The Year 2000
of the many sources of concern to many people and also a source of good business for
others who took advantage and sold fear by the bundle. Actually,
the last year of the XX Century begun in the middle of all kinds of celebrations.
The great challenge though was to be prepared to face the Globalization that
is now growing
faster than ever before and will sweep those who may not be competitive enough.
Many manufacturing companies in
America developed the awareness necessary to face this "Real Bug of the Year
2000" in the best way. The Toyota Production System (later renamed as "Lean
Manufacturing System" for obvious reasons), is centered in a "Kaizen"
(continuous improvement) philosophy and total involvement of all the people in the plant.
It has evolved to the point where no company will make it without the implementation of at
least most of its disciplines. There are literally hundreds of sites about lean on
line. This structure is already present at the most important industries and will remain
for the centuries to come, since it is by nature, self renewed and updated
all the time. In January 2001, when the XXI Century really begun, the new
conditions were perfectly established. Even those who think that their product has no
competitor will be shocked to see how someone else can put them aside in the fierce
competition for success. Read
What we can and should do if we have
not yet, is to start becoming familiar with the new approach: new employee empowerment,
less authority and more leadership, better communication, more listening to all the levels
in the organization. We should start thinking in terms of:
Just In Time (JIT)
Listen to the Customers, They are #1
TPM Total Productive Maintenance
Problems are opportunities
Waste is opportunity
Quick change (tool setup)
A factory in Indiana achieved very
interesting results just by applying the Kaizen events as a constant part of their
Focusing on one of their products we
can see impressive improvements:
People working in that particular
product went from 21 to 3 in just 42 months. Parts produced per person went from 55 to 600
and the space required for the operation went from 2,300 sq.ft. to 1,200! On top of this,
OSHA reportable accidents and workers compensation costs declined in 92%.
The lean manufacturing system is
present in all kinds of industries: Oil, utilities, automovil, furniture, food,
manufacturing in general. In each of them there are different conditions and priorities
but they all have something in common, they want to remain in the market. They are giving
to people in the lower levels the decision making power that makes them develop ownership.
They know that those who do not assimilate the change will not hold any possibilities to
survive in the 2000's...
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