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Thread: Agile Manufacturing

  1. #1

    Favorite 32 Agile Manufacturing

    A Brief History of Lean Thinking
    In the years of reconstruction following the Second World War, Japanese industry (in general) and Toyota (in particular) had a problem, which was this: how to rebuild a shattered manufacturing base without recourse to either the huge market or the economies of scale available to Western (specifically US) companies, and in the face
    of severe credit restrictions imposed by the occupying forces (leading to reduced sales and very limited resources to invest in the new plant that everyone thought essential to efficient manufacturing). At first glance, the task might have appeared hopeless. The image of the relentlessly efficient production line, with huge and specialised machines producing countless numbers of components for rapid assembly by teams of workers, was ingrained in
    business thinking. Toyota was nearly bankrupt when Taiichi Ohno, the company’s Assembly Shop Manager, took in hand the task of redesigning production. With the constraints in which he found his organisation, and drawing on practices which had been tried with success in other industries in Japan, Ohno’s redefinition of production was – on paper – clearly focussed on getting the best out of limited investment:
    ∑ Build only what is needed
    ∑ Eliminate anything which does not add value
    ∑ Stop if something goes wrong

    Build only what is needed – that is, build only that for which you already have a customer. This means you don’t have to guess at demand, or hold expensive stock that ties up money and space while it hangs around. This applies at all stages in the manufacturing process: any step in production should build what is needed by the
    next step, not produce large batches of inventory that wait to be used. Eliminate anything which does not add value – which means taking a hard long look at what you and your customer mean by “value”, and making sure both that you're not wasting effort on activities which make unnecessary things, and that you're not doing
    anything to inhibit the flow of this value. Stop if something goes wrong – if you're only building what is needed at each stage, you’re able to identify a defect very close to the point at which it arises (in production
    systems organised around large batches, defects can go unnoticed for days or weeks). Take advantage of this by addressing the cause of the defect immediately. This is the David Harvey Lean, Agile



    2 fundamental principle of zero-defect manufacturing, based on rapid feedback rather
    than inspecting the hell out of everything, which has been consistently misunderstood
    by software methodologists. The Toyota Production System is also grounded in a set of values enshrined in a
    philosophy of work that respects those engaged in the work
    ∑ strives for full utilisation of workers’ capabilities
    ∑ places authority and responsibility for the work with those doing it

    The most startling manifestation of these values was seen in the authority of any worker on the line to halt the entire production process if they found a defect. These ideas revitalised Toyota (and led to Ohno’s rapid rise in the company – he eventually became Executive Vice President in 1975). While the ideas were common
    currency in Japan from the 1950s, they did not make an impact on Western industry until the 1980s. Ohno, now retired, had started writing about the Toyota Production System he had pioneered. More significantly Toyota and other large Japanese companies expanded in the 1980s to set up new manufacturing centres in Europe and
    the Americas. In motor manufacturing, these companies’ ability to rapidly develop car models for a Western market that was having to re-adjust following the oil crises of the 1970s saw them overturn the dominance of the local industrial giants Ford and GM. The ideas found ready acceptance in fields outside manufacturing: logistics and
    distribution (for retail and mail-order) have also been revolutionised. Books that Changed the World The experience of Lean Production in the US was documented by James Womack, Daniel Jones and Daniel Roos in their 1990 book The Machine that Changed the World1 and by Womack and Jones in their 1996 sequel Lean Thinking.2 The earlier
    book arose from the International Motor Vehicle Program (IMVP) at MIT, a 5-year project investigating the role of the automobile industry in the world economy. The second book generalises the lessons learned from the IMVP programme, and describes experiences of introducing lean principles in a variety of industrial and commercial settings. In Lean Thinking, Womack and Jones identify five principles behind the lean
    organisation of production or delivery:

    ∑ Specify value
    ∑ Identify the value stream – line up activities which contribute value, eliminate those which add no value
    ∑ Create the conditions for value to flow smoothly through the stream
    ∑ Have the customer pull value from the stream

    1 James P Womack, Daniel T Jones, Daniel Roos, The Machine that Changed the World, New York,
    1990
    2 James P Womack, Daniel T Jones, Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your
    Organisation, New York, 1996


  2. #2

    Re: agile manufacturing

    Agile manufacturing is an approach to manufacturing which is focused on meeting the needs of customers while maintaining high standards of quality and controlling the overall costs involved in the production of a particular product. This approach is geared towards companies working in a highly competitive environment, where small variations in performance and product delivery can make a huge difference in the long term to a company's survival and reputation among consumers.

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