How do companies in high labor cost countries manage to remain competitive?
In western manufacturing, the more manual a process, the more severe the competitive handicap of high wages. Full automation would make labor costs irrelevant but remain impractical in most industries. Most successful manufacturing processes in advanced economies are neither fully manual nor fully automatic -- they involve interactions between small numbers of highly skilled people and machines that account for the bulk of the manufacturing costs and thereby remain competitive.
In Working with Machines: The Nuts and Bolts of Lean Operations With Jidoka, author Michel Baudin explains how performance differences that can be observed from one factory to the next are due to the way people use the machines -- from the human interfaces of individual machines to the linking of machines into cells, the management of monuments and common services, automation, maintenance, and production control.
I have found this book very informative on the management of machines. It includes many new ideas and approaches on the management of machine engineering…. it is easy to read and… it will help many readers understand how to incorporate the roles of machines into modern-day management.
-Masakki Imai, Founder, Kaizen Institute
A guided tour
Part I: Human-Machine interfaces
Chapter 1: Using machine controls
Chapter 2: Performing operations on machines
Chapter 3: Understanding the process
Chapter 4: Programming machines
Part II: Machine cells
Chapter 5: Cellular manufacturing with machines
Chapter 6: Design and implementation of a machine cell
Chapter 7: From operator job design to task assignment
Chapter 8: Cell automation and chaku-chaku line
Chapter 9: Grouping cells into focuses factories
Part III: Common services and monuments
Chapter 10: Working with monuments
Chapter 11: Setup time reduction
Part IV: Automation
Chapter 12: The lean approach to automation
Chapter 13: Improving legacy automated systems
Part V: Machine maintenance
Chapter 14: Machine and facilities maintenance
Chapter 15: Improving maintenance
Chapter 16: Maintenance information systems
Chapter 17: Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
Where should you go from here?