(Steve Krar, Consultant – Kelmar Associates)
To compete in world-class manufacturing it is necessary to form a
complete manufacturing strategy for creating high-value products and achieving
superior return over the long run, Fig. 10-1-1. An exhaustive study of the
strategies and operating practices of dozens of leading manufacturers in the United States and around the globe, has revealed that product quality and the customer
satisfaction are at the center of this common framework.
world-class manufacturing requires high-value products at competitive prices.
(Shell Oil Co.)
Companies who want to compete successfully recognize the need to become
world-class manufacturers in every aspect of their business. They understand
the need for some fundamental changes in the way they operate and the need for,
and meaning of continuous improvement.
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT (KAIZEN)
An area where many firms have often lagged behind their overseas
competitors is in exploiting the potential for continuous improvement in the
quality and reliability of their products and processes. The cumulative effect
of successive incremental improvements and modifications to established
products and processes can be very large, and may outpace efforts to achieve
Continuous Improvement (Kaizen)
Kaizen, the Japanese word for gradual, unending improvement, doing
little things better; setting and achieving ever-higher standards. It received
prominence because of the work of Dr. D. Edwards Deming and Dr. Joseph Juran,
in Japan during the 1950s. It is the simple principle behind Japan’s economic miracle and the real reason the Japanese became the masters of flexible
manufacturing technology - their ability to adapt manufacturing processes with
changing customer and market requirements, and do it fast. Their success sent a
clear message to America.
The main message behind Kaizen is do it better, make
it better, and improve it even if it isn’t broke. Otherwise it will be
impossible to compete with those who do.
Kaizen strategy is the single most important concept in Japanese
management - the key to their competitive success. Kaizen means ongoing
improvement involving everyone: top management, managers, and workers. Many
systems were developed to make management and workers conscious of the need for
continuous improvement. In many companies, management devotes at least 50% of
their attention to Kaizen. Managers are constantly looking for ways to improve
in-house systems and procedures. Their involvement in continuous improvement
extends even to such areas as labor-management relations, marketing practices,
and supplier relations, Fig. 10-1-2.
with manufacturing products can contribute to a successful continuous
improvement program. (Kelmar Associates)