Japanese Manufacturing Techniques (Book Summary)

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Introduction
The Japanese make do with little and avoid waste. The modern Japanese system of hand-to-mouth management of materials, with total quality control is consistent with their inclination to conserve resources. The Japanese have a “just-in-time” production objective. They use engineering to drastically cut machine setup times so that it is economical to run very small batches. The idea is to make one piece just in time for the next operation. The economic order quantity approaches one unit.
The main benefit is not reduction in inventory carrying costs but improvement in quality, worker motivation, and productivity.
At one point of time, the quality of Japanese export goods had as poor an image as any in the developing world. The Japanese were determined to do something about it in the post World War II industrial rebuilding era. Becoming aware, getting organized, and implementing Western quality control techniques (chiefly statistical sampling) constituted the thrust of the first fifteen years of quality control emphasis in Japan.
Today, Japanese quality control practices are widely respected.
Japanese total quality control particularly emphasizes:
 A goal of continual quality improvement.
 Responsibility for quality with the line function.
 Quality control of every process, not reliance upon inspection of lots for only selected
processes.
 Measures of quality that are visible, visual, simple, and understandable, even to the casual
observer.
 Automatic quality measurement devices.
So successful have the Japanese become in pursuing total quality control that many Japanese manufacturers now speak of attained quality levels measured in defective parts per million, whereas Western norms have traditionally been measurable in parts per hundred, i.e., in percentages.
Just-in-Time Production
Just-in-time production is a simple concept. It is not about automation. It requires little use of computers. In some industries, JIT can provide far tighter controls on inventory than are attainable through U S computer-based approaches. Furthermore, JIT leads to significantly higher quality and productivity. JIT provides visibility for results so that worker responsibility and commitment are improved. Applications and benefits of JIT/TQC may be extended from the factory itself forward into distribution and backward into the supplier end of the business.
The JIT idea is simple. Produce and deliver finished goods just in time to be sold, subassemblies just in time to be assembled into finished goods, fabricated parts just in time to go into subassemblies,
and purchased materials just in time to be transformed into fabricated parts. All materials must be in the processing stage, never at rest collecting carrying charges. This hand-to-mouth mode of ….
 
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