From the Ensuing Recovery to the Future Beyond It

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From the Ensuing Recovery to the Future Beyond It
Kent Vincent, Consultant, United States

A Blended Pathway Will Be Needed For Process Improvement

We may be nearing the end of a formative era in enterprise process improvement during which all the three letter acronym movements exist as uneasy companions with one another vying for attention and preeminence (TPS, TOC, SS, QRM, etc.). The next period may resemble the primordial soup out of which new combined species of improvement methodologies emerge. For that a roadmap is needed keyed to the types of businesses and mixes of products and services that the "next economy" will call forth.

Today fewer mid-sized organizations have the volume, low variety and high end commodity orientation that the original Toyota Production System is designed for. Indeed, if they are robust, competitive, and survivable, the ability to furnish variety upon demand with rapid changeover is crucial. While the goal is throughput speed improvement and variability reduction, they are achieved while maximizing what we might call “varietability” in the breadth of product offerings. These methods include Quick Response Manufacturing, Job Shop Lean, DNOM charting for SPC, and several other adaptable, less widely practiced methods. IS & R does not over-rely on any one approach that may occur in a hammer-chasing-nail practice heavily invested in one “branded” offering. This philosophy maximizes the odds of success while minimizing the risks of methodological mismatches or partial, unresolved solutions.

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