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Lean Manufacturing Optimizes Everything
11/5/2013

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Far more storage-efficient than open shelving, two Stanley Vidmar cabinets can store the entire contents of five units of standard shelving.
Far more storage-efficient than open shelving, two Stanley Vidmar cabinets can store the entire contents of five units of standard shelving.

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Rob Spiegel
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Re: Leaner and greener
Rob Spiegel   12/11/2013 12:17:12 PM
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Thanks Ann. Everything is getting leaner and greener -- and manufacturing is coming home because of it.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Leaner and greener
Ann R. Thryft   12/11/2013 12:11:31 PM
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Thanks for this thorough article on the state of the art of lean manufacturing and how it's progressed, and is progressing. I'm impressed.



Rob Spiegel
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Re: Leaner and greener
Rob Spiegel   11/7/2013 8:20:29 AM
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One thing I found that was interesting (it will be in an upcoming story) is that cost competition among automation and motion control hardware vendors is driving down costs. So not all of the emerging efficiencies are coming at a premium price. Plus, automation vendors are well aware their products and systems have to deliver a clear return on investment if they're going to get the order.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Leaner and greener
Elizabeth M   11/7/2013 5:05:09 AM
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Yes, you're right, Rob, I think a lot has to do with the technology. I think sometimes maybe there is a cultural resistance to implementing some of the technology that will makes things more efficient because initially it seems more expensive. But in the long run, I think it will benefit manufacturers.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Does not optimize everything!!
Rob Spiegel   11/6/2013 7:57:56 PM
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That's certainly true, William K. The meaning of a lot of words gets destroyed. I remember the phrase, "I couldn't care less." That got changed to "I could care less," which menas the exact opposite.

William K.
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Re: Does not optimize everything!!
William K.   11/6/2013 6:00:02 PM
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Rob, that is undoubtedly correct. My experience was with the most accurately defined version.

Isn't it a bit unfortunate that ignorant usage removes the specific meaning from so many terms?

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Does not optimize everything!!
Rob Spiegel   11/6/2013 5:48:30 PM
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William K, lean manufacturing has changed quite a bit since the Japan plants used the term. Now ithe term is mostly a catch-all for efficiency improvements.

William K.
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Does not optimize everything!!
William K.   11/6/2013 5:35:36 PM
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My one run-in with lean manufacturing and the culture that it begets was a few years back, at the Nissan plant in Arkansas. I shipped some machine parts there in preparation for installation on a machine I would be working on in another day. MY shipping instructions included a request to deliver the package of custome cables to the post coordinates of the machine that I would be working on, so that I would not need to get them from the shipping department area.

When I arrived the next day and attempted to locate the cable assemblies I found out that they had already been scrapped because they were not needed at that moment, or in the next few hours. which was a big waste of time and very expensive connectors.

I am still not impressed by that aspect of japanese lean manufacturing. It comes across as a stupid obsession with neatness and a refusal to think.

GTOlover
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Re: Leaner and greener
GTOlover   11/6/2013 3:35:24 PM
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Well put Battar. However, it seems the public has voted to raise the minimum wage irregardless of the impact on the cost of doing business. So once again the "Kiazan" events will start "to reduce waste". However, this time I think it will actually mean a few of the lowered skilled people will go.

My philosophy is to expand my skill base so I am never veiwed as waste!

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Leaner and greener
Rob Spiegel   11/6/2013 6:50:25 AM
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Yes, leaner, greener and less expensive. These technology developments are making North American manufacturing more viable globally.

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