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Just In Time Manufacturing

Just In Time Manufacturing

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Lean Manufacturing, Basics, Principles, Techniques

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Let's get to it:

Our "ShowTime!'" workshop event held in San Diego was a huge success. Attendees got a chance to actually work MRP and lean manufacturing simulated factories and compare their performance results. 

The exercise called for the assembly of 20-lego towers in accordance with the following order schedule…4-Red, 4-Yellow, and 12-Red. It was no contest, the KBLM team built the towers in a record 8-minutes....their performance yielded a 60% reduction to the MRP build time. 

A workshop participant commented that he had learned more about MRP and lean manufacturing in 4-hours of "ShowTime!" than at any full day seminar he had previously attended.

Another participant observed how organized and under control the lean manufacturing team was compared to the MRP team. (It wasn't the teams doing...it was the KBLM production model.)

"ShowTime!" was such a success that we are taking it on the road. First stop will be in San Jose, CA. If you want us to present "ShowTime!" in your area, go to the below URL and fill out our "help us plot the tour" form. No obligation, of course.


If your in the San Jose area and wish to know more about "ShowTime!" and how to register, simply go to:


Our lead article today "Never, Never Rest On Your Achievements" highlights two of my real world experiences and how the "performance bar" keeps getting higher and higher. Price Pritchett is back with another article from his
"New Work Habits For A Radically Changing World." Our third article provides an insight into, "Six Hard-And-Fast Rules For Negotiating." Price Trends fills out the fourth slot and "Making Teamwork Really Work" is our closing article.

You are welcome to print and share this newsletter with your business associates. We have indexed and archived this and all previous newsletters for your reference. Copying the below URL link to your browser and clicking 
on "GO" will display the archive's "point and click" index:


This newsletter has reached your desk because I think we share a common objective---to help manufacturing teams avoid "burnout" while achieving their full performance potential. If this is not the case, simply send us an e-mail with "Unsubscribe" as your subject and you will be removed from our e-mailing list.


Bill Gaw



Just in Time manufacturing for Winners

    by Bill Gaw

The following scenario is not uncommon in industry today:

"I don't care how you do it or what it takes, just make sure that these damned machines are on a truck and on their way to the customer by the end of the month!" screamed the general manager. It's six days from the end of the month and the production manager has 75% of the scheduled months shipments in final assembly with a parts shortage list that reads like a horror story. Units are being sent to test with slave components and it will take 
another miracle to make the month's financial forecast. 

It's now time to pull out all the stops…to hell with the procedures and process controls…it's time for a few "knights in shining armor" to once again salvage the most out of a terrible situation, (usually self-inflicted).

During my early years in manufacturing, I had the opportunity to perform as a "knight in shining armor" and I must admit that I enjoyed the challenge, the 
power struggle…and the politics of making difficult things happen in a tumultuous manufacturing environment. In some ways, it was fun but in others it was very stressful and unrewarding. Deep down, I always thought, "There has to be a better way."

Well, as my career progressed, I was fortunate in joining a team of professional manufacturing people at Johnson Controls in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Glenn Jonas had pulled together this dynamic team for the purpose of turning around this marginally profitable company through 
the design and implementation of a state-of-the art computerized manufacturing control system, Materials Requirements Planning (MRP). Over a two year period, I participated in Johnson Control's remarkable turnaround 
success story. Customer service performance up from 62% to 96%…on time deliveries up from 78% to 97%…inventory turnover up from 1.6 to 6.3… company growth up form an annual rate of 15% to 60%…and most important, after tax profits up from 3% to 14%. 

While all these gains were impressive, none was more welcomed than the dramatic change in the day-to-day operating environment---from shop floor pandemonium to a sense of controlled excitement. Everyone felt a degree 
of participation and contribution---it was a great rewarding experience.

Little did I know at that time that MRP was best employed as a materials and capacity planning system and that shop floor control was a misapplication of the MRP/ERP technology. As director of operations at Palomar Systems, Escondido, California, I embraced the lean manufacturing 
and kaizen teachings of Schonberger - Costanza - Imai and pulled together a lean manufacturing team of people that eventually became self-directed and achieved manufacturing performance far greater than what was originally achieved at Johnson Controls. Customer service performance up from 58% to 99%…on time deliveries up from 61% to 99%…inventory turnover up from 1.2 to 8.3…company growth up form an annual rate of 5% to 120%…and most important, profit margin was increased from 32% to 54%.

So what's my experience got to do with you and your company? First, never think that your achievements are the end of the challenge---your competition is always learning new ways to outperform you. Second, you have an opportunity to share in a similar experience---over the past year and a half, I have been writing to you about the competitive advantages of Kaizen Based Lean Manufacturing---now is a good time to combine this methodology with MRP/ERP? It will help you lower factory stress levels, end shop floor chaos and eliminate the "end-of-the-month" crunch. Finally, take action, if you haven't explored the benefits of Kaizen Based Lean Manufacturing…copy the below URL to your browser and click on "GO"... 


Even if your company is in the process of implementing flow technology and/or lean manufacturing, this is your opportunity to gain exposure to some practical tools and techniques that could boost your development and 
implementation efforts to a higher level. If, on the other hand, you are still struggling with a shop order "launch and expedite" system, KBLM will optimize your manufacturing performance and help your company identify 
and pursue their full growth and profit potential.

Just in Time manufacturing for Winners

    by Price Pritchett

Organizations are insisting on new levels of accountability in their employees. Responsibility, power, and authority are being pushed down to the lowest levels. For this to work, you have to stand accountable for results. 

Careers simply carry more personal exposure these days. And you can't get off the hook by rationalizing, "I tried…I really worked hard…I did high quality work…I did my part." "All of those lines sound good on the surface, but 
they won't sell if the overall results aren't there.

In these times of self-directed teams, empowered employees, and "boundaryless" organizations, your worth as an individual employee will also get measured by your work group's collective results.

Holding yourself personally accountable for outcomes requires that you think broadly. Consider the big picture, Look beyond your own immediate behavior---beyond the specifics of your job description---to see if you're really 
doing all you should to bring about the right results. Learn to work across departmental boundaries. Avoid turf issues. Combine your efforts seamlessly with others who, though very different from you, are contributing to the same end results.

Concentrating on outcomes will also keep you from falling in love with a particular methodology. Or to put it another way, you're less likely to waste time, energy, and other resources on low-payoff work routines if your real passion is for reaching results. Our work processes are always cleanest when we design them to be solely in service of outcomes. So streamline your approach. Eliminate unnecessary steps. Get rid of tasks no one can justify.

So do your part. Drive the organization directly toward the outcomes that count the most.

Just in Time manufacturing for Winners

    by Harvey Mackay

Break the basic rules of negotiation and you lose, says 
author and prominent business leader Harvey Mackay. It 
comes down to discipline, he explains. Most people know 
these rules, but great negotiators stick to these basics 
like glue:

  • Negotiating with yourself is a sign of weakness. Never 
    make another offer if the other side hasn't countered your 

  • Refuse to negotiate with someone who doesn't have the 
    authority to finalize the deal. That gives the other side 
    "two bites at the apple."

  • Don't assume something---even a contract---is non-
    negotiable. They may deal if you call their bluff.

  • Practice by getting someone to take the other side, and 
    then switch roles. Instincts are no match for 

  • Figure out what the other side wants. Hint: It's never the 
    given reason.

  • Don't talk first. Their first offer might be better than your 

Just in Time manufacturing for Winners

    from Bottom line/Business

          Mixed Or Weak

  • Autos: Rebates now average a 2001 high of $1800 per vehicle---with discounts on some slow-moving luxury models running as high as $5,000.
  • Magnesium: More price cuts ahead---with ingot dropping another $0.03/lb. In 2002 (to $1.30/lb.)---on top of this year's likely $0.04/lb. decline.
  • Mail: he US Postal Service is now offering volume discounts of up to 38% on two-to three-day international deliveries to more than 200 countries.
  • Memory devices: Prices of mainstream DRAM chips have dropped 80% over the past 12 months---with further softness likely through year-end as inventories remain high.
  • Paper: Popular coated groundwood grades have dropped as much as 13% this year, Reasons: Asian imports and substitution of cheaper supercalendered grades.

    New Products
  • Computers: Name-brand laptops are beginning to hit the market for less than $1,000. Two with 128 megabytes of memory: Gateway's Solo 1200 and Sony's Vaio SR33.

    Heading Higher

  • Health insurance: HMOs are trying to keep average premium increases for 2002 at around 20%. Negotiating will often yield 
    somewhat smaller increases, but everyone will be paying more than the 10% to 12% increase projected earlier this year.
  • Internet access: Major broadband providers are adding up to $10 to the cost of high-speed service---bringing the monthly rate to $45 t0 $50.
  • Lumber: Still-strong construction is pushing prices up. By late fall, some 2" x 4" grades should be running more than 20% above levels one year ago.

Just in Time manufacturing for Winners

    from an interview with Ken Blanchard

To build your company team into a finely tuned, highly productive unit, make sure its design includes the four key ingredients…


To create a successful team, start by establishing a sense of purpose that unites people and gives them common goals. To make that happen…

  • Define a challenge or reason for being. This should capture the imagination of employees and make them feel committed and motivated to work together---as if they're doing something truly special. 

  • Set clear and compelling goals…and strategies for achieving those goals---for individuals and the team.

  • Create a written team charter that formalizes individual members' commitment to one another. This document should clearly state what the team wants to accomplish… how the team will work together to achieve them.


For your team to fulfill its purpose, members must determine what skills and competencies they already have and what they need to acquire or develop. How to do it…

  • Identify and build the basic skills individuals need to do their jobs effectively. These skills will be the building blocks of team success.

  • Praise and reward behaviors that move the team closer to its goals. Provide continuous positive feedback in order to build each team member's confidence and accountability.

  • Require that team members learn each other's jobs. Resilience is critical to a team's success. If one member is absent--or leaves the company--the others must keep working smoothly.


Make sure team members commit to the idea that "none of us is as smart or as creative as all of us." Then mobilize the team's collective power by…

  • Sharing team leadership. That encourages group flexibility and keeps the team's focus on group performance---not individual egos, power or success.

  • Rewarding cooperative behavior and achievements---behavior like passing the puck in hockey instead of going for the goal every time.


As head coach, your job is to keep team members focused on what's working and what they can do to improve the team's effectiveness. How to do it…

  • Point out specific ways that team members can improve their performance. Do not criticize or browbeat.

  • Provide advice and assistance when needed. Even the best teams occasionally need some hands-on support from their leaders. This includes being ready to redirect team members when they stray from the team's mission. Being always available to each member is a powerful, positive element in team success.

  • Manage change for positive outcomes. If a team member leaves the company or a new member joins the team, acknowledge the impact the change will have on existing members. Take the time to adjust the team's goals and group dynamics when there is a change in the team's membership.

Just in Time manufacturing for Winners

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Your company can reach its full potential in all aspects of the business. All you need is the right knowledge and training. You will find much of it  it here, at the Business Basics' Website:

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"ShowTime!" The MRP vs Lean Mfg. Exercises

At Your-Company" Workshops and Forums

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