lean manufacturing
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What is happening in lean manufacturing in the world
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Buy More Robots? | Adams Nager | IndustryWeek

Buy More Robots? | Adams Nager | IndustryWeek | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"More robots means lower unemployment and better trade performance. [...] The United States does not lose jobs because there is not enough work to be done but rather because U.S. industry is not competitive with foreign producers. More robots will help fix this."

Michel Baudin's insight:

Really? If you are not competitive, just buy more robots! But wait... Haven't we heard this before? Isn't it what GM did in the 1980s? Under Roger Smith's leadership, from 1980 to 1989, GM spent about $40B on robots, and this investment didn't make it competitive. 

It doesn't mean robots are bad, only that they are not a panacea. Toyota's Global Body Line is designed to use welding robots where they are justified, and manual welding where not, using the same fixtures. 

In an auto parts plant in Japan, I remember seeing a machining cell with old machines served by robots. A few yards away were new, automated lines that didn't use robots. 

It looked very much as if the old cell with new robots was the result of incremental automation, and that the lessons learned had been applied in the design of the new lines. 

Robots are tools. If you know how to use them, they will help you; if you don't, buying more is just a waste of money. 

 

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Why Toyota is Lean...and You're Not

Why Toyota is Lean...and You're Not | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

Jeffrey Liker on what Lean really is. An interesting article, with which I have a few quibbles:

1.The Shingo Prize rewards companies for looking Lean, not being Lean, as evidenced by the prize's inability to predict competitive performance (See http://bit.ly/Lp23DY).

2. The Machine that Changed the World and Lean Thinking introduced the word Lean, not the concept. It existed before, for a good 10 years, under a succession of names that didn't catch on as well as Lean did, including TPS, WCM, and others.

3. His conclusion is overly optimistic: "At the end of the day U.S. manufacturers that invest in developing skilled, motivated leaders whose passion is to develop people who can improve processes in the long-term will beat the competition every time." I don't think it's true, because they will be competing against manufacturers elsewhere doing the same.

I also do not see this statement as an accurate summary of Lean. Under Alfred P. Sloan's leadership in the 1920s, GM did everything the statement says. When Peter Drucker wrote Concept of the Corporation in 1946, GM was arguably the best run company in the world, particularly in leadership development, but, even looking back, you wouldn't call it Lean.

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