Manufacturing Basics and
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Companies seeking a cost advantage over competitors usually zero in early on labor costs. Wage levels in particular are an obvious target. Cutting people and/or wages and benefits may gain a temporary reprieve from Chapter 11, but they are rarely the key to a sustainable competitive advantage. Because they sour workforce attitudes, wage cuts often put out of reach the productivity gains that could be obtained by more skilled, sensitive management of human resources.  

For example, training the work force in added skills, can permit more flexibility in job assignments, and that in turn can boost shop-floor results. This more flexible use of labor has enabled companies to convert from MRP shop order "launch and expedite" systems to the processes of flow technology. The success of such a changeover is dependent on a highly trained, flexible workforce that can design and dynamically balance sequential production work cells. The results can be exciting --- typical reductions beyond MRP results are 20% production costs, 40% space requirements, 25% inventory, 40% quality costs, and 40% cycle times.  

Effective shop floor control has proven elusive as we have upgraded our manufacturing control system from MRP to MRPII and then to ERP. To capture control of shop floor activities, we need to stop beating a "dead horse" and start implementing and improving sequential production processes. The winners turn to Kaizen Based Lean Manufacturing; you can too!

This week's article is on one of the basics of problem solving... "Brain Storming." If you're involved in team building, you'll find value in this article.  

Have a nice day, and stay connected.

Bill Gaw

Business Basics, LLC
6003 Dassia Way
Oceanside, CA 92056


We experience creativity every time a fresh idea pops into our minds. We recognize creative imagination in everything from a pastel painting to a business plan. In corporations of the future, the ability to brainstorm will become a very vital daily ritual, which can motivate your company to new levels of innovation.  

These ten tips will support you and your organization's best thinkers to bend, stretch, and grow your product or service. 

1. Substitute someone else's perspective for yours. 

2. How would a worker, customer, distributor, salesman, service people, or cost accountant approach your idea or subject? Don't know? Ask them!    

2. Look at your idea through the eyes of a critic. For each idea, make a list of all criticisms that may arise. Try to develop as many solutions as possible for overcoming obstacles or repairing weaknesses in your idea.  

3. Connect your idea to other types of manufacturing companies and countries. Can you make an analogy, and what ideas can you draw upon from these fields and worlds?  

4. Magnify your idea. What can you do to enlarge, expedite, extend, strengthen, exaggerate, dramatize, or improve your idea?  

5. Simplify your idea. Can you condense, trim down, compact, minimize, or narrow your idea?  

6. Change your idea. Modify the name, shape, form, function, and properties of your idea.  

7. Make your idea meet the needs and wants of the customers. Does your idea meet the basic needs and wants of more quality, profit, time, space, convenience, customer service and speed? If not, alter your idea to meet one if not all of these needs and wants.  

8. Add more value. What will add more value? Add extra features, durability, safety, thickness, uses, accuracy, and guarantees,  

9. Examine what others have done. Emulate professionals and experts who have had great success with a similar idea or product. Are you facing a problem that has already been solved? Use the past as a tool for experimentation and learning.  

10. Flip a coin. When you cannot make a decision, flip a coin. Once the coin falls, use your intuition and gut to make a decision. If you feel comfortable with the result, go with it. If you feel uncomfortable with the coin toss, make the opposite decision.

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