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MRPII-JIT-TQM Integration
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Bill Gaw's Top 12
Lean Manufacturing

Implementation Strategy

An attempt to implement one initiative at a time has its limitations, may take years and may not provide the anticipated results. On the other hand, an attempt to implement too many initiatives at the same time may lead to mass confusion, lack of adequate resources to carry out the plans, organizational paralysis, lack of credibility and finally total failure. A compromised approach consisting of the basic foundation upon which the subsequent initiatives can be built provides for a practical implementation strat­egy. The foundation blocks consisting of three basic initia­tives namely MRP II, JIT and selected components of TQM are proposed as the initial candidates for the most cost effective integration and fast implementation in most manufacturing organizations. Making the right choice by implementing JIT changes in the front and back end of MRP II planning system, the work teams trained on quality improvement process and the operations managed by cross-functional teams provide for the immediate benefits

A strong and reliable MRP II planning system is a pre­requisite for the JIT pull production system to work. Hence it follows that the first step is to implement, fine tune or reimplement the key planning and control functions with MRP II depending upon the current operating situation in a company. Parallel to enforcing the MRP II system disci­plines, the JIT/TQM education and training may be initi­ated with a primary focus on employee involvement, team building, problem solving and process improvement tech­niques. The next step following the completion of basic education is to implement the JIT material and manufac­turing processes, system modifications to MRP II and layout changes or new layouts as the case may be. This approach ensures the basic foundations of employee in­volvement and process improvement initiatives are well underway prior to implementing JIT which requires major changes, total team involvement and commitment. Each of these key strategies must be implemented in phases such that each phase is short and provides immediate visible results and hence credibility to proceed onto the next phase.

Following the initial implementation within its internal environment a company may select the TQM initiatives dealing with its external environment. At this point the organization may implement subsequent phases of the initial initiatives and simultaneously proceed with some of the other TQM initiatives such as supplier partnership, pull system between supplier and factory, customer part­nership, quality function deployment, concurrent engi­neering, design for manufacturability and business pro­cess reengineering of certain business segments depending upon the competitive needs of the organization and its adaptability to changes.

Back to Basics

The four elements of a manufacturing system consist of planning, execution, tracking/control and feedback/correc­tive action. The MRP II system provides for the detail planning of materials, overall planning of resources and tracking and control of production and inventory. JIT addresses the execution of material and resource plans based upon the current demand and attempts to minimize all wastes in the manufacturing processes including cycle times. JIT necessitates a strong and reliable MRP II planning system as a prerequisite for JIT pull production system to work.

The TQM components of total employee involvement with work teams trained on problem solving techniques and continuous process improvement provide the infrastruc­ture for the MRP II plan and JIT execution functions to be carried out. The performance measurement system pro­vides feedback on schedule adherence, quality and cost performance while TQM techniques are used to develop and implement process improvements. When implemented with a team approach these basic strategies provide for fast implementation, immediate results and direct impact on the bottom line while building employee morale and cred­ibility at the same time.

To be Continued


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