OIT Times: Lean Manufacturing--"Spend Ideas-not Dollars"
March 21, 2001
Richard McCormack, publisher of Manufacturing News, moderated a lively session that explored the meaning of ean.McCormack recommended reading includes The Japan That Can Say No by Ishihara, Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove, and The Machine That Changed the World by Womack, Jones, and Roos.
Panelist Robert Emiliani of the Center for Lean Business Management explained that eanis the philosophy and practice of eliminating waste. t works wherever information is exchanged and pertains to all business practices.It requires respect for all stakeholders, discipline, and new leadership behaviors. By allowing no margin for error, the approach forces plants to solve each problem at its root.
Ken Kreafle, General Manager for Quality Control with Toyota-Kentucky, observed that the Toyota Production System (TPS) eliminates waste by changing the way management thinks. Direction setting flows from the top down, while information flows from the bottom up. The focus is on the process rather than the results.
To be effective, the philosophy must embrace all company operations, even sales and supply. It is not about consensus or self-directed teams, but about getting people involved. Not to be confused with any specific lean manufacturing tools, the philosophy focuses on people and fosters continuous improvement.
David Squier, recently retired CEO of Howmet Corporation, began leading the company jet engine component manufacturing plants toward lean manufacturing in the early 1990s. Instead of lighting a fire under the company 11,500 employees, he helped light a fire inside them. Once inter-plant competitions were replaced by a focus on company-wide performance, plants began working together and sharing best practices. Within five years, valuation jumped from $200 million to $2.2 billion, and Aviation Week recognized Howmet as the best-managed, mid-sized aviation company in the business.