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How Three Geniuses Solved Workplace Conflicts

It is fascinating to trace how management has been resolving issues arising in production over the past 100 years, how production management developed.

What is surprising is that after 100 years the questions are the same.

How to produce fast?

How to produce high quality?

How to produce with minimal inventory?

How to produce on time?

Over the past five years, I have just not heard any other questions.

Only a few companies have solved all these questions. And we all know these companies very well. They are world leaders in production in different branches of the market.

Stage number 1. Henry Ford.

We call this stage of production management development number 1 stage.

He was the inventor of the conveyor. He applied it in his usual form. And it was created several decades before, on pig farms for cutting carcasses.

One of the main problems of mechanical engineering of that time is the mutual irreplaceability of parts. The fact is that each car was assembled strictly individually and by one master. And the master made all the details of the car himself. Because of this, the features of one car did not fit the other. It was a vast, gigantic problem.

However, Ford did not solve this problem. Its competitor decided it – the company Cadillac (I mean the solution to this problem in the automotive industry, but in general, the suppliers of weapons decided this problem even during the war of the North and the South). It was on Cadillac who was the first to switch to the “one master – one detail” scheme. And then the details became precisely the same. Cars are no longer unique. It solved a massive repair and build quality problem.

Ford also did not invent moving parts from one production site to another. It was developed at Oldsmobile, moving parts in carts between work centers.

And Ford has applied all this in his factory, moving conveyor (as on the farm) and the same parts.

Thus, Ford increased the performance just cosmically, which significantly reduced the price of the car.

Besides, the conveyor ensures the constancy of the flow rate of production. Few people realize, but it is the immutability of the speed of production flow – the main factor for the success of manufacturing. The most important factor, in my opinion.

Where do traffic jams come? As soon as in some place there is a sharp decrease in the flow rate, and then immediately there is a traffic jam. It usually occurs in areas where a narrowing of the road or an obstacle.

What is the main trouble of traffic jams? And the fact that the overall flow rate drops sharply. You can “fly a hundred” to a traffic jam, and then get up and stand. And there are all (orders) and waiting.

Everything is absolutely the same in production. Traffic jams in production cause many problems at once. It and a sharp drop in the rate of “output” of products, this and the growth of work in progress, this and the growth of uncertainty, which leads to the breakdown of terms. This problem perfectly solves the pipeline. However, upon one condition.

Nevertheless, even if the pipeline stops, it stops all parts, and the growth of work in progress does not occur. It is precisely this principle that must be in those areas where the delivery of conveyor is impossible. If there is a problem at some site, it is necessary to take measures immediately to stop the flow. And I know how to do it.

Let us talk about uncertainty. At each production site, a person must clearly understand what he should do now. Which item to process. If there is a pipeline, this problem does not arise, because there is always only one part of your processing. However, if there is no pipeline, then this problem exists. If I have 20 pieces in processing at the same time, then how can I make the right choice? What detail to process now? That is right – no way. The level of uncertainty increases with the number of orders processed simultaneously. I will always handle the wrong part, but the necessary part, unfortunately, lies at the very bottom. A deadline is guaranteed. It is precisely such uncertainty that leads to permanent failure to deliver orders on time.

They achieved the highest total production rate of the plant (full speed, not local. Local is not essential):

With a constant flow rate (therefore, the pipeline is a great invention).

The resource expects details and not vice versa.

Only one resource should not wait for details. It is a bottleneck.

These are the three main rules. Preferably, it is the three laws of production. It is a pity that few people know them.

Ford still stopped the great conveyor (without irony). He quit because at the right time in the right place did not have the right parts. There is a man on the conveyor, which is responsible for installing the bumper, a car pulls up. But there is no bumper. Stop the conveyor. Hence the inconsistency of speed.

Ford has not solved this problem.

Stage number 2. Taiichi Ohno.

However, another great one decided it. It was Taiichi Ohno. It was he from Toyota who made the Toyota, which we all know today. And before him, it was a backward company that was engaged in the production of discontinued models in GM.

He used the Ford conveyor but made sure that he did not stop. For this, he invented the Kanban system.

By the way, the stop of the conveyor at Toyota was never an emergency but was a regular event, even encouraged. And on GM – it was equated with a crisis. This philosophy led to the fact that Toyota began to produce cars an order of magnitude better than GM. Why? – You ask. And everything is simple.

Taiichi Ohno made it possible at each site to stop the conveyor (just with a button). Then he understood the reasons for the stop. For example, because the collector during this time does not have time to fasten the bumper as it should. It was either about to reduce the conveyor`s speed or the issue with the fastening speed. As a result, they squared away the convertor`s pace, and it was equal to the rate with which the slowest part of the conveyor can work (narrow place).

And in GM, the stop of the conveyor is an emergency. For example, I do the fastening of the bumper and do not have time to fasten one of the bolts to the end. I am just afraid to stop the conveyor because I know that this is an emergency.

That is why Toyota just ran away from GM in quality.

And what did it do with the conveyor compared to Ford? How did he make him stop?

Very simply. At each site, there was a stock of components. Let us assume the bumper area. As soon as I screwed the bumper, I immediately request to replenish my fenders with a card (kanban card), and I replenish the stock of my bumpers. At the same time, it steadily reduced the share of my bumpers to a level that allows the conveyor not to stop. Brilliant. Thus, it provided the constancy of speed and non-stop flow.

The only problem is that the stock of components at the site (and in the warehouse) was not automatically regulated, and this is the bottleneck of this system.

It would seem that they invented a perfect production systemwas invented. However, this was far from the case. Firstly, two great geniuses developed a method for mass production, but not order output. Secondly, for the creation of a small number of items.

In the custom production of a large number of items, not all this just worked. Cannot put the conveyor. Almost impossible to use kanban (stocks will grow).

So, a more advanced production system is needed.

Stage number 3. Eliyahu Goldratt.

At the end of the 20th century, the global market structure changed. If at the time of Ford and partly at the time of Ohno the manufacturer dictated terms, then at the end of the 20th century the consumer began to prescribe the conditions. And Ford’s expression about the color of the car (you can get a Ford-T of any color, provided that the color is black) was already irrelevant. The customer wanted the car to be as he wished. With the right color, with the desired transmission, with the necessary upholstery, etc. The era of customized production has come. Moreover, all (or almost all) previous production dogmas were a mess by the market itself.

When producing “customized” before the manufacturer, there is an order of magnitude more problems than during serial production.

Moreover, it is impossible to install a conveyor on many productions at all.

It is one thing when you produce five items, and each has its conveyor. Also, if your terminology is 200 items and the demand is irregular.

Kanban for custom production with a wide range of items directly does not work. Imagine a conveyor belt. An order is received. You drove him away. It is necessary to auto-fillDone. And there is no next order. What to do with remaining components? Nothing. That is why the reserves when used in the custom production of real kanban increase dramatically.

When the company’s terminology is, and production works on order, it all turns into ordinary, commonplace chaos.

The conveyor cannot be applied, and kanban does not work.

However, the ingenious Goldratt came up with a solution.

There should be different production websites for the execution of this pool.  And all this should be not just produced, but produced on time. Head just steep goes. However, procurement and production must work on the same team.

Now try to understand when what and in which sector to do, when and what to buy, so that all orders are in progress on time? However, this is understandable. Make it extremely difficult. However, Goldratt invented it.

First, Goldratt improved kanban. What lies in the box is the stock buffer. Kanban boxes must be replenished strictly following the buffer status. The worse the buffer state, the higher the replenishment. This system saved the logisticians from a headache, which is called “what should I do first of all, what to do then, etc.?” Inventory management in the warehouse works in the same way. In parallel, the buffer monitoring system works, which allows you to adjust the buffer value itself. It is what it was doing by hand when it was determined the size of the stock in a box empirically.

Now, however, logistics always have a clear image before their eyes, which says what to do and in what sequence.

Secondly, Goldratt developed a system that allows you to build a production schedule uniquely. And this system comes from the primary goal – all orders must be completed on time.

Goldratt has developed algorithms that uniquely determine at each site what to do and when. What detail to process in the first place, which in the second, which is the third, etc. That is a precise production schedule. Then, readjustments are superimposed on this schedule and are minimized, provided that there is no violation of the dates.

The traffic controller has no longer rack brains what part of what task to an issue. This question answers the turn of production. However, the traffic controller must know about the constancy of the flow rate and the presence of traffic jams in narrow places. When issuing tasks, the traffic controller should take into account the current loading of the plots and issue tasks so that no traffic jams occur.

I wonder who will be the fourth genius.

About the author

Melisa Marzett has no workplace issues as long as there is an Internet connection. Working as a freelance writer for Essay editor rewriting services at the time, she travels all over the world gaining experience and supplies. Apart from writing and visiting different places, she gets inspiration from good movies, books, articles and handmade.


Melissa Marzett

Working for, Melisa Marzett is looking for more opportunities for writing guest articles. She is curious by nature and is up for writing challenges. You name it, you get it. In addition, she feels like writing books but does not feel as if she is ready for it now.… MORE >

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