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Production tips from Joe's garage

Production tips from Joe's garage

We all know that concurrent engineering is supposed to bring design engineers closer to the manufacturing process than they have ever been before. In fact, "design for manufacture" and "design for assembly" have become priorities for more and more product development teams. Even so, unless they work for small companies and have actual manufacturing duties, many design engineers are still "going to school" when it comes to appreciating the latest thinking on production. If you're in that category, I'd like to recommend a little book that will give you a quick education, All I Need to Know about Manufacturing I learned in Joe's Garage (Bayrock Press: (208) 376-2266).

In this easy-reading book, authors William Miller and Vicki Schenk highlight some of the chief concerns of manufacturing today, using a mythical Saturday shelf-building project in Joe's garage. Bit by bit, the book reveals what the authors see as the "Ten Commandments" of manufacturing excellence:

Improve product design to enhance manufacturability and to increase functionality and reliability for customers.

  • Reduce the per-unit consumption of purchased material and supplies.

  • Pull production stingily through the factory pipeline instead of mindlessly pushing material and labor into it.

  • Build and ship rapidly to improve manufacturing productivity, rather than storing and moving inventory.

  • Squeeze time out of the cycle from order receipt through shipment by eliminating redundant tasks that don't contribute directly to output or quality.

  • Refine the production process to promote simplicity and to trim resource consumption.

  • Identify and eliminate manufacturing errors at the point of commission.

  • Simplify information and control systems and make sure to integrate them efficiently with design and production.

  • Cooperate and coordinate with suppliers and service providers to share knowledge and increase joint effectiveness.

  • Strive continually for incremental improvements in all activities that relate to the design, manufacture, and delivery of the product.

Take a look at this list and consider your own company's production system. How have you changed the way you design products based on the increasing pressures to manufacture more efficiently and with higher quality? If you've got a good success story to tell about the payoffs of closer design-manufacturing ties, please send a fax to me at:FAX: (617) 558-4402.

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