Design for Manufacturing Questions

After two post on the basics and workshop structure, I can finally start to go into the details of which questions to ask for design for manufacturing (DFM). In subsequent posts I will have more questions on design for assembly (DFA), which can of course be combined into design for manufacturing and assembly (DFMA).  I will also have a brief refresher on creativity techniques. Let’s start asking questions!

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Design for Manufacturing and Assembly Workshop Preparation

Design for manufacturing (DFM) and design for assembly (DFA) or its combination, design for manufacturing and assembly (DFMA), as well as its many design for X variants are a way to improve a design beyond its mere functionality. In my last post I gave you a basic introduction. This post will look at the prerequisites for organizing a design for X workshop. Subsequent posts will look at the different questions you can ask to further design for manufacturing and assembly.

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Design for Manufacturing and Assembly Basics

Lean is most often associated with production. However, it can also be used in other areas, like design. Bridging the gap between design and production is design for manufacturing or design for manufacturability (DFM) and design for assembly (DFA), often combined into design for manufacturing and assembly (DFMA). Lean can also be combined with lesser-known topics like design for inspection (DFI) or, more recently, design for additive manufacturing (DFA). There are many more. Let me give you an introduction to the reasoning behind design for manufacturing and its “Design for X” variants before going into more details on how to do it in subsequent posts.

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How to Convert a Job Shop into a Flow Shop – Part 1

Ford Motor Assembly 1917
Ford motor assembly with moving conveyors 1917

Job shops are always very difficult to manage. As I described in my previous posts, the irregular material flow causes fluctuations that are very hard to contain. In my view, the only true fix for a job shop is to convert it into a flow shop. In this post I will talk a little bit about how you approach the idea of converting a job shop into a flow shop … although this is not always possible. However, in many cases it is possible to increase flow-shop-like segments, even though the whole system is still a job shop.

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Why Are Job Shops Always Such a Chaotic Mess? Part 2

Ford Piston Shop 1917
Ford piston shop 1917

Job shops are a mess. Period. The increased and uneven levels of inventory cause a host of other problems. In my last post I described how these inventory imbalances are caused by irregular material flow, how subsequent safety buffers increase inventory even more, and how this causes staff to change their workplace irregularly in a job shop. In this post I will continue the long list of ills in a job shop with staff changeover losses, extra searching and organizing,  fluctuating lead times, and general un-plannability of job shops.

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Why Are Job Shops Always Such a Chaotic Mess? Part 1

Ford Crankshaft Shop 1917
Ford Crankshaft Shop 1917

Job shops have a strong tendency toward chaos. Even well managed plants struggle to maintain order in a job shop. This is due to the inherent nature of a job shop, and there are no good solutions to manage job shops. The only good way to improve a job shop is to turn it into a flow shop. I will talk more about such changes later in this short series, but first let me explain why job shops are always a mess.

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