Manufacturing organizations are built on the premise that they possess the ability to provide a wide variety of quality products for their customers. This reputation is dependent upon the constant review of existing processes and the identification of new and innovative methods of production that will enhance and increase the diversification of product lines. One such process that has proven itself as a valuable commodity in recent decades is World Class Manufacturing. This process involves a number of complex steps encompassing a variety of business units that are subject to continuous review and improvement. This process is designed to maximize employee productivity at all levels of the organization, from the assembly line to executive management. A successful World Class Manufacturing strategy will provide the organization with numerous opportunities for growth and will enable a successful transition to unique and innovative production methods.
Businesses face constant pressure from their customers to reduce pricing as a result of highly competitive market conditions in a globally aggressive environment. Failure to repeatedly reduce costs could ultimately lead to the loss of future profitability and the demise of the firm. It is often puzzling for firms of all sizes to identify ways to reduce costs on a continuous basis to simultaneously sustain productivity and improve profitability. As a result, many organizations are left behind since they do not possess the appropriate resources and knowledge to successfully promote their business strengths. Subsequently, the failure to implement a strategy for business growth with intensity and clarity will lead to a premature demise. Businesses must take a proactive approach in the development of innovative strategies, but the means by which such lofty objectives are achieved are often bewildering and are limited by available resources, particularly in manufacturing environments.
This study will identify the primary steps that are necessary to implement a World Class Manufacturing strategy in an organization. The research will not concentrate on one specific industry or business size. Rather, to maintain a well-rounded approach, businesses small, medium and large will be evaluated and the appropriate strategies for implementation will be discussed. The researcher possesses extensive training and in-house experience with the entire process of World Class Manufacturing, including the Seven Key Elements, which will be discussed in detail in the body of this dissertation.
In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the World Class Manufacturing strategy in various businesses, a feasibility study will be conducted by utilizing a simple survey instrument that will be distributed to manufacturing organizations across the New England States. Identification of the appropriate businesses to which surveys should be disseminated will be determined by the researcher through the independent study of the manufacturing sector in this geographic area. The researcher will identify one hundred manufacturing organizations that produce a variety of products, and these will serve as the initial study participants. Surveys will be sent to the Chief Operating Officer or a person in a similar position within a given firm. After the initial surveys have been completed and returned, the researcher will select the top fifty responses based upon a predetermined set of criteria. These fifty organizations will then be provided with a more comprehensive survey that describes their organizations and their exposure to World Class Manufacturing in greater detail. The research will permit the author to identify the most critical needs and concerns related to the process and its recognition throughout the manufacturing community. The results will isolate the most important characteristics of World Class Manufacturing that must be in place in order for the process to revolutionize a specific organization as well as other similar and diverse organizations. These characteristics will improve upon the existing World Class Manufacturing model that can be implemented in a variety of organizations of all sizes and product segments.
Seven key elements have been identified as essential components that are required to implement a World Class Manufacturing Strategy. These include leadership, empowerment, product cell layout, material requirements planning, just in time, total quality management, and standardization. These must be implemented in the order listed to initiate a successful transition. This process was developed and refined over a five to seven-year period by a Management team at Pratt & Whitney and was initially led by Edward W. Northern. A visual presentation will be included as an appendix that provides a detailed overview of the World Class Manufacturing process as it has been successfully implemented in a number of organizations across the world.
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
Purpose of the Study
Importance of the Study
Scope of the Study
Rationale of the Study
Definition of Terms
Overview of the Study
CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Origin and description of World Class Manufacturing
Product Flow - Just in Time
Total Quality Management
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY
Data Gathering Method
Database of Study
Validity of Data
Originality & Limitations of Data
Intense global competition has forced businesses of all sizes to depend on significant restructuring strategies in order to restore confidence in their complex customer bases. This is typically satisfied by frequently reducing prices in a prompt and unsettling fashion, as business managers are eager to please their clients in order to maintain stability, profitability and market share. As a result of such behaviors, organizations are wreaking havoc on their internal organizational structures, particularly in the manufacturing sector, which results in a loss of productivity and financial growth. In such instances, the downfall of once thriving ventures is the ultimate reality, particularly if these behaviors and actions are not agreed upon and willingly accepted throughout all levels of the organization.
Specifically, manufacturing organizations are greatly suffering from the effects of this intensity in competition across the world. Many firms have taken active steps to modify their internal processes to enhance their productivity and prosperity, but others do not possess the resources or the internal knowledge to accommodate such sweeping changes. Therefore, these organizations are left behind to endure sales and morale deterioration and to fall prey to organizations that are ahead of the game. Organizations that are falling behind the competition may serve as potential candidates for the revolutionary process of World Class Manufacturing, but this can only be determined based upon extensive research of various manufacturing organizations and their knowledge and experience with this process.
Purpose of the Study
The proposed study, at its conclusion, will identify the key factors that are required to implement a successful World Class Manufacturing strategy in organizations of all sizes and sectors. It is anticipated that this research will serve as a basic model for organizations to begin individualized efforts to implement similar strategies in their own firms. Although the research study will be conducted in the New England States, primarily as a result of time constraints, it is anticipated that the results and proposed model will be applicable in organizations worldwide.
Importance of the Study research study of this magnitude and scope is extremely significant for a number of reasons. Primarily, countless small and large-scale manufacturers in the United States have long endured a drought in profitability of immense proportions. The ability to demonstrate that the concepts presented in World Class Manufacturing are vital components of the rejuvenation of production lines and consumer confidence is critical to future sustainability. Furthermore, a lengthy discussion of leadership characteristics and related critical elements will lead to the conclusion that strong leaders are indispensable in organizations of all sizes and sectors. However, their development phase is often lengthy and arduous, establishing the reality that quality leadership is not instantaneous and must be nurtured through a significant amount of coaching and skill development. It is only when quality leadership is in place that supports the World Class Manufacturing strategy can the real work begin and the support of the remaining members of the organization can be secured.
Scope of the Study
The potential outcomes of the study will be dependent upon extensive knowledge of primary and secondary sources as well as the real life experiences of the researcher. The researcher possesses extensive knowledge of the implementation of World Class Manufacturing, and his prior work experience at Pratt & Whitney's Turbine Airfoils Product Center in North Haven will be discussed throughout the remainder of the study to support the proposed research. Other primary resources that provide information regarding detailed manufacturing process improvements include a number of professional journal articles as well as novels by Kiyoshi Suzaki entitled The New Manufacturing Challenge: Techniques for Process Improvement, and World Class Manufacturing: The Lessons of Simplicity Learned by Richard J. Schonberger, both of which provide functional explanations concerning the significance of World Class Manufacturing in the evolution of manufacturing processes. Secondary resources include novels and book summaries that discuss the concept and importance of leadership and team building skills in the progression of manufacturing environments in lengthy detail. The concepts introduced in…