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Our focused factories were designed to do a few products extremely well. A more formal definition for "focused factories" is provided by Schoenberger and Knod, in their book, "OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT, SERVING THE CUSTOMER". They define a FOCUSED FACTORY as "a concept that stresses doing one or a few things well at a given plant." While our focused factories were collocated within one set of 4 outside walls, they were designated as "focused factories" since they produced certain end product configurations and/or performed similar processes. Prod­ucts manufactured in the facility were keyboards, com­puter processors, printers, and monitors, along with other computer related products (Local Access Networks—LAN's). The reason I mention the specific products is to demon­strate the range of products and technologies that co­existed. The entire manufacturing facility employed ap­proximately 1000 people in production and support posi­tions and seven focused factories were implemented during a period of three years. Our initial focused factory began with the reengineered management organization shown in Figure 2.

In case you think I accidentally drew the above figure upside down, our organizational charts (including the model of which is shown above) are drawn inverted in AT&T, to emphasize and remind us that our management staff is first and foremost in a supporting rather than supervisory role. A typical focused factory could contain a staff of approximately 80 production associates, supported by two supervisory employees. The average office group had an engineering force of 10 engineers, 2 senior engineers and two or three material management employees. As dis­played in Figure 2, this cross functional group reported to (i.e., was supported by) the operating manager.

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At a high level, the relative involvement of each of these functions, for the major activities of each line or focused factory, is shown in Figure 3.

The MASTER SCHEDULING activjty was executed both outside and within organizational teams. The important thing to achieve here was a mutual buy-in that included Marketing and Product Management. Our Sales & Inven­tory Process (SIPP) would typically include New Product Introduction, Manufacturing, Finance and Research and Development along with the Master Production Scheduler. This was very important because no single organization seemed to be able to represent all views. The process involved a weekly meeting, by phone, which involved product management, and a twice per month video-confer­ence with New Jersey to include Marketing and Sales representation. Initially we had on-site meetings, how­ever, in Guadalajara this proved to be prohibitively expen­sive. Schedule acceptance at the factory level was shared by the organizational team and the centralized group at weekly production review meetings. These were held on Monday mornings to validate the Final Assembly Schedule for the current and next four weeks, and a Thursday afternoon meeting was held on an "as needed basis," but only when required by Materials Management or Manufac­turing. Agreed upon schedules were then reflected in our computer based scheduling system. The "analysis and response to change request interval" is currently a week. During this week, Materials Management reviews mate­rial constraints on key items with internal shops and external suppliers, and secures commitments while Engi­neering and Operating review capacity issues. The Mate­rial Management/Supplier interface and relationship will be touched on later.

To be Continued


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