There are three specific missions for workshop number one.
The first mission is to describe manufacturing productivity, and to present several mechanisms which will allow improvement in a variety of manufacturing circumstances.
The second mission is to assess the as-is conditions in the client operations.
In particular we will want to identify high priority conditions and high value problems so that future workshops can focus on these elements, and utilize the tools and processes explained in those workshops to improve the issues.
This particular time in history seems to provide manufacturing with some unique twists to issues they routinely experience. The third mission of this workshop and of the program of manufacturing productivity will both recognize current factors that offer challenges and seek options for improvement accordingly.
1. Present a broad review of the subject of productivity
2. Amplify productivity, as to the particular processes and tools which are available for use. Establish that productivity is not just for the production floor, but starts with management and corporate choices and direction, and extends through support functions.
3. Assess current as-is circumstances and conditions which can influence manufacturing productivity through a series of questions and evaluations. Discuss findings of the assessment and suggest the relative priority and value of any issues identified. More narrowly, focus on processes, or tools in the tool belt, which enable manufacturing productivity improvement.
1. Present an outline of productivity, which is defined as output divided by input. Point out that, from this definition, any action, within any function, to increase output or to reduce input will result in increased productivity.
2. Consider factors which, in 2022, affect manufacturing in unique ways. Identify those factors expected to have especial significance for the client.
3. Fill out questionnaires which relate to current aspects of manufacturing productivity in client operations. Understand how these particular manufacturing issues relate to productivity. Mark those that are of high value and priority so we can be sure to address them in the workshops.
1. In advance of this workshop the leader will provide a series of questions to the client. The questionnaire will be designed to assess different factors which typically have an effect on productivity in manufacturing.
2. The client is requested to identify the functional organization which will be responsible for work measurement. It is most practical to have one organization to perform work measurement, to develop rates, to maintain historical files, to distribute approved standards to other departments who would use them in their operations. The leader for this organization would be expected to attend workshops.
3. The client is requested to have its knowledgeable people to fill in the assessment forms in advance, as they will be a major topic of discussion during workshop # 1. As answers are supplied, participants discuss those which may need attention, and set their priority and potential impact.
Welcome to the workshop for Manufacturing Productivity. We appreciate that you have found the time to fit this learning experience into your schedule, and that the company thinks well enough of your talents and capabilities to include you in the participants.
Productivity is a well-established subject in manufacturing of course, and you may well consider yourself well qualified on the subject already. It is a very broad subject, with many aspects, and especially at this time in history it is evolving quickly both in the challenges we face and in the technology we have available to address possible solutions.
This program does not pretend to offer a magic solution, a silver bullet, to deliver productive solutions to every project immediately. What Manufacturing Productivity will do is present a wide variety of processes, both time-tested and quite modern, to identify and accomplish productivity improvement.
If there is any one overriding concept to this program, it is that productivity potential is widespread throughout a manufacturing organization, both in the range of opportunity and in the range of people who can contribute. Direct labor is often the primary or even sole target of productivity improvement; this program will demonstrate that many other options are available and practical as well.
And to accomplish those improvements in the year 2022, which from at this standpoint seems like a challenge in itself, doesn’t it?
Since productivity reaches into all areas of manufacturing, it follows that different organization groups, and people with different responsibilities, will benefit from different processes and tools. The Manufacturing Productivity program is structured to present to all individuals, whatever their function or responsibility, a variety of useful information.
Some history and direction
Manufacturing productivity doesn’t have a long history, going back only to the start of the industrial revolution. The major productivity influences early-on were inventions, the printing press even before the industrial revolution, then mass production, the cotton gin, and devices to bore the barrels of firearms, to name a few which have had a disproportionate influence on civilization.
In the late 1800s, Frederick Taylor used a stopwatch, studied bricklayers, and improved methods. Other early pioneers were Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, who used work measurement but started to consider the other factors of productivity as well.
As mentioned, when discussing productivity many think immediately of direct labor. Well, that was the focus early as Taylor and the Gilbreths specialized in work measurement in manufacturing. Although Taylor called his concept Scientific Management, and Frank Gilbert in 1916 pointed out the value of removing waste from any task. (“Non-value added” is another way to describe waste.) And we all know that removing waste is one of the two pillars of the highly regarded Toyota Productivity System written half a century later. (What is the other pillar? It is respect for humanity. This program does remember that, and practices it,)
But productivity is not just labor. Let’s get technical for a paragraph. Any definition of productivity must define the factor which is productive. And manufacturing certainly has quite a number of factors which influence productivity; labor productivity is one of the primary ones. A comprehensive measure which fits the bill well is called multifactor productivity (MFP), or total factor productivity (TFP). Either is a measure of economic performance which compares the amount of goods and services produced (output) to the amount of combined consumed to produce the goods and services. Labor, capital, energy, materials, and purchased services are inputs, and very complex inputs to be sure.
Since by definition productivity includes a large number of factors, this program will resolve issues other then just what happens on the production floor. We will thoroughly deal with the production floor, rest assured. But since productivity is highly dependent on management decisions and strategy, capital and therefore automation, some sessions will be dedicated to those subjects, offering multiple good options, both modern and golden oldies, for use.
Among all of the possible factors that affect productivity however, direct labor is still a vital element. Labor has a cost of its own, and even if labor cost is not a large percentage, the major function of labor is to operate equipment and processes efficiently and to optimize their capability. So, we will start there, after first assessing the as-is situation.
However, if you seek a program laden with technology or buzz words, this isn’t it. (But all are fully appreciative of the electronic devices now available to measure, control and calculate.) This program, Manufacturing Productivity, zeros in on the heart of manufacturing, namely what happens on the production floor, the warehouse dock, the machine shop site. And many of the processes and techniques that are so very useful on the production floor go back to Taylor, who practiced them over a century ago. Since manufacturing has learned over the years, we will add in those recent factors that have proved effective.
Manufacturing Productivity is composed of a large number of processes, strategies, actions, and analysis which may not have much in common, other than that they have proved to be useful to increase productivity in actual fact. Most of these processes are of a stand-alone variety, in that they do not depend on another process.
Work measurement is basic to labor productivity and is also a technique with which some other processes operate, so work measurement techniques will be the focus in workshop number two.
An essential purpose of the assessment workshop is to identify the value and priority to which the client assigns to an issue or shortcoming, so that a useful process may be selected which will contribute to productivity in a particular area, in sequence.
By the way, work measurement is just as effective in the office, the lab, the maintenance shop, the field, the customer service unit, and the warehouse as it is on a production floor. These processes are transportable, apply them wherever there are repeatable tasks.
While we attend this workshop, we will not forget that we are in the year 2022, and the unique circumstances that this year brings as, hopefully, we are emerging from a pandemic but still face international political uncertainty and interruptions to the supply chain. Today the situation in international trading is a significant concern. There are logistical concerns, due to or at least blamed on, the COVID epidemic; worldwide demand has been affected and individuals are prevented from working; there may be a shortage of oceangoing vessels, or a backup at seaports, individuals may choose to work remotely. There are broader implications too, international tensions and the supply chain imbalances each of which may be short- or longer-term issues.
Typically, in the manufacturing productivity arena, one size does not fit all. In 2022 that admonition seems even more important, so Manufacturing Productivity offers a wide variety of straightforward processes; differentiated and specialized, simple enough to install rapidly. The processes will often be called tools, as in tools in a tool belt.
Workshops will afford theory and practice to implement the processes and observe their benefits. In earlier workshops as we zero in on the workplace, we will present the process of work measurement itself, to equip the practitioners of work process to perform their tasks correctly and objectively. Another workshop will provide a process to remove waste, to find and eliminate non-value added activity. A workshop will address constraints, those factors that holds back productivity. Initially one might think of a physical constraint, a piece of equipment that does not index quickly enough, or a tank that is not large enough, or a shortage of trained labor, or a building that is not sized properly. But also during this constraints workshop, we will get a taste of the broader aspects, procedural or strategic initiatives, that may have an effect on productivity.
Broader aspects of management strategy will also be considered in workshops, relating to the country of origin for component parts or products; relating to facility planning concepts such as when and how to consolidate or to expand. These broader strategic questions do not arise very often, but in 2022 perhaps they have a larger relevance than in a more stable time in history. When these topics are addressed, the process will not be extremely detailed, but broad practices and principles which apply will be presented.
And, on the subject of productivity, we come to the organizational question, just exactly how does all of this productivity effort come together, who does it, on what priority.
Yet again this particular question does not have one simple answer that always applies. It will depend on the organization as to just where this activity is placed, for instance.
An excellent choice is to organize and center productivity in one department, to administer functions which contribute to productivity. There is a later section that addresses the administration, offering insights and essentially a process that you can implement in your own organization to achieve a department whose objective is to administer productivity.
Manufacturing Productivity is a one-year leadership program with monthly workshops that will focus on specific subjects each month. This month, participants will learn concepts that have to do with the broad scope of productivity, just what functions can contribute, and some targeted processes to apply immediately to achieve results on the most urgent and fruitful issues.
The final element of this introduction, and half of it, is the introduction to a key component that runs all the way through this 12 months program and that is work measurement. Work measurement has a value in itself because engineered standards result in fewer man hours then unmeasured work. In addition the work measurement practice of direct observation of a task is the tool routinely used in order to implement other processes in the pursuit of productivity improvement.