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Product and Process Management

The PRODUCT AND PROCESS MANAGEMENT that we supported, resulted in establishnig seven different focused factories over three years. These focused factories had significantly different manufacturing layouts and prod­ucts. These products are displayed in Figure 4 to show the spectrum of products and technologies that were supported by the reengineered organizations.

Initial layouts included the following configurations: "U shaped," "W" shaped, "Airline" type progressive assembly, straight line conveyor, and a "Hub" shaped manufacturing line.

We tried to adopt some common features to all cells. The use of distributed docks, was one example. Availability of a dedicated dock enabled frequent receiving of small quan­tities, almost completely eliminated lost material, and removed delays such as inspection and material review board decisions. The advantages of shipping from a dedi­cated dock also ensures timeliness, increased order ship­ment accuracy and reduced needs for fork trucks.

2. Offices

Locating the offices of the focused factory groups on the shop floor was important. Building office areas right on the manufacturing facility, to house the organizational team, increased responsiveness. All of the individuals necessary to solve 95% or more of the problems were located within 30 seconds of the problem.

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3. Daily Meetings

Daily meetings can be unproductive if not properly man­aged. Not having them can be successful, however it is like operating a "no huddle" offense in American football. It requires a high level of intuitive teamwork and functional expertise within the team. Our technique was t j assign a rotating chair-person to coordinate the meeting to assure that: a) it was held early in the shift, b) no more that 5 minutes were spent on parts shortages, c) at least 5 minutes was dedicated to discuss process problems, d) the meeting could not last more than 15 minutes total, e) a documented logbook was kept to track problems, solutions dates, responsible individuals, f) it maintained an im­provement focus, and g) it had representatives from Oper­ating, Engineering and Materials Management. These daily meetings seem to be an important ingredient for initial success, and then reducing their frequency can be selected as a process improvement task that everyone will support.

4. Education

Educational needs were reviewed on a regular basis, and a delegate from each of the three groups was designated to

suggest common education and/or training that would be beneficial for everyone. Commitment to training was nec­essary because the tendency was for individuals to develop an "I've already learned that" attitude after having been assigned to focused factories for awhile. One mistake we made was to not compile and maintain a comprehensive training program matrix to track progress against needs. Individual participation must be mandatory. Employee involvement education is important in each organizational team, because some associates have been isolated from decision making for so long, that to simply ask them to participate doesn't work.

5. Recognition Programs

The following four programs that are found in many companies under the auspices of many titles were an example of the types of individual recognition programs that we found to be successful.

• QUALITY OF WORK LIFE (QWL)—voluntary, and works on programs the group identifies as important.

• ALLIANCE—represents small group improvement ac­tivity that requires all employees to participate, focus­ing on solving specific production process problems.

• OPPORTUNITY THROUGH TEAMWORK—facili­tated team building training (similar to Outward Bound).

• PRAISE—Allows any management employee to award any employee a cash amount for doing something beyond the normal duties of their normal assignment, and no approvals are required for this grant to be paid.

To be Continued


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