Article | January 4, 2022
So much emphasis has been placed on features, advantages, and benefits; too little attention has been paid to delivery dates. The best automation solution on paper means nothing if it cannot be delivered in 2022. Selling the sexy sizzle of new, clever, even remarkable AGVs means nothing if manufacturers and distribution centers cannot take delivery of the product until 2023. Throughout industrial manufacturing and distribution the lead time from many AGV manufacturers is more than a year. That means product ordered in Q1 2022 will not be delivered until the following year. That is an absurd lead time and reflects poor planning and unnecessary supply chain constraints.
Article | December 8, 2021
An agile manufacturing strategy is one that places a strong priority on responding quickly to the needs of the customer, resulting in a major competitive advantage.
It is a captivating method to build a competitive work system in today's fast-moving marketplace. An agile organization must be able to adapt quickly to take advantage of limited opportunities and rapid shifts as per client demand. Agile manufacturing is gaining favor among manufacturers due to its several benefits, including increased work productivity and good control over the final deliverable. Furthermore, the shorter time to market is expanding the global market for enterprise agile transformation services.
According to Market Watch, with a CAGR of 17.9% from 2019 to 2026, the US enterprise agile transformation services market is predicted to reach $18,189.32 million by 2026.
So why is agile manufacturing gaining traction? What challenges do manufacturers encounter when implementing agile manufacturing, and how have industry leaders like GE, Adobe, and Accenture effectively implemented agile methodology in their organizations and become the best examples of agile manufacturing? In this article, we'll take a closer look at each point.
What Is the Importance of Agile Manufacturing?
The term "agile manufacturing" refers to the use of a variety of different technologies and methodologies in the production process. In order to meet market standards and criteria, organizations must be able to adapt quickly and effectively to their customers' needs by bringing agility to manufacturing. To ensure the quality of products and the cost of production are kept to a minimum, agile manufacturing helps firms to regulate their end product.
Because it immediately addresses the needs and worries of the clients, it is an effective strategy as well. By using this method, firms may better understand the market and use it to their advantage by creating products that meet the needs of their customers.
Challenges While Adopting Agile Methodologies on a Project
When we talk about agile challenges when implementing it on any project, some will be routine and some will be unique. So, let's get a quick grasp on the agile challenges.
Communication about the project: Clear communication between the development team and the product owner is critical throughout the project development life cycle. Any miscommunication can have an impact on the product's quality and the end result of the entire process.
Managing the day-to-day operational challenges: Throughout the project, daily minor or large operations play a significant impact on the overall project output. Any obstacles encountered when working on everyday chores should be resolved immediately to avoid any delays or halts in the process.
To make it function, you'll need experience: Any inexperienced product owners, scrum masters, or individuals new to the agile approach may have a negative impact on the project's expected output.
Various project contributors' buy-in: Inadequate training, a lack of motivation to show up from project participants, keeping customers in the loop, and a lack of departmental management are some of the problems that may hinder the accurate implementation of the agile methodology. The presence of one or more of these obstacles in any business or project may jeopardize the agile methodology and its total output.
Though there are many online training courses and books available on how to integrate agile practices into your project, each organization's scenario is unique, as are the challenges they encounter. As a result, handling the situation with experienced personnel that have a can-do attitude is what is required to make it work.
Following that, we'll look at some manufacturing business agile examples and how they've successfully implemented agile methodology in their organizations.
Agile Manufacturing Examples
We'll look at one of the most well-known industrial examples of agile manufacturing that has successfully implemented the methodology and achieved great outcomes. Take a peek at it.
One of the most popular agile manufacturing examples in performance management revamps is Adobe. When Donna Morris was Senior Vice President of People Resources in 2012, she thought the annual performance evaluation and the stack-ranking process were bureaucratic, paperwork-heavy overly complicated, taking up too many management hours for the company. Aside from this, she discovered that it set barriers to joint efforts, creativity, and development.
The Adobe team ditched annual performance reviews and encouraged managers and employees to regularly discuss performance via a system called “Check-in.” Adobe has reduced voluntary turnover by 30% and increased voluntary departures by 50% since making the transition. Moreover, the company saved 80,000 management hours annually.
General Electric famously overhauled its performance management system in 2015, paving the path for other global firms to follow in the electronics industry. Annual performance evaluations and the infamous rank-and-yank performance rating system (ranking employees and regularly eliminating the bottom 10%) had GE decide they needed to update their performance management system. The annual appraisals lasted a decade longer than the ranking system. They are now a more agile organization.
Instead of directing employees to attain goals, managers now guide and coach them. GE also decided to deploy an app they designed called PD@GE to facilitate regular employee feedback and productive performance discussions.
Using the app, each employee establishes priorities and solicits feedback. They can also give real-time feedback. Employees can request a face-to-face meeting at any time to discuss transparency, honesty, and continuous improvement.
These traits will not arise quickly and will require motivation and commitment for self-growth.
According to Accenture's previous system, employees who perform well tend to be the most narcissists and self-promoters. Accenture wanted to revamp their system and reward genuine employees. So they started using on-going performance conversations while focusing on performance development.
Because it required employees to compete with coworkers who may have had a different position, Accenture decided that forced ranking was illogical. The new system is more centered on the employee and aims to assist them in becoming the best version of themselves.
Agile manufacturing is a way to get the finest results and exceed client expectations on every project. Businesses are benefiting from agile manufacturing because it improves the end product and helps them better utilize their resources. The necessity of agile manufacturing in business is vital, and organizations must overcome the challenges they encounter while applying the agile approach to any of their projects in order to reap the benefits of agile production.
How does agile manufacturing help businesses?
An agile manufacturing process enables organizations to respond to client requests with flexibility when market conditions change, as well as regulate their intended production while preserving product quality and minimizing costs.
What is an agile organization?
Unified alignment, accountability, specialization, transparency, and cooperation are key elements in an agile organization. To guarantee these teams can work efficiently, the organization must maintain a solid environment.
What are the core elements of agility?
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools are the four values of the Agile Methodology. A working program is preferable to in-depth documentation. During contract negotiation, the customer's cooperation is valued.
"name": "How does agile manufacturing help businesses?",
"text": "An agile manufacturing process enables organizations to respond to client requests with flexibility when market conditions change, as well as regulate their intended production while preserving product quality and minimizing costs."
"name": "What is an agile organization?",
"text": "Unified alignment, accountability, specialization, transparency, and cooperation are key elements in an agile organization. To guarantee these teams can work efficiently, the organization must maintain a solid environment."
"name": "What are the core elements of agility?",
"text": "Individuals and interactions over processes and tools are the four values of the Agile Methodology. A working program is preferable to in-depth documentation. During contract negotiation, the customer's cooperation is valued."
Article | December 16, 2021
Lean manufacturing is an operational approach used to create value. Businesses adopt lean manufacturing to improve productivity, reduce waste, increase customer value, and employee satisfaction.
Many businesses are accelerating their adoption of lean principles and practices due to the emergence of the industry 4.0 transformation. As a result, companies such as Caterpillar, Intel, Textron, Parker Hannifin, and John Deere are all reaping the benefits of lean manufacturing.
So, where did the idea of "lean manufacturing" first originate? In this article, you'll learn about the origins of lean manufacturing and its key principles.
The Origins of Lean Manufacturing
The principles of lean manufacturing were developed in Japan in the mid-20th century. Toyota, a famous Japanese automaker, experienced major delivery issues at the time. Its production chains were excessively long; thus it couldn't supply enough products on time. As a result, Toyota needed a new Performance measurement system. The company's managers identified a solution.
They created a new project management method called the Toyota production system. Its basic idea was to improve product distribution by reducing waste. It was a good concept. It helped the company shorten manufacturing chains and deliver products faster. Toyota's production method created a simple and effective waste definition. Any step that did not improve the end product's functionality was called a waste.
Later, other manufacturing industries adopted the system. It was renamed as lean manufacturing. It's now a global phenomenon and is used by large and small businesses worldwide.
When should you implement the Lean Manufacturing Method in your business?
Lean is a waste-reduction methodology, approach, and a lifestyle. While it is commonly used in manufacturing, lean techniques are applied to reduce waste while keeping high quality in any business.
Waste reduction of 80% plus
Reduced production expenses by 50%
Decreased inventories by 80-90%
Producing quality items is 90% less expensive.
Workforce productivity improved by 50%
If you want your business to get the above benefits, you need to adopt lean manufacturing principles.
Five lean Manufacturing Principles
Lean manufacturing benefits businesses in multiple ways, and this lean lifestyle has the potential to empower any organization and increase its market competitiveness. So, let us observe the five fundamental principles of lean manufacturing.
For the first principle of defining customer value, it is vital to understand what value is. For customers, value comes from what they're willing to pay for. The customer's actual or hidden demands must be discovered. Customers are not aware of what they want or cannot express it. When it comes to new items or technologies, this is a regular occurrence.
Assume nothing; ask about the pain points being experienced and then craft a unique value proposition. Never force a solution into a problem that does not exist.”
– Thomas R. Cutler, President & CEO at TR Cutler, Inc.
For example, you can use various methods to find out what customers value, such as surveys and demographic information. With these qualitative and quantitative methodologies, you may learn more about your clients' needs, their expectations, and their budgets.
Identifying and mapping the value stream is the second lean principle. By starting with the consumer’s perceived value, all activities that contribute to that value may be identified. Waste is anything that does not benefit the client in any way. It can be divided into two categories: non-value-added and unnecessary waste. The unnecessary waste should be removed, while the non-value-added should be minimized. You can ensure that clients get exactly what they want while minimizing the cost of creating that product or service by removing unnecessary processes or steps.
The next operations must proceed smoothly and without interruption or delays after removing wastes from the value stream. Value-adding activities can be improved by breaking down tasks, reorganizing the manufacturing process, distributing the workload, and educating personnel to be flexible and multi-skilled.
The fourth lean principle requires a pull-based manufacturing system. Traditional production systems use a push system, which starts with purchasing supplies and continues manufacturing even when no orders are placed. While push systems are simple to set up, they can result in vast inventories of work-in-progress (WIP).
On the other hand, a pull method pulls a customer's order from delivery, causing new items to be made and additional materials to be acquired. Kanban, one of the lean manufacturing tools, can help organizations develop a pull system to control material flow in a production system.
An efficient pull system maximizes available space, reduces inventory, eliminates over-and under-production, and eliminates errors caused by too much WIP.
While completing Steps 1-4 is a great start, the fifth and possibly most critical step is incorporating lean thinking and process improvement into your organizational culture. As benefits accumulate, it is vital to remember that lean is not a static system that requires continuous effort and awareness to perfect. Each employee should get included in the lean implementation process. Lean experts sometimes state that a process is not truly lean until it has undergone at least a half-dozen value-stream mapping cycles.
How Nike Demonstrated the Benefits of Lean Principles
Nike, the world-famous shoe and clothing powerhouse, has embraced lean manufacturing principles and practices. Nike experienced less waste and increased consumer value, as did other businesses. It also shared some unexpected benefits. It is proven that lean manufacturing can minimize terrible labor practices at a company's overseas manufacturing unit by up to 15%. This result was mostly due to implementing the lean manufacturing practice of valuing the workers more than earlier routine labor practices. It provided greater significance to an employee and, as a result, greater significance to the organization as a whole.
Implementing lean manufacturing principles is a good way to run any organization. Businesses that build their operations on the two pillars of lean manufacturing, constant improvement, and personnel respect, are well on their way to becoming a successful and productive organizations in the modern era. To become a lean company, an organization must fully grasp the benefits and added value that it may get by adopting lean manufacturing principles.
What is Five S's of lean manufacturing?
The 5S of lean manufacturing are Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain, and they give a framework for organizing, cleaning, developing, and maintaining a productive work environment.
What are the two pillars of lean manufacturing?
Lean, as modeled on the Toyota Way values, has two pillars, first is ‘Continuous Improvement’ and second is ‘Respect for People’.
Why are lean principles beneficial for any business?
Lean manufacturing is a business strategy that has proven to be highly successful since it can help you decrease costs, remove waste, enhance production, maintain excellent quality, and thus increase business profit significantly.
Article | June 28, 2021
Manufacturing journalist Thomas R. Cutler visited the remarkable and magnificent country of Uganda.
Foreign investment is coming into the country and that is a good thing; it is not however, enough. To tap into this workforce corporate citizenship and contribution is essential. Just as I underestimated the stamina needed to climb the mountain to experience the gorillas, the role of transforming Uganda requires a careful, well-thought approach.