The advent of new technologies (the Internet, computerization, etc.) and the impact of globalization (products not only available from every country but being developed in multiple countries) has increased not just the demand for goods and services but also has increased customer requirements and expectations. As such, organizations must be constantly changing to be as economically competitive as possible. This means doing more with less as the organization becomes as “lean” as possible (no fat).
The operations manager must be aware of how and why lean systems are necessary.
To answer the Discussion questions you will need to do additional research using the virtual library and/or Internet.
In order for an organization to do more with less they must examine all facets of the production or service process. To that end address the questions below:
- How does just-in-time (JIT) inventory control help organizations become leaner?
- Where does the information on waste (waste in raw materials, waste in process and flow, etc.) come from?
- Should line employees be involved in making recommendations to improve lean production and processes or should this decision making be left only to management?
STUDENT 1 RESPONSE TO ORIGINAL QUESTION:
Just-in-time inventory refers to the material flow or product flow to ensure it arrives as needed and not ahead of schedule or behind schedule (Russell & Taylor III, 2014). Just-in-time inventory helps to make a company “leaner” by reducing inventory costs and ensuring customers are pleased by keeping stock on hand (Kokemuller, 2015). It costs money when there is too much inventory. The company has already invested money in the product that is now sitting in a “storage” room in the store or factory. The company paid for the product or part, and now it is sitting in a room collecting dust instead of being sold. It also will cost the company in labor because the company needs to pay someone to count the back stock of the product or part come inventory time. Customers generally will not be upset when there is an “overstock” of a product, in fact, they might not even now about the overstock of the product. Having an overstock might not directly affect the customer. However, if there is “no stock” of the product, then the customer might be upset they have to wait for a product they want.
Look at the processes to identify waste or find a computer software program that will work with the company (Business). It is possible for the person or software to find waste in inventory (producing too much), employees waiting on certain things (parts or machines), needless moving items from one place to another (and possibly back again), over processing, inventory (storing, counting insuring etc.), employee movement (by not having what it needed at their stations), and defects (having to complete work over again because it was not done right the first time) (Russell & Taylor III, 2014).
Line employees should be involved in making recommendations to management for changes and improvements to the process. These employees work the job every day and can see where improvements could be made in order to improve the process and make the company leaner. At first, some employees might resist the change because they do not want to be challenged and prefer to stay in their comfort zones, but eventually, employees will see their opinions and ideas are valued (Lean, n.d.). They will be more likely to work harder, work smarter, pass on their ideas, their morale will increase, and most importantly they will feel like a contributing part of the team (Lean, n.d.).
Kokemuller, N. (2015). Advantages & Disadvantages of Just-in-Time Inventory. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-disadvantages-justintime-inventory-21407.html
Russell, R., & Taylor III, B. (2014). Operations and Supply Chain Management (8th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Business Knowledge Source. (2010). What can you do to reduce the amount of waste? Retrieved from http://businessknowledgesource.com/manufacturing/what_can_you_do_to_reduce_the_amount_of_waste_025340.html
Lean-manufacturing-junction.com. (n.d.). Benefits of lean manufacturing – short/long term benefits and challenges explained. Retrieved from http://www.lean-manufacturing-junction.com/benefits-of-lean.html
STUDENT 2 RESPONSE TO ORIGINAL QUESTION:
Just-in-time (JIT) inventory controls helps organizations become leaner because materials and products are only produced as demand requires (Kokemuller, 2014). This helps businesses avoid situation in which inventory is greater than demand leaving businesses to deal with the extra inventory that requires management and storage cost. By using (JIT) producers can maintain a balance of what is being produced and what is being used leaving little or no inventory to deal with which minimizes the risk of taking a loss.
The information on waste come from the part of the analyze process in DMAIC it is there that processes can be discussed and targeted for statistical analysis (Russell, Taylor, 2014). In the analyze phase information is being gathered through somewhat of an investigation whether it be the materials used and the cost associated or the process of producing good and the time associated all of this information along with statistical data can be used to identify waste.
I believe that line employees should be involved in making recommendation to lean process because they are the one the people that are actually operating at that level and may know what really works and what only works in theory and when looking at statistics. Participative decision making can help with innovation which is part of what a lean process is about, it can also help to motivate employees and make them feel like they are a part of a process which creates a better work environment and this should not be underestimated no matter what process is in place (Jensen, 2011).
Jensen, A. (2011). Motivating Employees with Participative Management. Retrieved 01/16/2016 from http://www.andrewjensen.net/motivating-employees-with-participative-management/
Kokemuller, N. (2014). Just in Time Inventory Definition. Retrieved 01/13/2016 from
Russell, R., Taylor, B. (2014). Operations Supply and Chain Management. Retrieved 01/13/2016