A production line is typically associated with continuous or flow production system. Production lines are particularly appropriate for high volume operations. In a production line work is divided into individual tasks and assigned to consecutive workstations on the line. In mass production on progressive assembly line the workload between various machines or workstations should be balanced. The need for balancing the line becomes obvious when it is considered that the output to be received from the line is determined by the maximum time involved in the performance of work at one particular workstation. The imbalances existing in the line would lead to wastage of time at all other work stations when one work station holds up the total output rate. Therefore, it is necessary to level out or balance the cycle times at each workstation.
Line balancing refers to the apportionment of sequential work activities into workstations in order to achieve maximum possible utilization of facilities and to minimize idle time. In case of wholly automated operations, line balancing is largely achieved through engineering design.… Read More »
What is Quality?
Quality has become one of the most important factors of consumers decision in selecting a product among competing products (services). This phenomenon is wide spread regardless of the fact whether the consumer is an individual organisation, retail store, or a military defense programme.
The quality of products / services can be evaluated in several ways. It is important to identify different dimensions of quality Garrin (1987) discusses eight components or dimensions of quality as follows.
- Performance (Will the product do intended job?)
- Reliability (How often does the product fail?)
- Durability (How long does the product last?)
- Serviceability (How easy is it to repair the products?)
- Aesthetics (How the product looks like?)
- Features (What does the product do?)
- Perceived Quality (What is the reputation of the company?)
- Conformance to standards (Is the product made exactly as the design indented?)
Meaning of Quality Control
Quality control means several things:
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- To lay down the desirable norm or standard of quality expected of the article or product or service.
It is now an accepted fact that in today’s fiercely competitive world, individual efforts, however brilliant, cannot be a substitute for teamwork. Modern organizations have to heavily depend on various types of teams to be effective and efficient. Japan is a pioneer in this team concept and has shown the world how an innovative concept like “Quality Circles” draws involvement of employees at all levels in solving work related problems and achieve continuous improvement in every area of work. Japanese organizations give a very large credit to this concept for their undisputed world leadership in quality and productivity.
What is “Quality Circle”?
Quality Circle is a voluntary association of a group of persons working in same or similar type of job at the same work area who meet regularly one hour a week during their normal working time o discuss about their work related problems and arrive at a solution which can be implemented by them without additional cost or at a marginal cost. This group will ideally consists of 8 to 10 members but it should never be less than 5 or more than 15 in number because with less number of sufficient ideas may not come up and more number in depth discussion will not be possible. There is a strict discipline in both formation and working of the group.… Read More »
It seems that the best way to reduce costs in a production system is to produce high volumes of a standard product. However, this view has been challenged by the rise of flexible manufacturing technologies, also called lean production. Flexible manufacturing technologies allow firms to produce a wider variety of product while still achieving the efficiencies of high volume production. Cost efficiencies are achieved by reducing setup times for complex equipment, increasing the utilization of individual machines through better scheduling, and improving quality control at all stages of the manufacturing process.
Mass customization refers to the use of flexible manufacturing technologies to achieve low cost and differentiation through product customization.
One type of flexible manufacturing technology is flexible machine cells, which are groupings of four to six various machines, a materials handler, and a central computer. The machines are computer controlled, allowing each cell to switch quickly between the production of different products. Flexible machine cells allow for improved capacity utilization due to a reduction in setup times and better coordination of production flow between machines. This system reduce work in progress and waste because of the tight coordination between machines and the ability of computer-controlled machinery to identify how to transform inputs into outputs while producing a minimum of unusable waste material.… Read More »
Definition of Total Quality Management (TQM)
Total Quality Management (TQM) is defined by International Organization for Standardization (ISO):
“TQM is a management approach for an organization, centered on quality, based on the participation of all its members and aiming at long-term success through customer satisfaction, and benefits to all members of the organization and to society.”
In Japanese, Total Quality Management (TQM) comprises four process steps, namely:
- Kaizen – Focuses on Continuous Process Improvement, to make processes visible, repeatable and measurable.
- Atarimae Hinshitsu – The idea that things will work as they are supposed to (e.g. a pen will write.).
- KanseiKansei – Examining the way the user applies the product leads to improvement in the product itself.
- Miryokuteki Hinshitsu – The idea that things should have an aesthetic quality which is different from “atarimae hinshitsu” (e.g. a pen will write in a way that is pleasing to the writer.)
Total Quality Management (TQM) requires that the company maintain this quality standard in all aspects of its business.… Read More »
Just-in-Time (JIT) – Introduction
Just-in-Time(JIT) technique tries to ensure that there are no zero inventories, and goods are produced or ordered only when they are needed. Hence the name, Just-in-Time. In actual practice zero inventories may not be possible but the term Just-in-Time states the direction in which lot size should be headed. Just In Time (JIT) is an inventory strategy implemented to improve the return on investment by reducing in-process inventory and its associated costs. The Just-in-Time inventory system is all about having “the right material, at the right time, at the right place, and in the exact amount.”
In the Just-in-Time inventory philosophy there are views with respect to how inventory is looked upon. Inventory is seen as incurring costs instead of adding value, contrary to traditional thinking. Under the philosophy, businesses are encouraged to eliminate inventory that doesn’t add value to the product. This system sees inventory as a sign of sub par management as it is simply there to hide problems within the production system.… Read More »