Lean manufacturing cycle

Businesses in all industries and services, including healthcare and governments, are using lean principles as the way they think and do. Many organizations choose not to use the word lean, but to label what they do as their own system, such as the Toyota Production System or the Danaher Business System. Why? To drive home the point that lean is not a program or short term cost reduction program, but the way the company operates. The word transformation or lean transformation is often used to characterize a company moving from an old way of thinking to lean thinking. It requires a complete transformation on how a company conducts business. This takes a long-term perspective and perseverance.

Caveat:   Blitzes are all too often un-targeted, .  done with little concern as to the overall impact on the total company.   The results of such un-focused blitzes typically have a significant local impact, microcosms of excellence , but little or no impact on overall company well being.   See “Solutions Looking for a Problem” below.

  • Blow-Through BOM’s (Bills of Material):   Many “assembled product” manufacturers need to maintain subassembly identity, and/or control configuration, for replacement parts.   In these circumstances, rather than have a flat bill of material, it is much more practical to continue to show all subassembly levels on the bill of material. A “Blow Through” level, allows the subassembly’s parts to be called out, for kitting or backflush purposes, on the next higher level assembly.   The MRP algorithm “blows through” .  treats the subassembly’s parts as if they were called out on the next higher-level assembly.
  • Boom-Bust Cycle:   Some Causes:   I just got off the phone with a steel finishing plant / distributor.   He said that their on-time delivery performance was terrible, and that their lead times had extended considerably.   When I mentioned some ways to fix this issue, his response was classic:   “The customers have learned to expect it”   “We can’t turn down orders.   We just promise what they want to hear, then beg forgiveness.” And what do the customers do in these situations?   You’ve go it!   They double order.   They order high “just in case”.   They ask for it early, knowing full well that it will be late.

    This link, Kanban Just-In-Time at Toyota: Management Begins at the Workplace will also help increase your knowledge of lean manufacturing principles. It is a good book for someone looking to understand the basic concepts of the Toyota Production System (the basis for lean manufacturing). It doesn't go into much detail about how to implement, but it does a good job of explaining the fundamentals in an easy to understand way (in true Japanese style using analogies).


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