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. Continue reading How to Convert a Job Shop into a Flow Shop – Part 1
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. Continue reading Why Are Job Shops Always Such a Chaotic Mess? Part 2
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. Continue reading Why Are Job Shops Always Such a Chaotic Mess? Part 1
In this last post (for now) on my series on shop floor management I will talk about how to conduct a shop floor meeting. Who should be there; when, how long, and how often you should have such a meeting; and what is on the agenda. I will also talk about common mistakes that you should avoid. Continue reading How to Conduct a Shop Floor Meeting
In my second post in this series on shop floor management I will look at more things that go into the team corner besides the tracked KPI. How do you manage your improvement activities? What organizational stuff should go in there? Hopefully this will help you make more successful shop floor meetings. In my next post I will also talk about what should NOT go into a team corner on the shop floor. Continue reading How to Set Up a Shop Floor Meeting – Part 2
Regular shop floor meetings are necessary to keep yourself and others informed. This is also true for the shop floor. Many factories have set up meeting corners for the workers and their supervisors to meet. In this series of posts I would like to show you what you need for a successful shop floor meeting. This first post looks at the hardware and content of the team corner where the shop floor meeting usually happens, as well as the most important KPI that should be addressed in the team meeting. Continue reading How to Set Up a Shop Floor Meeting – Part 1
Pull production is a highly useful tool in manufacturing, logistics, services, and other industries. However, there are instances where pull may be not the best option. These instances are rare, but they do exist. In this blog post I will list different cases when pull may not be the best option. Continue reading When NOT to Pull!
A good manufacturing documentary on Netflix is American Factory. This movie follows an American automotive plant that closed some time ago, and was reopened by a Chinese car glass manufacturer. It documents the differences and problems between employees and management in general and the cultural clashes between Chinese management’s and American workers’ expectations in particular. It is in fact very similar to the 1986 movie Gung Ho, except Gung Ho is a fictional comedy, whereas American Factory is as real as it gets. Good to watch! Continue reading American Factory – Documentary of a Chinese Automotive Factory in the USA