Project Overview: Any manufacturing organization is faced with a number of programs which it must implement to be successful. One major program focuses on quantity, and policies must be in place to effectively manage capacity and work in progress. Another major program centers on quality, and policies must be in place to decide what, where, and when to measure, and how to interpret and respond to the resulting data. Supporting both quantity and quality should be an equipment maintenance program. Policies must be developed to decide the most appropriate manner in which to perform preventive and emergency maintenance. And of course, the quantity, quality, and maintenance policies must be cost effective to meet the business goals of the manufacturing organization.
The first difficulty in each of these areas is deciding among the many policies available. To mention but a few - quantity management could employ "Kanban", "Theory of Constraints", or "Hedging Points", while quality management could follow the advice of Deming or Crosby or Juran - and so on. Furthermore, in some specific factory, given its particular resources and goals, a hybrid of standard policies might be most appropriate. The second difficulty for the manufacturing organization is to assure that the policies that it selects - one each for quantity, quality, and maintenance - are synergistic. For example, while policy Q for quantity management looks appropriate and policy M for maintenance seems desirable, Q and M may clash in undesirable ways when mixed in a specific factory.
The ultimate outcome of this project is a tool that would support an orderly solution to both difficulties. Given the particulars of a specific factory, various policies, hybrids, and modifications could be evaluated in isolation for each of the quantity, quality and maintenance, areas, and then combinations of quantity, quality, and maintenance strategies could be assessed for positive and negative interactions. The desired tool would necessarily be easy to use. The target audience would include factory managers and their staff including the quantity, quality, and maintenance managers (and their staffs and technical support). The required tool is not intended primarily for use by universities or corporate research laboratories, although the tool should be of use of research personnel as well. While the tool is aimed at operations, it might also be useful for factory design.
Research Projects: The four research proposals described in the following pages address a few of the basic issues that require resolution before the desired tool can be implemented. While each of the projects has a deliverable, each also facilitates further work on related basic issues.
) Last updated: 3/20/96