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gupta - THE HUMAN FACTOR IN JIT IMPLEMENTATION A CASE STUDY...

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THE HUMAN FACTOR IN JIT IMPLEMENTATION: A CASE STUDY OF AMBRAKE CORPORATION 29 THE HUMAN FACTOR IN JIT IMPLEMENTATION A CASE STUDY OF AMBRAKE CORPORATION M AHESH G UPTA H EATHER H OLLADAY School of Business, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292 M ARK J. M AHONEY The Ambrake Corporation, 300 Ring Road, Elizabethtown, KY 42701 During the past two decades Just-in-Time (JIT) manufacturing systems have emerged as a proven approach to the management of manufacturing enter- prises. The most commonly cited benefits of success- ful JIT implementation include reduced inventory, reduced manufacturing costs, improved quality, and reduced lead time [2, 4]. More than a production con- trol method, JIT is a general management philosophy. It is based on a system of beliefs and attitudes com- bined with a collection of methods and procedures [6]. Implementation of any new program in an organi- zation requires support from most departments in the company. Implementation of a JIT system, however, requires complete support and understanding from every operational division in the organization, espe- cially human resources. After much research on the subject, we have concluded that human resources are the backbone of any successful JIT system [5, 6, 7, 8]. In this article our purpose is to show the human fac- tor in JIT implementation by highlighting the best prac- tices in a successful organization, Ambrake Corporation. It is obvious that employee enthusiasm and excitement are an immediate, evident result of a well-designed and successfully implemented program. Thus, we acknowl- edge at the outset that this article bears a positive, en- thusiastic slant because the techniques worked so well for Ambrake. AMBRAKE CORPORATION: A CASE STUDY Two world leaders in the design and manufacture of automotive brake components, Akebono Brake In- dustry Co., Ltd. of Japan and Delphi Automotive, formed a unique partnership and founded Ambrake Corporation to produce technologically advanced, high-quality precision brakes. Ambrake has been a success, reaping tremendous rewards from its efficient operations. It has maintained its position as a major force in the brake industry. According to Mark Mahoney, Ambrake president, the three elements involved in JIT production are “hardware,” “software,” and “humanware.” The hard- ware element covers the physical aspects of the plant, including equipment design and cellular manufactur- ing. The software focuses on product processing and systems, including material and information flow, pull systems, quick changeover, built-in quality, and work- place organization. Humanware, however, is the es- sential element that makes the organization operate as it should. FOUR PILLARS OF JIT HUMANWARE Several components are necessary to shape the hu- man element in an organization so that JIT is a success- ful production philosophy. In general, the humanware technology of JIT consists of four components: (1) edu- cation and training program, (2) development of a co- operative environment, (3) rewards and incentives
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