Lean Manufacturing Success

Oshkosh Truck Driven to Succeed [the broken link was removed] by Arlen Boardman:

Wuest said this reduced the order-to-delivery time from 12 to 16 weeks to seven days. It made better use of manufacturing space and reduced inventory-holding costs. He said it does many more things, like create an orderly work area, so tools are where they’re supposed to be, and parts are made when needed, one at a time.

“The goal is to turn an order into cash as quickly as you can,” he said.

Specialists in lean manufacturing systems were hired to help at Oshkosh Truck, including ones from General Motors and Ford Motor, among other big-name companies. This specialized team instills a belief in the changes and then conducts the training for the workers.

Not only is this a nice story but it is one small example of the good people working at GM and Ford. The problem is not the individual workers it is management. It is too bad that those companies, that did take great strides in the 1980 and early 1990s to improve (starting with Deming’s Management ideas) let those efforts fade away.

I followed the link from, Some Positive Lean Tales, wrote the above and then went back to continue reading Mark Graban’s post, which stated:

I guess this proves there are no shortage of good lean people at GM and Ford (I learned from some great lean people back at GM), but they’re constrained by the system that they’re a part of.

We seem to be thinking the same way on this one.

Another link from his post, Going Lean [the broken link was removed] by Paul Marks:

“It’s imperative for those companies that can implement lean manufacturing to do it,” Johnson said. “The only way companies in Connecticut can compete, with the high cost of doing business here, is through productivity gains. The objective is to put more pieces out the door than you did last year, and do it with the same number of employees.”

Because “set-up” time when a machine takes on a new task halts the entire production line, Whitcraft has found ways to ease the transition.

Making all dies used on a punch press the same height eliminated the need to recalibrate and then test the machine before resuming work, Paul said. A transition that once took 45 minutes to an hour now requires about three minutes, he said. Workers are trained to think in those terms.

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