Larry Fast defines manufacturing excellence as ‘when a company and its factories are competitive in the global markets they wish to serve’. Author of the best seller ‘The 12 Principles of Manufacturing Excellence’, Fast has over 40 years experience within the manufacturing industry.
We’ve outlined the first 6 principles and just how you can fast track your business to its optimal potential.
Principle 1 – Safety
Fast describes safety as the ‘cornerstone of high-performance’. Underpinning any successful manufacturing company are efficient safety procedures, which include training programs and constant awareness. Safety must be the absolute first priority for every business to reduce incident rates, increase performance and create efficient employee standards.
Principle 2 – Good Housekeeping and Organisation
Expected at ‘all times’, Fast explains good housekeeping and organisation allow a business to actually sustain their improved performance. Critical for businesses is their ability to establish the attention to detail and persistence necessary to achieve excellence.
Principle 3 – Authorised Formal Systems
Many manufacturing businesses have key operating systems filed in uncontrolled documents, such as Excel spreadsheets. Uncontrolled documents are prone to being lost, not updated and most importantly, cannot communicate key information with other databases. Inaccurate data can result in poor decision making and negative customer experiences. Businesses must therefore enforce authorised formal systems to ensure the integrity of important data is upheld at all times.
Principle 4 – Preventive/Predictive Maintenance
Effective machinery maintenance results in reliable equipment and ultimately, successful manufacturing. As opposed to preventative services, fixing machinery once it’s broken down is incredibly timely and costly. In order to improve your processes whilst avoiding poor customer service and shareholder disappointment, Fast suggests routinely scheduling equipment and facility maintenance.
Principle 5 – Process Capability
Fast explains it’s unacceptable for a machine operator, supervisor and especially an engineer to accept unpredictability of final products. If you’ve found yourself in this situation it is your responsibility to ask ‘What is the process capability of the processes and materials used to produce that product?’. Ensuring process capability is measured on all key processes will result in predictable outcomes on quality, cost and service.
Principle 6 – Product Quality
This brings us to the final principle for this month; product quality. Although Fast accepts it is not reasonable to expect perfect quality, he believes all manufacturers should have the goal of zero escapes of a poor quality product to an external customer or next operation.