How Lean Can Manufacturing Get?

L

LSSMaster

#1
Hello Everyone,

I am a new poster on this site and, as an "Old Manufacturing/Operations Guy", I have a question to pose. Please allow me to preface my question by explaining that I was trained in TPS by Toyota and am a SSBB. With 40+ years of manufacturing and operations experience, I feel I am fairly well-versed in manufacturing operations. However, I have run up against a situation that is totally new (for me) and thought that the membership of this forum would provide value-added input.

Here is the situation: I am employed my a multi-national organization that has a policy against using any sort of MRP/ERP system. The mandate is to use simple, PC-based software. Furthermore, the mandate is to eliminate Work Orders, Routers, Time Cards and related documentation, so that all manufacturing cells are treated as "black boxes". Raw materials go into the box, and finished product comes out of the box. Period.

We are a heavy-machining facility and produce large machined parts from forgings that have tolerances in the .0001" range. The machined parts are then assembled into completed product.

How can such an operation be properly managed (from an operations perspective), without routers or travelers (at a minimum)?

Does anyone have experience in this kind of environment?

I look forward to a lively discussion! Thanks in advance for your input!!
 
Last edited by a moderator:
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somashekar

Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
~~~ Welcome to the Elsmar Cove LSSMaster ~~~

Each machined part is tagged to a high level operator who is responsible for the output from start to finish.
Such high level operation / assembly is not uncommon. It depends upon the skill and maturity of the operator who handle all the product related activities, and the management willingness to adopt single stage high level operations.
 
L

LSSMaster

#3
Thanks, Somashekar!

If I understand correctly, operators are given the responsibility for manufacturing the parts, from start to finish?

Would that also apply to assembly operations? Would an operator (or team of operators) be given the responsibility to produce the assembly?

Thanks again!

LssMaster:thanx:
 

Steve Prevette

Deming Disciple
Staff member
Super Moderator
#4
Wow. You aren't talking "lean" here, you are talking putting on the blinders and charging ahead.

I've seen lots of organizations lose the data they need to manage their operation under the guise of "reengineering" or "lean" or whatever.

Granted, we don't want to waste money gathering data we "don't need", but now adays with computers and automated data gathering and data analysis using SPC it is very inexpensive to keep an eye on things and detect when problems start to occur rather than when they hit the bottom line.
 

somashekar

Staff member
Super Moderator
#5
Thanks, Somashekar!

If I understand correctly, operators are given the responsibility for manufacturing the parts, from start to finish?

Would that also apply to assembly operations? Would an operator (or team of operators) be given the responsibility to produce the assembly?

Thanks again!

LssMaster:thanx:
If I am not wrong, a certain model of Xerox photocopier is assembled by a single high level assembler who knows the machine and its sequence of assembly from frame to pack. It can very well apply to assembly operation, low volume and high end machines.
 
S

silentrunning

#6
I visited a factory once that operated in much the same manner as you describe. They achieved a high level of sucess by having each operator work on only one or two parts. They were so familiar with their parts that there was no documentation needed to achieve customer conformity. It worked very well for them, but it made me nervous not having any documented traceability.
 

Miner

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Admin
#8
What type of product mix do you have? Low mix, repetitive processes or high mix with a lot of variety?
 
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