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 Lean Manufacturing 

MRPII-JIT-TQM Integration
Part 5 of

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Bill Gaw's Top 12
Lean Manufacturing

Total Employee Involvement

Total employee involvement results in an excited and committed work force that not only does its own job but also improves the way a job is done. It creates a culture to tap and utilize the creative energies of the employees for problem solving and process improvements at the source. It leads to local ownership of processes and hence owner­ship of process outputs and genuine pride in the successes.

A culture of employee involvement is the key to implement any quality improvement process successfully. The entire organization needs to be organized into quality improve­ment teams or work teams with defined goals aligned with the company's overall goals. The individual work cell quality improvement teams may consist of the production employees, inspectors and a cross-functional team member.

Problem Solving and Quality Improvement Process

All teams are trained on the basic problem solving and process improvement techniques. Simple problems are tried out first to develop a complete understanding of the techniques. The teams must meet at least once a week to work on quality, cost or scheduling problems as surfaced by the JIT process and performance feedback system; come up with recommendations and implement the process im­provements. The concurrent implementation of JIT pro­vides the opportunity for a team to utilize the TQM tech­niques just learned and work on the real world problems that it can directly associate with and be recognized for its efforts for improvements.

Trained and Certified Workers

Training is an essential ingredient to enable a worker to do his job and be a team player. The workers are cross trained within a cell or across the cells wherever possible and then they are certified accordingly. This cross-training provides for a flexible work force specially important for a hybrid environment to meet the needs of fluctuating demand. Since all product quality inspections are done by the workers before passing them on to the next work station it is imperative that they are fully trained in the quality standards and procedures.
Cross-Functional Teams (CFT)

The cross-functional team concept provides for a self-contained management team with total product family focus and full ownership and management of a focus factory. A cross-functional team may consist of members from various disciplines required to assume the total operation's responsibilities. Depending upon the econom­ics a scenario of a cross-functional team may consist of a product engineer, a manufacturing engineer, a quality engineer, a material planner and workcell team leaders. A designated member of the purchasing team may be as­signed to each CFT as a liaison between purchasing and production.

Each CFT functions as a quality improvement team and is led by a CFT leader. Various cross functions within the CFT interface with the company's core support organizations, such as Engineering, Quality Assurance, Sales, Materials and Cost Accounting for technical expertise and for ensur­ing that each operation performs the day to day activities within the realm of the company's standard operating practices. The interactions between CFT members and the core support organization aim at resolving production issues and ensuring compliance to quality standards and customer requirements and specifications.

Each CFT or Product Team assumes the full ownership of the operations management functions; namely material planning, manufacturing engineering, quality engineer­ing, production, inspection, labor and cycle time tracking and meeting customer commitments and financial perfor­mance of the business unit. The MRP II/JIT system pro­vides the rate schedules to work teams to plan their work load and personnel assignments. Each team tracks its daily actual production to plan. Any problems relating to the schedules, personnel, tools, materials or work orders are fast resolved by the CFT. The performance measure­ments to customer commitments and Kanban inventory targets are tracked and corrective actions are taken by the CFT. This approach transfers the production control re­sponsibilities from the centralized production control to local responsibility and control.

To be Continued


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