Lean Manufacturing, Design For Manufacturing, PM (Chapter I)

2 May

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Lean Manufacturing, Design For Manufacturing, Preventive Maintenance, why are the engineers & managers considering these very simple operational principles so complicated & hard to achieve?!

I tell you why:

They do not take the time to thoroughly understand the science behind their products.

They do not see the bottom line, when aiming for being successful at work.

They do not treat the employees with enough respect to communicate the business plans, as they are.

The Leaders & managers lack technical & practical work experience.

The labor do not trust management for having their best interest in mind & try to maintain control over operations their way.

IN  A NUTSHELL, THEY ARE REFLECTING THE  CULTURE OF THE SOCIETY THAT WE LIVE IN!

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There is a bright side, many of the leaders are open to change. I was contacted by an agency for a temporary job at a local company in GA, they company is more of a job shop, building components for Aerospace & Auto industries. I remember Peter very well, at time he was the Vice President of the Operations, he interviewed me personally.

The VP, told me during the interview “People don’t change”, he was worried about keeping Boeing as a customer, Boeing was insisting on implementing Lean Manufacturing for producing their parts. Peter had sent his managers to Boeing for training, Boeing had gone to his company for training, but at the end of the day the managers were saying that lean does not apply to our shop. In a way they were right to see their operations different & a lot more complex than a standard manufacturing operation. Between the short runs, variety of process steps required among product designs (change overs), in process inventory requirements, & the operators’ learned habits as the only way to run the operation, the project was a bit complex & difficult to organize for lean. VP had decided to let the department engineer leave for a month & hire a change agent, & I accepted the challenge, after taking a tour of their plant operations.

I was to report to Chris, the engineering manager, a very intelligent & professional young man. Chris introduced me to all manufacturing managers, & asked them to work with me, & let me help out as much as possible. Then he showed their process & design documentation & filled me with safety & regulations requirements, then he let me loose in the factory! I started studying their design & processes by both going through documentation & spending time in plant.

I focused on Lean, KANBAN & 5S for the Boeing work cell. I had to customize my analytical methods for their operations, but managed to develop a systematic process flow & layout. Proved its functionality by calculating details for time & space requirements. Then got maintenance to start changing the layout, helping them personally assuring that we located the equipment per designed layout, & sorted through parts to avoid any mix ups that could result in complicating the operations. One morning I got to plant, the welding machine was not were we had placed it, knowing that there would be consequences, I asked people why it was moved, no one knew, so we put it back in its place. Next they were laying parts on the floor and everywhere, as they used to, when I asked them why, they said that the KANBAN racks don’t work, they are not practical. So I assured that I was there in the morning, when they started working & stayed through their work hours to show them where to put the parts, &  marked/color coded the locations in addition to labeling.

Again, I make a long story short, within a month the managers were arguing with each other about who should be in charge to maintain the Lean Operations, & Boeing came back in to both review the operations & add “Its Own Touch” to the training for lean.

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