World Class Manufacturing

World Class Manufacturing is a set of concepts, policies, techniques, and principles for operating and managing a manufacturing company. The concept of World Class Manufacturing is based on the positive results achieved by Japanese Manufacturing companies after World War II. These manufacturing processes focus on continual improvement in quality, cost, lead time, flexibility, and customer service.

World Class Manufacturing is a process-driven approach that generally involves implementing the following philosophies and techniques:

  • Make-to-order
  • Streamlined flow
  • Small lot sizes
  • Families of parts
  • Doing it right the first time
  • Cellular manufacturing
  • Total preventive maintenance
  • Quick changeover
  • Zero Defects
  • Just-in-time
  • Variability reduction
  • Employee involvement
  • Cross functional teams
  • Multi-skilled employees
  • Visual signals
  • Statistical process control

To achieve world-class status, companies must change procedures and concepts, which leads to reconstructing relationships with suppliers, purchasers, producers, and customers.

There are seven keys to becoming a world-class manufacturer:

  1. Reduce lead times
  2. Speed time-to-market
  3. Streamline outsourcing processes
  4. Cut operations costs
  5. Exceed customer expectations
  6. Manage the global enterprise
  7. Improve business performance visibility

Companies using World Class Manufacturing strategies focus on improving operations, eliminating waste, and creating Lean organizations, which often results in higher productivity. These companies also focus on setting new standards for speed from order capture through delivery without the heavy dependence on inventory. Sequential methods of performing work are being replaced with concurrent methods to compress time, and functional and hierarchical divisions of duties are being replaced by team-driven activities.

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