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Guide to Modern Manufacturing Methods – Guest Post

Date posted: July 16, 2010

The following is a guest post by Stephen Jannise, ERP market manager for Software Advice:

Software Advice, a website with reviews of manufacturing software, recently put together a “plain English guide” to modern manufacturing methods. If you follow industry blogs, you know that articles and conversations about these concepts can be daunting, especially considering how often we use jargon, lingo, and all those three-letter acronyms. What this guide seeks to do is go back to the basics and focus on the three major goals of modern manufacturing:

  • Reduce Waste
  • Maintain Quality
  • Accelerate Production

By exploring these goals, we can take a closer look at some of the key strategies used to achieve them. For example, the desire to reduce waste ultimately led to the adoption of lean management strategies, which gave rise to ideas like Just-in-Time. For those of us involved with the industry, JIT has become a common phrase, but anyone approaching our blogs or company meetings for the first time may get left out in the cold.

As if lean manufacturing wasn’t complicated enough, other strategies have emerged in response to the constant changes in global manufacturing. Concepts like Six Sigma and flexible manufacturing, though they may be a second language to some, have a complex history and a wealth of corresponding terms that may need to be explained to newcomers in plain English.

In fact, many people aren’t even aware of how much modern manufacturing has changed since the Ford assembly line. The shift from an often wasteful and inefficient form of mass production to lean management’s emphasis on eliminating oversupply and improving production flow is both a major sea change in the industry and the first important topic to grasp when learning about manufacturing. Only by understanding the basics of lean, Six Sigma, and flexibility can you truly participate in the ongoing conversation about modern manufacturing.