Iconoclasm of the day: Is lean manufacturing long in the tooth?
— By Mark Halper on March 25, 2014, 7:25 AM PST
It's incorrect to attribute all quality issues to the manufacturing process. Design and testing processes that are incomplete or not rigorously applied are just as often the culprits, so it's simplistic to blame lean. And the larger an organization becomes, with the concomitant increase in product complexity, the harder it is to notice flaws and get that information to the individuals who can best fix the problem.
man learns from mistakes.
even our medicines , and foods rely on trial and error . some becomes a subject of TEST, because testing and building proto types would cost maybe more, than recalling(where they make some profit=thus pays for some recalls ) .
this is the way our technology forwards , sorry for those in the casualty sides .
Every car I've ever owned has had recalls. Until the last few, I doubt they were made in a "lean" factory. So why does it make sense to blame some proportion of recalls on a particular manufacturing process? I assume that you can make it lean and then do either minimal or exhaustive QA... isn't the QA what's going to determine recall rates?
It might be easier to screw up when you're lean, but that doesn't make it certain.
To expect "perfection" is crazy.
To strive toward perfection.. is part of the "human condition"
Lean, JIT, ISO-9000, etc.... are attempts to improve quality,cost effectiveness, etc...
Anyone thinking these processes or methods will produce 100% perfection in products is just fooling themselves.
And using recall counts as a measure of quality is stupid.
At most... recall counts represent the cost of mistakes in this industry.
All this demonstrates a complete lack of knowledge on the subject of "quality". But western society tends to think they understand statistics and measurement methods.
The reality: very very few of us understand these subjects enough to comment on them.
It has been recommend by some top statisticians the to subject of "statistics" be only taught to highest level math majors - because of the rampant mis-use/mis-understandings of the subject in society.
My 3D car works well. What's the problem? Waste destroys the environment, especially as billions of once poor people worldwide have become members of the middle class and are consuming like made in order to enjoy a bit of life before radical Climate Change destroys everything modern.
American intelligentsia has been fascinated with Japanese methods for decades. For the better part of the late '80s and '90s, statist-types insisted that the US should have been emulating Japan's MITI, where a government agency would specifically direct R&D and production policy instead of industry themselves. (Today, we're only emulating their doomed economic and monetary policy, which is working out swimmingly)
In the end, we'll emulate what works and toss what doesn't. Most of Toyota's current problems don't seem to stem so much from "lean manufacturing" than it does poor design, testing, oversight and management. That's hardly the fault of the manufacturing process itself.
Meanwhile, as the Wall Street Journal reports, "The Toyota settlement would "serve as a model for how we treat cases with similarly situated companies," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, though he declined to discuss GM. "Other car companies should not repeat Toyota's mistake."
Looks like they already have, and worse. We'll see how Mr. Holder's "Justice" department handles GM as compared to Toyota.
I don't think Toyota's problems are anything to do with 'lean manufacturing'.. they are self-evidently down to poor QA on components, perhaps (for cost reduction reasons) ordering lower specification than recommended at design/prototype phases, software and in some cases how they are assembled/installed and a parallel lack of testing to death - which would have illustrated these faults earlier.
If you have sub-standard/faulty components, they will be assembled in the same manner as ones that reach specification, or are not faulty.
I submit that it really does not matter what type of system or structure you implement, IF the Q/A process finds issues/trends that are disturbing at best, but the culture of the C-Suite is to ignore or outright cover-up those warnings/findings. There is no system that will work in an atmosphere of bowing to the almighty profit margin, nor lack of moral fortitude.
@ClearCreek I agree with you and Neil. It's about cheapness leading to poor design and quality, but I would consider another factor, resilience. Companies like that have learned about keeping their executives off the same plane and having recovery strategies, but lean is inherently vulnerable to disruption like when the storms in ?Thailand destroyed so many harddrives that PC manufacturers got hurt. Or do you remember when all the capacitors were coming from one maker... and they were all defective? Lean will never be resiliant, perfect systems will fail and lean will fall over.
The constant squeezing of margins is to blame, globalization and the race to the bottom.
"It has been recommend by some top statisticians the to subject of "statistics" be only taught to highest level math majors - because of the rampant mis-use/mis-understandings of the subject in society."
.....for the rest of us, BBC (World Service's) More or Less, and Ben Goldacre's Bad Science protect us, in an affable format. The More or Less PodCast on Bayesian Statistics and searching for missing planes is awesome, and a counter to Tyler's Crowd-sourced search for MH-370 ambulance chasing blog last week. Bad Science is great to debunking and ridiculing rubbish like Homeopathy and other nonsense. I can't recommend either highly enough, to all the challenging and skeptical readers out there.
@Neil Postlethwaite @jrlambert
While I like amusing presentation / alternative perspectives / insightful discussions on what is happening in the world (your links)....
I find it distressing the general population - the same people expected to select (vote) their and my children's future- are unaware of the distinctions between fact and fiction or statical significance, correlations vs causation.
In this case ... the difference between a recall of a product and quality of a product. They are very very different.
One of my favorities? People reading MTBF (mean time between failure) as a predictor of life span of a product.
If applied to a 25 year old human.. it would predict a life span of 800 (or was that 8000?) years! A classic misapplication of a quality metric.
"I find it distressing the general population - the same people expected to select (vote) their and my children's future- are unaware of the distinctions between fact and fiction or statical significance, correlations vs causation. "
If you find this distressing, is your view that it is worse for politicians/businesses/agenda manipulators to be peddling mis-information either by their own ignorance/incompetence, or than when it is done absolutely willfully, with a slight of hand and lots of spin to engender their (largely hidden) end games - whether immigration, benefits, healthcare, education, 'free' trade, fracking, globalisation, global warming, XYZ discriminated rights and numerous other stuff.
The peddling of EV's by SmartPlanet, is a good example.