Tie Lean, Six Sigma strategies to plant worker's knowledge

While manufacturing improvement strategists have their supporters, researchers who look at the implementation of such programs understand that engaging workers at the plant floor level is crucial to success. “Most people on the plant floor are not used to being asked questions, but it is a key leap of the continuous improvement program,” said Ralph Rio, research director for ARC Adv...

03/01/2007


While manufacturing improvement strategists have their supporters, researchers who look at the implementation of such programs understand that engaging workers at the plant floor level is crucial to success.

“Most people on the plant floor are not used to being asked questions, but it is a key leap of the continuous improvement program,” said Ralph Rio, research director for ARC Advisory Group at their Collaborative Manufacturing Strategies Forum in Orlando Feb. 14. “It takes two years to get through the cultural change, but if you have the first mover advantage, you can exert pressure on your competitors.”

In those two years, Rio noted, starting with a Lean strategy and augmenting it with Six Sigma allows for the plant to measure the process and people involved in manufacturing. “Six Sigma aligns the organization vertically, while Lean is horizontal,” Rio said. “In some organizations, there's some conflict, but that's usually empire building.”

“The success of the strategy is driven by both a top-down management initiative and the full engagement of the plant manager,” said Paul Husby, vice-president of supply-chain services and operations for 3M.

“The value of a top-down program is essential,” Husby said. “The first two hours of a plant manager's day is spent on the shop floor. This is a huge cultural change. The plant manager either leads this effort or it won't work.”

Husby related that one plant production manager at a 3M facility said, “Since this started, I know so much more about the day-to-day details of what's going on in my area.”

Husby said the integration of the Lean system and the data available from MES systems is another important factor in driving change through Lean and Six Sigma. “Stability controls the speed of improvement. MES is a vital part of this stability,” Husby said. “Your MES provides a lot of data and monitors defect detection. That's a key part of how you improve stability.”

A continuous improvement program is a major part of what successful manufacturers need to remain competitive. Rio noted that the attention to continuous improvement also can keep other plant floor pressures at bay. “Cost is a variable,” Rio said. “Continuous improvement is about the only thing you can control.”

Plant Engineering magazine was a media sponsor of the ARC Advisory Group forum. Details on the event can be found at www.arcweb.com .





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
IIoT grows up; Six ways to lower IIoT costs; Six mobile safety strategies; 2017 Salary Survey
2016 Top Plant; 2016 Best Practices on manufacturing progress, efficiency, safety
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
What controller fits your application; Permanent magnet motors; Chemical manufacturer tames alarm management; Taking steps in a new direction
Tying a microgrid to the smart grid; Paralleling generator systems; Previewing NEC 2017 changes
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on preventing compressed air leaks and centrifugal air compressor basics and best practices for the "fifth utility" in manufacturing plants.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
click me