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Software for Implementing JobshopLean

Essential Foundation for Implementing JobshopLean

Designing a factory that facilitates delay-free material flow in an HMLV facility is the essential foundation for JobshopLean.  Kiyoshi Suzaki, who consulted for Toyota, has devoted an entire chapter (Chapter 4 Developing Flow on the Production Floor) in his book (Suzaki, K. (1988). The new manufacturing challenge: Techniques for continuous improvement.  New York, NY: The Free Press).  Quoting from his book “The importance of factory layout has not been addressed in spite of the significant waste often associated with badly planned layouts.  The impact on a company’s performance from improving the layout can be substantial.  Flow refers to the movement of material through the plant. It assumes that material will not be stagnant at any point in time from the receiving of raw material to the shipping of finished products.  Problems such as a process-oriented layout (Functional Layout), line imbalance, machine breakdowns, long setup or tool-change time, machine breakdown, quality problems, and labor absenteeism cause interruptions that disrupt a steady flow of production in a factory”.  Therefore, any HMLV (high-mix low-volume) manufacturer seeking to implement JobshopLean should invest in re-design of their factoryfrom the ground up in order to achieve Flow.

Software to Design Factory Layouts for Flow

So how does a high-mix low-volume (HMLV) manufacturer, especially a jobshop, go about it doing this? The answer is surely not by using pencil-and-paper methods like Value Stream Mapping and Spaghetti Diagrams!  Here is a sample of software tools that I have found useful to implement different JobshopLean projects:

PROJECT USEFUL SOFTWARE TOOLS
Time and Motion Study
Part Family Formation
  • JMP
  • Minitab
  • PFAST (Production Flow Analysis and Simplification Toolkit)
Factory Layout
Process and System Simulation
Throughput and Inventory Optimization
Finite Capacity Scheduling
Manufacturing Execution Systems

Re-Tooling your ERP System to Support JobshopLean

If an HMLV manufacturer has the appropriate data captured in their ERP system, each of the three major steps to implement Lean in high-mix low-volume (HMLV) environments could be implemented using some of the software tools listed above as follows:

  1. Map the value stream: Part families can be formed using the Cluster Analysis module in any commercial statistical analysis package such as Minitab or JMP. Also, the PFAST (Production Flow Analysis and Simplification Toolkit) can be used for this purpose.
  2. Create flow: A variety of factory layouts and detailed layouts of individual cells can be designed using a combination of PFAST (Production Flow Analysis and Simplification Toolkit), Flow Planner and a process simulation package like SIMCAD.
  3. Establish pull: The controlled release of orders into production subject to finite capacity constraints could be done using FPCSUITE. And, the detailed scheduling and sequencing of orders at individual work centers could be done using a Finite Capacity Scheduler (FCS) like Preactor or Tactic or Schedlyzer.