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As mentioned in the beginning of this paper, it was proved that many production problems could be eliminated and all could be minimized. Effective execution depends on how well this is done. In addition, other actions can help, including these:


     concurrent design engineering, with teams of engineers, planners,
marketers, production people, and cost accountants developing more
manufacturable product designs

     process engineers focusing on streamlining production methods,
reducing setups to permit smaller batch run quantities for smoother
and speedier materials flow

     better management of capacity and lead times with input/output
control. The work-in-process level (queue) in this work

    center is deemed too high and is to be reduced
in four weeks by producing 300 hours per week, although only 270
hours are needed. In week 9, orders totaling 275 hours of work are
input and the center puts out 305 hours—close to plan. In week 10,
265 hours are input but output drops to only 260 hours. Underqual­
ified plant people would explain why the drop occurred, claim it
wouldn't happen again, and expect 270 hours input, which under-
qualified planners would release. Qualified planners, however, knew
the basic rule, "To reduce work-in-process, input less than is out­
put" and released only 230 hours in week 11. Output of 280 hours
was again less than plan, so only 255 hours were input in week 12.
This week, output was up to 295 hours, essentially on plan, but
cumulative deviations of 55 hours in total input and 60 hours in
total output pose real problems. However, work-in-process has been
cut as planned. The obvious real problem is low output; this must
be solved.


Stuffing in more work makes the situation worse. Increased work-in-process and longer, more erratic lead times will aggravate on-time delivery problems. Valid schedules of released and completed orders will avoid this. Figure 13 shows how orders can be selected to get them with a conventional MRP program. Planned order release dates from it are listed by week with order quantities and work order hours. A cumulative total for week 9 of 275 hours is close enough to plan; these were the orders released as "actual input" in figure 12. The total of 288 for week 10, however, was too high; the planner held part #68 order and released the others totaling 265 hours. This resulted in smooth, controlled release, although MRP suggested an erratic total.


A deadly phenomenon known as the vicious cycle is also called the lead time syndrome, this begins when a plant or work center is late on many completed orders. The cause is seen as actual loads of work in the facility exceeding its capacity. Those who don't know how to control work-in-process and lead times inevitably conclude that planned lead times are too short and must be increased.


The planning system immediately indicates that more orders should be released earlier, which increases work center loads, makes queues longer, makes lead times longer and more erratic, and causes more order due dates to be missed. Several major U.S. industries fell victims of this—machine tools, bearings, home electronic appliances, office equipment and others.


The reverse of this is the best way to reduce lead times and improve deliveries. Cut planned lead times in the planning system; this will reduce work input, allowing output to reduce work-in-process, and lead times will be shorter. Accompanied by smaller order quantities and smoother flow, this can be continued until work centers start to starve and vital throughput is lost.


Part 1  Part 2   Part 3  Part 4  Part 5  Part 6  Part 7

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