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论老子

道,领导也。领导必需要不断呼唤,教导下属以及以身作则。下属的过和错皆因领导懒惰。

 
 
 

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Section 1: Everybody loves buffer  

2012-06-24 12:55:01|  分类: Buffer Mentality |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Every one in the company loves buffer. In the production floor, work-in-progress staged in front of each process provides safety in the mind of the operators that he will not run out of materials. Work-in-progress staged after her process or station gave the assurance that she shall not be the cause of stoppages for his immediate downstream process. To assure that there is enough buffer of work-in-progress in the production floor, the production manager set much longer production lead time than is necessary.

The production planner adds at least a day or weeks in the production lead time based on her bad experience that production frequently did not deliver on time because there were so many production issues that cropped up every now and then. To top it off, the production planner prefers to plan next week’s daily production schedule once a week and he expects to monitor the on-time delivery (or production misses) by the end of every Friday of the week.

The production manager requested the production planner to compute the historical daily output rates for the last two months and to determine the daily capacity from the calculated average daily output number. Why didn’t he use the highest daily output rate? By the way, the production line had demonstrated that it can produce the highest number once and therefore, it will be able to repeat its performance.

Part shortage is persistent problem. A single part that is late will put the assembly of the entire product on hold. Why not get a supplier to carry out the kitting of the parts and deliver the full kit on a just-in-time basis to the production floor? That will resolve the part shortage issue. This is precisely what Honeywell Singapore Pte Ltd did. However, it ended up its on-time delivery performance is only 20% every week. Why? The supplier failed to kit the parts on-time. It is a situation of passing the monkey to the supplier and expects the supplier to handle the monkey well.

Backlog suddenly shoots up to more than a month’s revenue due to part shortages. The plant manager freezes all other continuous improvement activities. He wants all his employees to focus on one thing. That is to clear the backlog. However, little did he realize that while waiting for the shortage parts to arrive, the workers on the production shop floor are idling away their precious time away.      

Every manager loves to track the amount of WIP on the production line. He even requested the WIP to be tracked to the finest detail by every single process. He is satisfied with the daily delivery of the WIP numbers and he frequently thumbs down on whichever process that shows up the highest level of WIP. This is fire-fighting. Litle did he wonder he should set up his production line in accordance with the one-piece-flow system. Under this circumstance, he only needs to know the WIP that resides in the entire production cell. Compares this WIP number with the ideal minimum quantity expected from the production cell, he can direct his people to solve the issues that hits the production cell.

The procurement manager sets much longer lead time than necessary because he believes in giving the suppliers longer lead time will allow them more time to produce what he had ordered. Yet when suppliers did not deliver the parts on time, he padded it with more lead time. However, he did not realize the longer procurement lead time he gave to the suppliers, the suppliers took on for granted that there is enough lead time for his parts and therefore, grabbed the opportunity to produce goods for other customers who set shorter procurement lead time.

Rework is necessary. This is because in everybody’s mindset, it is not possible to produce goods right the first time. Therefore, as and when a unit failed the final test, move it out to the rework center. But once the unit reaches the rework center, little support is given to assist the technicians to work down on the inventory of rework units. The ‘bone pile’ at the rework center can goes up to US$18 million worth of inventory. This could be the tip of the iceberg.

Capacity utilization is very much dependent on the number of days in a year or the number of hours in a day that the factory is operating. For example, a multi-billion dollars invested in an oil refinery would expects it to run non-stop 24 hours a day and 365 days a year less the annual preventive maintenance. However, most other factory stop its operation for two days during the weekends, public holidays and two shifts instead of 24 hours a day leading to a capacity utilization factor as low as 46% of the full potential. This is a lot less capacity being fully utilized.  

The cycle time determines the production capacity. But how many of us really know how to determine the cycle time? How do you determine the cycle time of a group technology production cell? Which is the bottle-neck process? Is it one of the several pieces of equipment? Or simple it is the lack of production operators that form the critical bottle-neck? Sad to say, most companies chose the easy way out and compute the historical daily output rates to as the final number t oset the cycle time and using this number to determine the production capacity. Of course, the production capacity is severely under-rated.

How does a production planner determine the maximum production loading figure? Often it is derived from the wonderful formula commonly used in the computation of the Operating Equipment Efficiency that net off the downtime losses, the speed losses and quality losses. At the end of the day, the production folks meet the daily planned number everyday. Everybody seems to be happy with the performance and conveniently neglects the needs to carry out continuous improvement to reduce the downtime losses, speed losses and quality losses. A few years down the road, it found that cost of production on a per unit basis so too high to compete with its competitors who have been diligently reduce these three losses.

    

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