@ Supply Chain Management


Ten misconceptions about Lean Manufacturing!!

From time to time, you get squeezed on every front – the blog has suffered a bit in that time. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

This chap is turning ONE! That’s my son Sahel and he turned 1 on July 29th this year and we’re having a birthday bash this coming weekend. Its a bash alright and even though he might not remember anything about it, he will sure get to see the photos. And videos as well.

Sahel’s picture

Meanwhile, I came across this article titled – 10 Common Misconceptions about Lean Manufacturing which I found to be quite interesting. #8 picks my fancy because it is an important point about balance:

8. Lean is the elimination of waste. Much of Lean is about getting rid of waste (muda). There is also the elimination of variation (mura) and overburden (muri). Variation can result in overburden, resulting in waste. The elimination of waste is good shorthand for getting rid of the root causes, which include overburden (forcing a system to do something it is not designed to) due to variation (in customer demand, people’s ability, material quality,etc.), in order to build a stronger system.

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Free download of Six Sigma guide

Manufacturing Trends is making available a free download of an "experts" guide to Six Sigma . I quickly perused it and it looks fine but as always as far as statistical symbols go, a little due diligence is always a good measure. You have to register in order to obtain the download but I think its worth it.


Toyota ventures into the unknown.

A recent article in the trade rag – Tooling & Production highlights why I think that Toyota is a company worthy of emulation. The article titled – Makeover will transform Japanese plant into model of innovation, highlights the recent steps that Toyota has taken in order to venture into the unknown.

In an earlier post, I had highlighted the call issued from the chief executive of Toyota – to embark on radical changes. This article highlights how far along they’ve come in taking bold steps in order to sharpen (not regain) its competitive edge.

When Takaoka’s makeover is completed in 2009, it will build more models, faster, on shorter assembly lines than any other Toyota factory. It will use innovative approaches in virtually every step of the manufacturing process, from stamping and welding to painting and final assembly. It will become a fount of ideas for the Toyota manufacturing empire.

In the general sense, Toyota is setting up its Takaoka plant to be a flexible manufacturing site – thus, what you cannot gain with manufacturing efficiencies, Toyota must make up for with speed. One can imagine that this is really a two step approach. As the models that roll out from the Takaoka plant garner praise/rejection, Toyota’s other plants around the world (which are now dedicated to producing a stable portfolio of cars) will offer the production capacity to quickly capitalize on cars that consumers want. Buried in this story is a delicious irony – that of outsourcing. Toyota is actually outsourcing to the US and Europe.

Toyota’s plants in North America, Europe and elsewhere will continue to be dedicated to high volumes of a few nameplates, or what Watanabe calls "stable production." The elite plants in Japan, in contrast, will produce many models flexibly.

But what are the goals that Toyota has placed in front of its engineering and production teams? Above, you have a preview of the allocation of resources, the way the field has been set up so that the marathon can ensue but what are the milestones on the way?

Watanabe also wants to save money. Toyota’s current cost- cutting program is generating annual savings of $2.5 billion. Not enough. Give me more, Watanabe said. What’s the new target? Toyota won’t say.

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About me

I am Chris Jacob Abraham and I live, work and blog from Newburgh, New York. I work for IBM as a Senior consultant in the Fab PowerOps group that works around the issue of detailed Fab (semiconductor fab) level scheduling on a continual basis. My erstwhile company ILOG was recently acquired by IBM and I've joined the Industry Solutions Group there.

@ SCM Clustrmap

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July 2007