Review of improvement methods in manufacturing operations Essay


The quest to better the public presentation of companies has been made imperative since the beginning of the industrial epoch with a scope of techniques and methodological analysis aimed at bettering the efficiency and effectivity of operational activity. The earliest of public presentation betterment theoreticians include Adam Smith ( 1776 ) , Eli Whitney ( 1800 ) , Baggage ( 1832 ) , Taylor ( 1903 ) , Henry Ford ( 1913 ) etc.

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There has been competition between companies since the early old ages and as markets become planetary and there are no marks that competition will come to an terminal. This competition has created a greater demand for first category betterment methods that can do companies more competitory.

The betterment methods differ from one another ; as respects how betterment should be implemented, achieved and maintained every bit good as what to better. Some of these betterment methods include Business Process Reengineering ( BPR ) , Entire Quality Management ( TQM ) , Benchmarking, etc.

This paper will reexamine the assorted betterment methods in fabricating operations ; it will analyze and discourse the assorted betterment procedures, techniques and methods every bit good as their beginning. This reappraisal besides seeks to cognize which of these procedures, techniques or methods is best for any peculiar fabrication procedure and what their defects are. However, more accent will be on Business Process Reengineering ( BPR ) , Entire Quality Management ( TQM ) , Benchmarking, etc.

A figure of the methods of operations betterment used in recent times can be traced to the strong development periods during and instantly after the Second World War, largely in the USA. These methods were imported in to Japan and earnestly improved upon as in the instance of the Toyota Company ( Womack et al. , 1996 ) . The Entire Preventive Maintenance ( TPM ) that was developed with the simple construct of Preventive Maintenance ( PM ) in the USA ( Nord et al. , 1997 ) and Entire Quality Management ( TQM ) developed by Juran and Deming ( Bergman and Klefsjo, 1995 ) are important illustrations.

The original USA methods TPM and TQM were imported and adapted to Nipponese manner of working, from this simple basic constructs and attacks, the Toyota Production System ( TPS ) was synchronized and synthesized and resulted in to assorted other methods like Kaizen, 5S and benchmarking, together these methods resulted in thin fabrication.

The debut and execution of such methods to the West was and is still non to the full successful. The Western companies are still ‘traditional ‘ mass production companies ( Womack et all. , 1996 ) . General Motors which has excessively many workss, excessively many directors and excessively many workers is a authoritative illustration. The development and success of these methods in Japan ignited new thought in the West and that caused the development of improved methods as a competitory contraction against the Nipponese motion, illustrations of the new methods include Business Process Reengineering ( BPR ) , BPR including Kaizen known as Business Process Improvement ( BPI ) and Theory of Constraints ( TOC ) . These methods all have a curious purpose and aim ; to better operations treat even though they are different in the manner they really set out to accomplish their ends.

Improvement methods are similar in some ways ; several stages can be identified and besides their cyclical nature, but we may non be able to compare them on other factors like the range of the methods since they all have different research and pattern. These methods most times have the primary-Phase which is made up of readying, planning and end scene. Examples include the followers:

The informations aggregation stage in simulation methods ( Johnson and Grunberg, 2001 ) , the job designation phase in Kaizen ( Hawkings, 2001 ) , the commitment/ownership phase of methods like TQM, TPS AND TPM ( Jostes and Helms, 1994 ; Gunasekaran et al. , 1998 )

After the primary-phase, most methods typically include one or two stages for measuring and execution such as statistical control in TQM ( Gunasekaran et al. , 1998 ) , simulation methods with measuring ( Johnson and Grunberg, 2001 ) and procedure function in BPR ( Vakola and Rezgui, 2000 ) .The concluding phase is largely a signifier of rating and restart of the betterment rhythm. A really celebrated illustration of the cyclical attack is the Deming Wheel as shown in Fig 1 below.





Fig1. DEMING ‘S WHEEL OF IMPROVEMENT. Adopted from Slack at Al, 2009

The Deming Wheel starts with a Plan phase ; which involves the scrutiny of the present method or job country to be reviewed. The aggregation and analysis of informations is included in this phase in order to explicate a program which is intended to better public presentation or procedure. After the planning, the procedure dovetails into the Do phase, which is execution phase where the program is really carried out in the operation. This phase may besides hold its ain mini Deming wheel as issues of execution are resolved.

The following is the Check phase where the program implemented is really evaluated to see if it has resulted in the expected betterment. The concluding phase of this rhythm is the Act, where the alteration is really amalgamate or standardized if it had been a success. However, if it did non enter a success, the lessons learnt are formalized and the rhythm starts once more. This wheel explains in really simple footings what might look to be a set of really complex activities, an activity is planned, carried out, results and consequences are evaluated before the following stage is planned and so the wheel starts once more.

Although the methods are similar, there are differences in the focal point between them. Organizational development for illustration topographic points more direct focal point on human interactions than any other method reviewed here. This is supported by the fact that Organizational development emanates from behaviourists like Lewin in the 1930s ( Westlander, 1999 ) . OD is less of uninterrupted technique when compared with TOC and TQM.

These methods have peculiar backgrounds and are developed /designed to work out specific betterment jobs within specific models, while TPM focuses on bettering overall equipment efficiency ( Jostes and Helms, 1994 ) and improved machine handiness. The theory of restraints focal points on constrictions. It emphasizes the importance of bettering throughput to a maximal in any constriction within a production procedure ( Rahman, 1998 ) . Furthermore, concern procedure reengineering is more of a general betterment method. Its peculiar attack is to see extremist alterations as a manner of bettering operations Vakola and Rezgui, 2000 ) .

This extremist alteration would open up ways for new radical thoughts to germinate which will do a dramatic alteration in public presentation when comparison with incremental betterments that we frequently see with the more focussed methods. Benchmarking is non truly an betterment technique as such, as would be demonstrated subsequently. It seeks to place countries for betterment and focal points on measurement and comparing concern public presentation. This could be really uncovering particularly when compared with similar organisations ( Harrington, 1998 ) . TQM and thin Manufacturing pays more attending to waste but within a holistic consideration of the large image ( Sui-Pheng and Khoo, 2001. , Gunasekaran et al. , 1998 ) . Simulation techniques frequently act as support determination tools for betterment and may be used as direct betterment methods ( Johansson and Grunberg, 2001 ) .

After a careful reappraisal of the assorted methods and attacks to betterment, it is apparent that TOC can be singled out as the lone method that suggests a starting point for betterments. Its suggests the designation of constriction as a get downing point in fabrication, pre-supposing that more end product is the expected result.

Procedure Analysis

An operation involves procedures designed to add value by transforming inputs i.e. stuffs into utile end products i.e. a physical merchandise or a service. Procedures can impact the public presentation of a concern ; hence procedure betterment is strongly required to better a house ‘s fight ( ) . The first measure to bettering a procedure is to analyse and understand the assorted activities in the procedure, their relationships and the value added.

Procedure analysis by and large involve specifying the procedure boundaries that indicate the entry and issue points of the procedure inputs and end products severally, building a procedure flow chart or diagram that shows the assorted procedure activities and their relationship with each other, find the capacity of each measure, placing the measure with the lowest capacity, measure farther restrictions and so utilizing the analysis to do operations determinations and better the procedure.

The procedure boundaries are defined by the entry and issue points of inputs and end product of the procedure. Once the boundaries are defined, the procedure flow diagram is a valuable tool for understanding utilizing in writing elements to demo undertakings, flows, stock list and storage of information. The figure on the following page is a flow diagram for a simple procedure holding four consecutive activities:


The symbols in the procedure flow diagram are defined as follows:

The rectangles represent undertakings and things to make.

Arrows- Represents the flow, the flow of stuffs and the flow of information as good. The flow of information could be in the signifier of the faux pas of paper that follows the stuff, production orders and instructions etc. Material flow is normally represented by a solid line, while the information flow is represented by dotted lines.

The upside-down trigons represent stock list, they are commonly natural stuff stock list, work in progress stock list and finished goods stock list.

The circle represents the storage of information for illustration information that may be stored on the computing machine.

In the procedure flow diagram, undertakings drawn one after the other implies that the undertakings are performed consecutive, while undertakings drawn analogues are performed at the same time. In the above procedure flow diagram natural stuff or inputs are held in stock list at the beginning and upon completion of the undertaking, the end product or finished merchandises are besides held in stock list. We must nevertheless be careful when building a procedure flow diagram in order to avoid booby traps that may do the diagram non represent world. Assuming that we construct the diagram utilizing information obtained from employees, the employees may non desire to open up the rework cringles and other by and large abashing facets of the procedure. Similarly, within the unlogical facets of the procedure flow, employees may be given to demo it as it should be and non as it is. Even when they really show the procedure as they see it, their understanding and perceptual experience may be different from the existent procedure, they may go forth out of import activities that they feel and see as insignificant ( NetMBA, 2010 )

There are assorted alteration and betterment methods described within the betterment literature, many of them because they are focused – presume that some work has already taken topographic point to detect the job country, hence select a tool or technique. This portion of the essay will discourse more extensively some of the betterment steps, technique and attacks ; taking them one after the other.



Integration Losses Layout Measurement Transport Cycle-time Figure 3 below, suggests a figure of factors that could be the mark of an betterment undertaking ; nevertheless all may hold some important consequence on public presentation, productiveness and profitableness ( PPP ) . A preliminary analysis may affect analysis of waste, cost etc. If a speedy analysis is required, a Pareto analysis can be used to make up one’s mind which factors should be focused on in the betterment undertaking. The nature of the factors selected will mostly find the peculiar betterment method to be employed or one of the most generic techniques must be used.

ABC Overprod. Entire quality Location Finance Administration Subcontracting

Routines Suppliers Customer Outsourcing Planning Cost Articles

Lead-times constrictions stuff flow volumes development stock list




Standardization Modularization

Development design for assembly merchandise discrepancies

Use Scheduling Maintainance Ergonomics Absenteesim New engineering

Organization efficiency measuring capacity work methods communicating motive satisfaction




Benchmarking is the procedure of comparing and larning from others. It entails comparing the public presentation step or procedure of one entity or organisation with other comparable operations ( Slack et al, 2009 ) . It goes beyond an organisation ‘s scene of public presentation ends, but investigates other organisations operational patterns with a position to utilizing them to compare with its operations. It assumes that, a job in operation procedure has been encountered elsewhere in the industry or another section in the organisation, it besides believes that operation procedure jobs have been discovered and improved upon elsewhere and can really utilize those thoughts to better its operation procedure if their procedure and thoughts are seen to be better. An illustration could be if the University School of Management might larn something ‘s from a bank about how to market the school more expeditiously and efficaciously, with respects to information airing. It basically encourages creativeness in the betterment pattern and procedure. There are assorted types of benchmarking, they include ;

Internal Benchmarking ; refers to a comparing between operations or parts of operations that are within the same organisation. An illustration will be a bank comparing the service degree between two or more subdivisions. Competitive Benchmarking is the direct comparing of rivals in the same industry. An illustration of this will be comparing two nomadic phone operators, MTN Nigeria with Etisalat Nigeria as they both exist in the same market. Non-competitive benchmarking is comparing against external organisations which do non vie straight in the same market. An illustration of this is Unilever against Nike. External benchmarking is the comparing of operations and other organisation ‘s operations which are portion of different organisation. An illustration will be operations in Ford and operations in Vodafone. Performance benchmarking is the comparing between achieved public presentations of different operations of different organisations within the same model.

In order to accomplish success with Benchmarking, an organisation must understand really good its ain procedure, because without proper apprehension of its ain procedure it may non be able to compare its procedures with that of another organisation it hopes to benchmark against efficaciously. It will besides necessitate to look critically at the available informations and information as these can and will supply a utile penetration to the benchmarking procedure. Slack et Al, ( 2009 ) asserts that although bench devising has become really popular, some concern organisations have failed to bask the benefits associated to it. This is partially due to some misinterpretation as respects what Benchmarking really entails. Harmonizing to Slack et Al, it is non a one-off undertaking ; it is best practiced as a uninterrupted procedure of comparing. Second, it does non supply solutions ; instead it provides thought that may take to solutions. Third, it involves much more than merely copying or copying another organisation ‘s operation procedures but should be used as a acquisition point.

There are statements indicating at defects within the Benchmarking attack. First, operations should non wait and trust on others to excite their creativeness. The statement is that those that search for best pattern are really restricting themselves as the false best pattern may non really be the really best as there is ever room to better and by and large accepting a peculiar degree of pattern as best prevents operations from creativeness and discovery. There is besides another statement that if an operation records success in an organisation does non needfully connote that if adopted and implemented else where that it would enter the same degree of success. It borders on differences in resources e.g. work force, machines, accomplishments etc which may change from company operation to company operations.

The Business procedure reengineering attack is a extremist discovery manner of undertaking betterment procedure in the concern organisation. It takes into history assorted thoughts such as waste riddance through procedure flow charting, fast throughput, client focused operations etc. It is regarded as the cardinal rethinking and extremist redesign of concern procedures to accomplish dramatic betterments in critical, modern-day steps of public presentation like cost, quality, service and velocity ( Slack et al, 2009 ) . The bedrock of BPR is the redefinition of procedure within the operation, to demo the concern procedure that highlight the client demands and satisfaction. The BPR attack underlines operations procedure that is built around value to the clients instead than activities that perform the operation procedure.

The rule of BPR includes, seting the determination points where the work is done and non to divide those who do the work from those who control and manage it. Another rule advocates organisations to endeavor for dramatic betterments in the public presentation by extremist rethinking and redesigning of the procedure. It encourages organisations to hold those who use the end product from a procedure to execute the procedure, they should look into to see whether all internal clients can be their ain providers alternatively of depending on another map to provide them ( Slack et al. , 2009 ) .

This attack has come under some unfavorable judgment, it is perceived as been to extremist and besides that it focuses more on work activities with small attending on the people who really perform the work. It is besides viewed as merely an alibi to acquire rid of employees. Companies that want to downsize are utilizing BPR as an alibi, this puts the involvement of the stockholders above their long term involvements and besides the involvement of the company ‘s plant. This leads to exposure of the company as they have lost some really cardinal and experience employee to retrenchment, thereby exposing the company to turbulency and run outing it of its experience employees.

Continuous betterment is based on the instructions and doctrine of W. Edward Deming ( Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons, 2008 ) . Deming has been credited with assisting the Nipponese industry recover from World War 2 and prosecute a policy of exporting goods of high quality at low-cost monetary values. The combination of quality and low cost was seen as impossible, because people took by and large assumed quality to ever been associated with high cost. Continuous betterment as the name implies, advocates an attack that improves public presentation and assumes a ne’er stoping series of little incremental betterment stairss that improve operational procedure. Continuous betterment could be best understood as a journey with no peculiar terminal, nevertheless it has way and it is towards client satisfaction ( Haksever et al. , 2000 ) . The changeless alterations in client demands and outlook every bit good as competition forcing the criterions higher are grounds why there is no terminal to the journey. An illustration of this is the uninterrupted betterment in the sale of manager and train tickets in the Uk.

The tendency has moved from being able to purchase travel tickets online to being able to buy tickets from a machine with hard currency or debit cards right at that place at the manager or train station if the travel was ab initio unplanned. It is besides known as ‘Kaizen ‘ , defined by Masaaki Imai. Masaaki defines Kaizen as betterment ; betterment in personal life, place life, societal life and work life. When applied to the work topographic point, it means uninterrupted betterment affecting everyone- director and worker likewise ( Slack et al. , 2009 ) . Continuous betterment is non chiefly aimed at advancing little betterments but sees little betterments as holding one advantage over big 1s in that they can be followed comparatively painlessly by others. Slack et Al ( 2009 ) asserts that it is non the size of betterment that is of import, but the rate of betterment. It truly does non count the size or weight of betterment, what matters is that there is a changeless and uninterrupted betterment in the procedure.

However, uninterrupted betterment is non wholly recognized and welcomed as some employee representatives see it as another direction manner of working workers. Even more constituted thoughts such as TQM have been defined by its critics as ‘management by emphasis ‘ .

In decision, there are many methods available to utilize in the betterment of operation procedure and activities, some of these betterment procedure are generic while others are specific to a given country of work. Most of these procedure have some cardinal similarities, but what is of import in any probe is to be able to utilize the most appropriate and relevant method resolve the job. This involves choosing cardinal factors to be improved, and the select an attack that focuses on those factors. It is besides of import during betterment procedure to mensurate procedures and results, once more this involves the choice of factors to step and upon which criteria these factors will be measured.

This essay has reviewed the assorted betterment procedures, attacks and techniques. More significantly, the essay was able to supply a critic of the assorted methods of operation procedure betterment with a position to urge non one or two methods but accent that organisations must analyze, look into and detect which method ( s ) that is relevant or suited to its operational procedure.


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