All entries for Monday 18 November 2013

November 18, 2013

I can't make planes

After today's class I think it is fair to say, that I cannot make aeroplane parts. Having spent today's class mimicing a production line that manufactures planes (using Meccano), we learnt about how many factors can affect a process, and how that can cause delays, error, defects, and lead to the product not conforming to customer specification. I operated the process at the very end of the production line, and instantly learned of a whole host of problems that can occur.

Firstly, there was a lot of waste whilst I was waiting for the plane to reach me for me to finish the plane and add my parts to it. Secondly, manaufacturing errors that were only later determined meant that I was swamped by around three planes all at once, making it impossible for me to manufacture the planes at the required rate (of one plane per three and a half minutes) and made it extremely difficult for me to catch up from the backlogue. This detrimented the quality of what I was doing, as I chose to rush my work to try and catch up, rather than spend the full length of time I would otherwise have done to create a high quality, zero defects product.

This practical experiement has opened up my eyes to the dependence of processes within a system. Whether it is manufacturing an item, like in today's class, or working in a department on an organisation, the need for a successful system, with open communication between partners, accountability, flexibility and mutual understanding and support for one another is of key importance. If this occurs, a product that meets or exceeds the customers expectations could be reached.

How Process Improvement Programmes can help achieve this was then explored. The practical use of DMAIC highlighted how important it is to understand a process, and that it needs to be analysed in order to understand why the results experienced occured, and how they can be remedied or controlled to achieve a desireable outcome in the future.

November 2013

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