Insight on Manufacturing

July 2012

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BEST PRACTICES Custom fit your system "By combining key principles of lean, quick-response manufacturing (QRM) and theory of constraints (TOC), we can develop a system to effectively plan and schedule a job shop." I DOUBT THAT MANY INSIGHT on Manufacturing readers believe that central planning and control of an economy beats the free market system. History has proven that central planning and control (communism) doesn't lead to prosperity and a free market economy does. I also doubt that many Wisconsinites are great fans of roundabouts, although studies have shown that roundabouts do improve traffic flow and reduce accidents. What does the economy have to do with roundabouts? And what does any of this have to do with planning and scheduling in a job shop? You see, stop (and go, as we say in Try better approach to job shop planning and scheduling | BY DOUG BENGSON Wisconsin) lights are the motoring equivalent of a centrally controlled economy. Some central computer sets the timing of the lights to control your commute. Whereas, a roundabout provides a framework (lanes, exits) and gives people the freedom to choose when to yield or when to go for it. Out of self-preservation and regard for their fellow motorists, people generally make good decisions. In manufacturing, traditional thinking is that computerized planning and scheduling – such as material requirements planning (MRP); or manufacturing resource planning (MRPII) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) – is the most efficient way to operate. This same traditional thinking led General Motors to pursue automation, while Toyota developed lean manufacturing. 24 | INSIGHT on Manufacturing • July 2012 Eric Kahler, materials manager for Ideal Products, schedules at a board in Ideal's machine shop. A strong system of job shop planning and scheduling is as critical to the effective operations of a company as the right equipment and skilled workers. scheduling systems are even less effective in a job shop than in a high-volume, low-mix manufacturer. Most job shops In my observation, computerized central planning and COURTESY OF IDEAL PRODUCTS

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