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Inserting the Management Technologies Into an Easily Understood Framework

Three-Plus Integration provides a coherent framework for understanding how to use the proliferation of new tools. Its three technology families, New Product Design and Strategy, Resource Planning/ Waste Reduction, and Cost Calculation/Cost Reduction, cover the entire design + manufacturing/distribution + costing process for a given company as well as for its suppliers and customers.

For example, with this framework, Taguchi methods for defining the best set of parameters for a production process, can be assigned to the Design and Strategy or QFD technology family. Capacity Requirements Planning is a part of the Resource Planning and Waste Reduction or MRP II/JIT/TQC family. Even automatic load-smoothing approaches, usually called "finite capacity," can be understood best within the MRP II family as an element of Master Scheduling.

Another example is the place of Total Quality in the overall scheme of things. Without Just-in-Time, Quality sides with planning and control (the vertical dimension) to help master the process. With Just-in-Time present, Total Quality swings down to the horizontal axis and becomes a dynamic problem-preventer and problem-solver, a partner of Just-in-Time in defining the ideal process and in reducing resource consumption not only in production, but also in the design process and the accounting and cost-measurement process. Each company can choose how it wishes to use Quality both on the philosophical and on the practical level.

With Three-Plus Integration, the technologies fit together and it can be seen what each one does and doesn't do. It will become easier to be a generalist, to keep the big picture and not get bogged do wn in selling one technology over another.

The Control Dimension and the Change Dimension of Each Technology Family

Building on a "core competency" which may be sand-casting or plastic injection-molding or electronic assembly or supplying information rapidly or long-reach distributing or any of a thousand others, the entrepreneurs or managers

of an existing concern must express their industrial and cultural vision that the people of the company will bring to life through the three technology families.

Each technology family matrix has two dimensions, one for planning and control (the vertical dimension), and one for directing change (the horizontal dimension). The vertical dimension (planning and control) represents stability and works like a mirror or a camera, by reflecting or photographing the existing state of things. The horizontal dimension (change) tries specifically to change the customer-supplier process, to make it better, faster, cheaper, more reliable, and more resource-efficient. It tries to define the ideal industrial process and the steps which must be taken to change the current process so that it moves closer to the ideal.

In New Product Development and Strategy, the "star technology" Quality Function Deployment's vertical or control dimension contains product characteristics and measurement criteria. These are required to satisfy the wants and needs of the customer which are presented on QFD's horizontal or change axis. In the well-known House of Quality, for example, the horizontal axis is the "Voice of the Customer," representing the ideal product as perceived by the customer.

In QFD, the crossing point of the two dimensions is the activity of deciding how in practical terms a customer want or need will be satisfied. The QFD strong/medium/weak/ none symbol for the strength of the relation between the customer want (the ideal) and the product characteristic (the real-life measurement) materializes this decision. Just using the control dimension would result in a product that has lots of features but does not integrate true customer wants and needs. Just using customer wants and needs to design a product or strategy, without evaluating all the tradeoffs required to make the product a reality, would produce an uneconomic result.

Lying on the vertical dimension of Resource Planning and Waste Reduction is the star technology Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II). It acts like a mirror by providing a reflection and projection of the existing production and administrative process. It does not seek to eliminate work orders or to create cells. Its aim rather is to coordinate and control the use of existing resources within the confines of the industrial process as it is currently defined.

To be Continued


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