop floor in the area of the
build schedule by controlling how many of what component is on the
shop floor. It also provides for visibility on the shop floor—there
is space provided for each component and only that component. With
this system in place, a material handler can walk down the storage
line and visibly determine material availability rather than wait
for stockout reports to be generated.
inventories have gotten the lion's share of attention of all
components of the JIT evolution. Zero inventories are not an element
of JIT, but a byproduct of JIT. By simply cutting inventories, out
of tolerance processes will be exposed. If those processes are not
corrected, going back to holding inventory will be the only way to
keep the factory going. An example here would be batching
subassemblies. From a process standpoint, batching is not the best
method. Batching has many downsides, one of which is excess
inventory in process. By cutting inventory in a batching process,
the weaknesses in the assembly process will be exposed. Without
improving on that process, the effectiveness of reduced inventory
will be minimal.
There are no magic formulas or systems that can be purchased and
plugged in that will guarantee immediate shop floor control results.
When a shop floor control process that is inadequate is supplemented
with a state of the art shop ERP, the net result will be a faster,
yet inadequate, shop floor control process. A good shop floor
control system consists of:
frequent communication between scheduling and production
• issuing work to the shop floor with no material shortages
• maintaining realistic, current due dates
• monitoring data base system integrity
• honestly measuring performance
floor control is a "living" process, not a one time schedule load.
Proper information and good communication can keep customers happy.
If it weren't for customers, we would not be here.