Manufacturing Made Simple

In their book, All I Need to Know About Manufacturing I Learned in Joe’s Garage: World Class Manufacturing Made Simple, William B. Miller and Vicki L. Schenk lay out the basic principles of low cost, high quality, on-time manufacturing. The book is a quick read and a nice reminder of the importance of keeping any and every process as simple, fast, and intuitive as possible.

Ten Commandments of Manufacturing Excellence

  1. Pull production stingily through the factory pipeline instead of mindlessly pushing material and labor into it.
  2. Build and ship rapidly to improve manufacturing productivity, rather than storing and moving inventory.
    • “A fool and his inventory are never parted.”
  3. Squeeze time out of the cycle from order receipt through shipment by eliminating redundant tasks and tasks that do not contribute directly to output or quality.
  4. Improve product design to enhance manufacturability and provide increased functionality and reliability to the customer.
  5. Reduce per unit consumption of purchased material and supplies
  6. Refine the production process to promote simplicity and decrease resource consumption
  7. Identify and eliminate manufacturing errors at point of commission
  8. Simplify information and control systems; integrate them efficiently with design and production
  9. Cooperate and coordinate with suppliers and service providers to share knowledge and increase joint effectiveness.
  10. Strive continually for incremental improvements in all activities involved with design and delivery of the product to the customer.

Implementing These Commandments

  • Get started today
    • Progress requires change; if you never change; you will never progress
    • A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
  • Focus on what is most important
    • The wise do only what needs to be done
    • The finest carver does the least cutting
    • Moving fast is not the same as going somewhere
  • Do the hard things first in order to make things easy
    • The easiest way at first seems hard
    • There’s never time to do a job right, but there’s always time to do it over
  • Keep things simple
    • Complexity and success go together like oil and water
    • The tranquil is master of the turbulent.
  • Keep things clean and intuitive
    • Eliminate everything not required for the work being performed
    • Efficient placement and arrangement of equipment and material
    • Tidiness and cleanliness
    • Ongoing, standardized, continually improving
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About David Shedd

David has been a President - CEO - COO of an up to $350M group of manufacturing, distribution, specialty retail and services companies, having led 22 different businesses from turnarounds to start-ups to fast growth companies.
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