The term World Class Manufacturing most certainly has existed for quite some time now. It was first mentioned around ‘80-’90 of the last century. The whole technique is not new either. Tools from the three most well-known methods are combined, namely: Lean Management, Six Sigma and Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). World Class Manufacturing is applied to increase quality and the speed of production and to decrease total costs.
What are the main ideas behind World Class Manufacturing?
WCM can not necessarily be called a technique or method, as much as a management concept. In other words, it does not have a certain structure, but uses concepts to continuously improve performances. To do so, it makes use of tools of Lean, Six Sigma and Total Productive Maintenance. A few of these most important concepts are:
The European meaning of benchmarking is known by many people. They focus on comparing different business processes and using the best one of these as example for the others. This way, business will achieve next steps regarding improving such processes. However, the Japanese meaning of benchmarking is different. Here, creating a situation to begin with is the main focus. From this starting point, businesses start improving.
Benchmarking – constantly comparing different business processes – creates a foundation for improvement ideas. And these should be used to adapt and improve these business processes. This can be recognized as the principle ‘Kaizen’: take small steps each day, which is known from the Lean toolbox.
- Overall Equipment Effectiveness
One of the first things you will look at when using World Class Manufacturing is the uptime of your production. This is what Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is all about. Because when your production is not optimized yet, for example due to maintenance, it would not make any sense to improve your business processes.
What steps to take towards World Class Manufacturing
As just stated, WCM is not an actual method. However, there are a few steps most companies use to achieve the application of World Class Manufacturing. These are listed below. But mind you, these steps do not have to be taken in a specific order.
- Fine tuning machines and decreasing the time it takes to install them. It is important to be time efficient when it comes to production. A Lean tool that is relevant here is SMED, which stands for Single Minute Exchange of Dies.
- Another step that can be taken is a decrease of work-in-progress (WIP): in many production environments, having much stock is considered normal. This might help in case of any type of disturbance. However, WIP is very costly, takes up space and distracts from the production process.
- To satisfy the customer, many changes are made to the end product. But keep in mind these changes should be made after the final cut, when they are thought of during the design phase.
- Focus on the minimum: act on the demand of customers instead of creating stock.
- Cellulair production: production processes should be distinguished because of their nature.