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