In the present- day situations, alternative method of operations planning and control is given a higher priority. ‘Just-in-time’ management (JIT) and lean were widely accepted by Japanese companies. Twenty years ago, for large and advanced companies the lean approach was very fundamental. In recent years, the lean, just-in-time approach is taken up. But its application remains the same everywhere. The basic principle of lean operations is easy to understand and it involves the elimination of all waste such that an operation will be quicker, more reliable, produces extravagant products and services and is cost efficient. This lean state can be achieved easily. And hence this can be explained by ‘lean’ -just-in-time or sometimes lean synchronization.
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The case study is about Staircase Production Company, a small, successful, privately owned timber and building materials merchant based in a small town. The main aim of the company is to satisfy all its customers. But overall the department is not very profitable when compared to companies other operations and most problems seem to end up with higher than anticipated costs and late deliveries. The newly recruited General Manager Dean Hammond wants to run the company in a better way because few customers started complaining and here are Dean’s proposals.
According to Deane the department and work is getting worse as they get busier. They are getting more congested as sale increases. Despite having more orders the department has remained stubbornly unprofitable. Deane has decided to apply the techniques and philosophy of JIT/Lean. According to him it will help to get better flow reduce the time and distance in the process and helps in achieving quicker throughout times. The company has a lot of unused factory floor space, so it will be easy to set up a self-contained staircase cell. If they can implement cell then they could be more competitive on price and delivery and can win more orders.
Definition of JIT:
JIT is an approach in improving overall yield and eliminating waste. It also includes production at a cheaper rate and delivers the essential parts at an apt time and place with an efficient quality while minimizing the use of amenities, tools, and resources. It depends upon the balanced state between the suppliers and the user’s flexibility which is achieved through total involvement of employees and group work.
Elements OF JIT:
The key elements of JIT that Deane should implement in Staircase Company are as follows:
Maintenance and safety
Reducing set up times
Flexible work place
Key characteristics of JIT
In the production process, the flow from one stage to another is pulled by ‘demand’ from previous stage.
Simple cards, tokens or empty squares are used to regulate the pull between stages, in order to activate actions and production. The end result is clear, visual and transparent control.
Decentralized decision making is done for production management and planned decisions are taken based on computer-based information processing.
The JIT is programmed as ‘rate-based’ that is interpreted as output of a portion per unit of time, instead of ‘volume-based’ which is calculated as total number of parts to be produced in a given day or week.
Resource flexibility and reduced production times are assumed in the process of JIT.
The scheduling and management concept of JIT takes up only one part of an advanced and explicit JIT philosophy of actions.
The techniques of JIT
The techniques which are usually associated with JIT are as follows:
Developing ‘basic working practices’ which support waste elimination and continuous improvement.
Design for manufacture.
Focused operations which reduce complexity.
Using simple, small machines which are robust and flexible.
Rearranging layout and flow to enhance simplicity of flow.
Employing total productive maintenance to encourage reliability.
Reducing setup and changeover times to enhance flexibility.
Involving all staff in the improvement of the operation.
Making problems visible to all staff.
Benefits of JIT
Following are the benefits that Deane gets on implementing JIT:
Positive relations with suppliers.
Countless participation of workers.
Minimize space requirements.
Reduces cycle times.
Lean – A philosophy and a set of JIT techniques
Lean is described as a philosophy of operations management. Within this, there includes a compilation of tools and techniques that can be implemented and which supports the lean philosophy. These techniques are referred as just-in-time techniques.
The lean philosophy:
In managing operations, the lean approach is implemented in such a way that the simple things are done well and waste is reduced in all the possible steps. Three fundamental issues defining the lean philosophy that in turn provides a foundation to the techniques of JIT are:
The elimination of waste.
The involvement of staff in the operation.
Drive for continuous improvement.
Lean philosophy focuses on the elimination of all kinds of waste which is the most significant part. Waste is made clear by an event which doesn’t add any value. Lean improvement is made in two steps:
– The seven forms of waste involve the identification of wastes and eliminating it.
– The 5S’s which involves the principles for reducing waste.
Types of wastes:
The 5-S terminology comes originally from Japan and although the translation into English is approximate, they are generally taken to represent the following:
The 5S’s is a simple housekeeping method to organize work areas that focuses on visual order, organization, cleanliness and standardization. It helps in eliminating all waste relating to uncertainty, waiting, searching for relevant information, creating variation and so on. By eliminating which is not necessary and making everything clear and predictable, reduces clutter, needed items are always in the same place and work is made easier and faster.
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The involvement of everyone
Lean philosophy is considered as a ‘total’ system. It provides guiding principles which involves everyone and the entire process. An organization’s culture sustains these principles by getting involved the entire set of organization’s staff. The lean (and JIT) approach to people management can also be addressed as the respect-for-humans system. It enhances team-based problem solving, job enrichment, job rotation and multi-skilling. The intention is to promote a high level of personal responsibility, engagement and ‘ownership’ of the job.
A production process that is used to manufacture families of parts either within a single cell or cell of machines, which are operated by machinists working within line or cell, is known as cellular manufacturing. Within a large factory, cell can be defined as a small-scale, clearly-defined manufacturing part. The complete authority in manufacturing family of like parts or a product is within a unit. All the machines and manpower necessary for the operation are located within the cell. A set of operating capabilities are required to be mastered by each worker for his cell. The essential requirements for effective cell improvement are systematic job rotation and training.
Cellular manufacturing is characterized as stepping stone to obtaining world class production status, which is an application of group technology. The cells are designed so that some measure of performance is obtained, which is the main aim of cellular manufacturing. The performance measure could be productivity, cycle time etc.
In the process, sets of functionally different machines are placed close to each other. This result in small, stand-alone production units allotted for manufacturing a set or family of parts.
Costs and Benefits:
For implementing cell manufacturing there are few costs like the set up costs, costs of equipment etc. Sometimes same machines are required by the other department also, it may result in duplication which can cause a huge investment of equipment. If necessary the department will have to buy and install extra bottleneck machines into the cell.
Profit before tax.
Savings on the cost.
NON FINANCIAL BENEFITS:
Time taken for manufacturing.
Quality of the product.
Purchasing time is reduced.
Workers commitment towards work.
Clean working environment
Deane should inform the joinery manager and the workers about his idea, before implementing the staircase cell in practice. He should conduct a meeting with the joinery manager and department workers and discuss the various possibilities available. Deane has decided to go forward with his idea of implementing staircase cell, after carefully analysing the current condition of the joinery department. Even though a lot of work orders are coming in, there is a delay in delivering the product. This also leads to a reduction in the quality of the product. By implementing the staircase cell, there will be a better job flow and so leads to quicker throughput times.
For implementing cellular manufacturing, it requires a deep commitment to excellence and it also changes the management of business. The cell workers are affected in variety of ways. These include the following points:
Cell workers think independently about problems associated in the production and come up with solutions for them. For the problems identified, workers analyse and come up with solutions, even though they are free to seek advice. This helps in improving their work. As long as the company principles of quality, time and cost are fulfilled, the workers can plot, manage and organize their work within the cell.
The challenging works included in the manufacturing process makes the workers motivated. Due to the jobs included, the employees are continuously being challenged and acquiring new skills. The job is rotated on weekly basis, which introduces variety in work patterns and also help in reducing the laziness and absence of workers.
Due to the work involved, cell workers are putting their mental capacity to maximum usage inorder to solve the problems. The ideas involved in the production process initiate the workers to come up with their own idea, which helps in their improvement. Cellular manufacturing actually initiates, continues and sustains the improvement of workers.
The implementation of cellular manufacturing compresses the management structure of business altogether, and helps in reducing total expense. The need for supervision can be reduced considerably, when worker flexibility, small group improvement actions and work group freedom combines.
In small-scale industries, there is a high interaction between workers, as there are very less employees in each cell. The problems associated with cell manufacturing are such that they are manageable by the workers, which help them to utilise their mental potentials.
HOW CELL WORK IS DIFFERENT FROM THE JOINERY DEPARTMENT
There is a reduction in work-in-process, completed products, lead time, direct labour. There is an improvement in production and quality control. In order to make manufacturing and quality control easier, the factory is broken into small and consistent manufacturing units. Due to small manufacturing units, it is simple to locate the root of problems.
Systematic progress is acquired using cellular manufacturing. By combining units into sets, it is possible to find out which units are less co-operative to progress. Those parts that are consistent throughout and which are regular consists of less substitution time which can be converted to continuous productivity.
Cells are designed in such a way that the specific characteristics are developed hence optimizing the flow of the cells. In order to avoid big interruptions in operations, systematic progress can be carried out on only a single cell at a time. Greater performance will be demonstrated by cells that have been changed to line flow, in fields of quality, throughput time and expenditure.
High-volume and high-diversity products can be generated concurrently, by modifying workflow according to the conditions of each product or plant. While enduring factory focus, cell structure has the potential to achieve utmost system flexibility, since it combines both worker and product adaptability. From single products, product groups, unique parts to no matter what market conditions are required.
Quick, flexible job tasks occur as a result of organized job rotation and training in numerous talents. Workers are required to learn all skills internal to cell for normal operation, so additional training should be provided when workers are shifted in reaction to volume or sales mix changes. It is easy to shift the workers to another work within the same cell, or to a completely different manufacturing unit, as they have already mastered new skills.
Risks involved in Deane’s proposal:
A big amount is required for machine equipment and relayout.
There is unevenness in the application of equipment and employees.
There is an ability to disable delays caused by equipment failure, absence of workers.
Flexibility in production process reduces
There could be loss in routing flexibility, caused by changing into cells, which could affect capability of cell use.
Maintaining equilibrium within the cells is tougher than flow shops.
Change in the production environment causes deterioration of cellular manufacturing.
There is a requirement of rearrangement of machineries, for changing to cellular manufacturing.
In JIT the production is relied on suppliers, the entire production schedule can get delayed if they are not able to get the stock in time.
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