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Exploring Advanced Manufacturing Technologies designed to intorduce new technologies to the student, teacher, manufacturing engineer, supervisor, and management. Many new manufacturing technologies have been included in this resource to serve as a ready r
Exploring Advanced Manufacturing Technologies
(Continous Improvement)

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   by Steve Karr & Arthur Gill
Published By:
Industrial Press Inc.
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(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.

Fig. 10-1-1 Competition in 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.



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 technological breakthroughs.


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.

Fig. 10-1-2 Everyone involved with manufacturing products can contribute to a successful continuous improvement program. (Kelmar Associates)


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