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Shop Floor Performance 


PART I. 

 

"Never before have we had so little time in which to do so much!" Franklin Roosevelt made that statement over a half century ago in reference to one of the most trying conflicts of the modern era. World War II, the first truly global war, was raging on two fronts—in the Far East against Japan and on the European continent against Germany. Today, America finds itself engaged in a different type of war. Once again, it is a war in which our adversaries include both Germany and Japan. Once again, it is a war in which our hopes for victory have been diminished by a series of lost battles. And also once again, it is a war in which time is a critical factor in determining who will be the superpower in manufacturing as we enter the Twenty-First Century.

The objective of this paper is to address the elements of continu­ously improving a manufacturing process to become a World-Class Manufacturer. A "Hands-On" workshop will be used as the training approach to demonstrate the methods and concepts that can be applied to eliminate unnecessary wastes from various operations and activities within the factory. The workshop dem­onstration will provide the "Boot Camp" basic training necessary to improve the manufacturing process by executing those activities that add value and minimize those things that promote waste and add cost to the operation of the factory.

America's War Machine and Manufacturing Machine

The U.S. has reigned supreme with its Armed Forces and has always been the "Best-In-Class" with its war machine. Through the use of the latest advances in research and development, state-of-the-art technology and the best trained soldiers in the world, the United States has maintained its supremacy as a global military power.

In manufacturing however, we are now losing our dominance as the world's leader. We are not devoting enough resources to R & D, failing to install the latest available technology and failing to provide the necessary education and training to our most valuable asset: our fighting, productive workforce! To regain this leader­ship role in manufacturing in the Twenty-First Century, the U.S. must start massive campaigns on all three fronts mentioned above. As such, our first strategic target should be educating and re-training our own work force.

Gathering Intelligence

The Real Issues of the Factory Floor War

Prior to the 1970s, the United States was predominant, a world leader in the manufacture of numerous products, among them being automobiles, machine tools, primary metals, electronics, computers and consumer products.

However, because of technological advances in other nations coupled with a more aggressive and committed workforce, U.S. market dominance—both at home and abroad—has continued to suffer. Today, Japan has captured a large share of the market for electronics, computers, consumer goods, automobiles and pri­mary metals. In Europe, a new "United" Germany has emerged as an important manufacturer of these same products, and has

gained much of the market in the U.S. for automated machine tools. And, to compete in the Europe today, U.S manufacturers must now become certified in ISO 9000, a quality management standard established outside our domain and control.

To better understand this phenomenon, one need look no further than to the customers and the focus that must be put forth to understand their demands for complete satisfaction. As such, this focus must really start all the way back in the factory where we understand and practice good internal supplier/ customer satisfac­tion focused processes. When this occurs, our self-directed fac­tory execution teams can then link these processes all the way from the factory floor to the external customer by providing goods and services that are of high quality, priced competitively, and delivered responsively.

Finally, we must face the reality that our greatest adversary in this war is ourselves. Indeed, we have created a separate internal civil war within many of our factories by failing to recognize how to unite and integrate the resources of the organization in a unified approach; all striving to share the same vision and accomplish a common mission.

In the military, we learned that the class structure of officers and enlisted men caused conflict at times. Likewise in business, we have also learned that the structure of management and labor also causes conflict when improperly managed. We must make a paradigm shift by removing these barriers. This working demon­stration will begin the removal of these barriers by providing a common training camp to start dramatic changes in the Value, Process, and Culture boundaries within the organization. The demonstration will show how the organization can start to change from the "War Zone" approach to the "United Nations" approach by shifting the paradigm for the following concepts and methods:

War Zone Approach     United Nations Approach
Dept. vs Dept.     Participative Management 
Suspect Everyone  Respect & Trust Everyone
By Order from the Top By Consensus 
Stockpile Goods Just-in-Time 
Raise the Price Reduce the Cost 
Work Longer & Faster   Work Smarter

Since no war can be waged without the direct involvement of people, we will now look first to the role that our people play in this factory floor war.

To be Continued


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