Currently I am in the process of researching and acquiring prices regarding larger capacity manufacturing equipment for our micro-business. Although, until this morning, I did not know the FACTS about manufacturing for a business our size or TYPE as stated in a great post on Manufacturing.net by Mike Collins titled "Small Manufacturers Aren't Little Versions Of Major Manufacturers" In the piece he lays out a compelling argument that many manufacturing improvement products are made and marketed to larger companies, but bought and implemented by all. Because of this, these particular programs are abandoned due to lack of results and consultants later ca vetch and make excuses--my conclusion--as to why certain companies couldn't implement the system. However, Mike lays out a better, more logical reason to these issues. Laying out the FACTS about manufacturing systems and process for the range of companies in the industry.
I think there may be other explanations as to why many of these process improvement programs fail.
- Management perceives that the cost of implementation exceeds the expectant results.
- Tools and program are viewed as too complex and requiring extraordinary amounts of indirect labor hours.
- The manufacturer is told they must swallow the whole banana bunch (continuous improvement program) to achieve results rather then get incremental results.
- Smaller manufacturers are told they can use the same program used by Toyota or Caterpillar, no matter what shape their systems or resources are in.
To better understand why many manufacturers back away from these programs you must first understand that manufacturing companies in the U.S. are not a homogeneous group. From more than 30 years of working with manufacturing companies of all sizes, I suggest that there are at least four distinctly different types, and there are logarithmic differences between these types, in terms of resources, knowledge, experience, staff, and the where-with-all to deal with change....Keep Reading
Mike later mentions particular FACTS about manufacturing for companies smaller in size, something I had never heard before and it fits our company to a T.
The second point is that all small and midsize manufacturers are restricted by resource limitations. "FACTS" is an acronym that best characterizes the reality of the small manufacturing environment, described as:
F - Fear of making a wrong decision
A - Limited Access to capital.
C - Cash flow problems
T - Time constraints
S - Small or no Staff.
Going forward, as I look into what manufacturing system will fit us best, I will remember the FACTS about manufacturing systems and implementation. The last thing I want to do is make my company machine poor, investing too much in something that will eventually bankrupt us as opposed to helping increase production, customers and cash flow.