order flow unrelated to actual customer de mand. Otherwise, bottlenecks
will quickly emerge upstream and buffers ("safetv stocks") will be introduced evervwhere to prevent them.
r ',,.,. FLOW 59 The actual application of JIT in the bicycle industry largely ignored the need to reduce setup times and smooth the schedule. Instead, it concen trated on suppliers, making sure that they only delivered parts to the final assemblers "just in,time" to meet the erratic production schedule. In prac tice, most suppliers did this by shipping small amounts daily or even several times a day from a vast inventory of finished goods they kept near their shipping docks. Some final assemblers even specified the existence of these safety stocks and periodically sent around their purchasing staffs to inspect them. In the end, "just in time" was little more than a once-and-for- all shift of massive amounts of work-in-process from the final assembler to the first-tier supplier and, in turn, from first-tier supplier to firms farther up stream. To get manufactured goods to flow, the lean enterprise takes the critical concepts of TIT and level scheduling and carries them all the way to their Io"gical conclusion b uttin roducts into continuous flow wherever ossi- e. For example, in the case of the bicycle plant shown in Figure 3.1, flow 'thinking calls for the creation of production areas by product family, which includes every fabrication and assembly step. (Product families can be de fined in various ways, but in this industry they would logically be defined by the base material used for the frame, specifically titanium, aluminum, steel, or carbon-fiber. This classification makes sense because the fabrication steps and processing techniques are quite different in each case.) Better yet, if noise problems can be managed, the lean enterprise groups the product manager, the parts buyer, the manufacturing engineer, and the production scheduler in the team area immediately next to the actual production equipment and in close contact with the product and tool engi neers in the nearby design area dedicated to that product family. The old fashioned and destructive distinction between the office (where people work with their minds) and the plant (where people work with their hands) is eliminated. (\Ve're often struck that in the old world of mass production, the factory workforce really had no need to talk to each other. They were supposed to keep their heads down and keep working and professionals rarely went near the scene of the action. So production machinery could make a lot of noise. The isolated workers simply donned their ear protection and shut out the world. :W the lean enterprise, however, the workforce on the plant floor needs to talk constantly to solve production problems and implement im provements. in the process. What's more, they need to have their profes sional support staff right by their side and everyone needs to be able to see
the status of the entire production system. Many machine builders are still oblivious to the fact that a lean machine needs to be a quiet machine.)
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- Spring '17
- Dr. M. James Allen, BA, MBA, PH.D.
- Lean thinking, Lean software development, lean production, value stream, Lean Enterprise