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52 SMT Magazine • October 2015 Summary Lean, theory of constraints (ToC), quick re- sponse manufacturing (QRM), cross training, and SPC are powerful, tried and true methodol- ogies for process improvement. However, these tools are rooted in high-volume manufacturing environments and don't always play nice in a high-mix, low-volume (HMLV) operation. The new WORK manufacturing strategy was specifi- cally developed to overcome these shortcom- ings while capitalizing on their strengths. Limitations of the current toolset Lean Lean is a collection of tools and methods designed to eliminate waste, reduce delays, improve performance and reduce costs. Lean focuses on eliminating non-value-added activ- ities, as opposed to more traditional improve- ment efforts, which focus on reducing the time in value-added steps. The problem with lean is that many of the tools work best in a high- volume process that has very little variation in product mix. TOC ToC is a methodology that focuses on re- moving bottlenecks from a process through a series of five steps: 1. Identify the constraint 2. Exploit (improve) the constraint 3. Subordinate (align all activities) 4. Elevate (additional actions) 5. Repeat The problem with ToC is that, by definition, eliminating one bottleneck creates another, and in a high-mix process the bottlenecks can change with the mix. Quick Response Manufacturing Quick response manufacturing (QRM), a cell-based strategy closely related to focus fac- tories that was developed specifically for HMLV, has been gaining popularity over the past few years. The problem with QRM is that it works best when equipment sets from a number of sequential departments can be physically orga- nized into small cells. This becomes problem- FeATure COluMn by Steve Williams THe rigHT aPPrOacH cOnSulTing llc the rIGht APProAch cycle time reduction with WorK, Part I

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