In the Crosshairs

Abstract:Many U.S. manufacturers have difficulty achieving expected results from the Toyota Production System (TPS). Often, this is because they are more like customized service providers than they are the type of manufacturers that populated the United States during the 1940s and 1950s. While TPS is still relevant, many organizations have missed the essence of TPS in the push for quarterly results. Manufacturing's focus on worker speed has resulted in an efficiency plateau while systemic waste persists. This case study explores the experience of Fairbanks Morse Engine (FME), an engine manufacturing company that was having persistent manufacturing problems despite massive coordinated efforts to use TPS as an improvement method. FME was blind to the queue time between steps in its work processes, and there were systemic issues that hobbled the isolated improvements. The company discovered that work content analysis can help clearly define product families and can align improvement activities. The final …

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