World Class Manufacturing is a different set of concepts, principles, policies and techniques for managing and operating a manufacturing company. It is driven by the results achieved by the Japanese manufacturing resurgence following World War II, and adapts many of the ideas used by the Japanese in automotive, electronics and steel companies to gain a competitive edge. It primarily focuses on continual improvement in quality, cost, lead time, flexibility and customer service.
World Class Manufacturing is a process-driven approach where implementations usually involve the following philosophies and techniques:
Companies engaging in World Class Manufacturing strategies focus on improving operations, strive to eliminate waste and create lean organizations. This often results in higher productivity. But these companies also focus on speed of total throughput from order capture through delivery setting new standards for delivery without the heavy dependence on inventory.
The WCM system is made up of ten technical- and ten managerial pillars, illustrated as a temple (see below). The ten technical pillars are as follows:
The benefits of becoming certified are numerous: companies should ensure that they are pursuing certification for the right reasons:
The Cost Deployment pillar is of particular interest because it differs from the typical XPS (see this post to learn what is “typical”). Cost Deployment is a seven-step accounting technique for assigning actual costs to each loss and waste that happens in a factory. This way, the prioritization of which loss to attack first can be made with economical reasoning. An additional advantage of Cost Deployment is that all improvement work in the organization is assigned an equivalent saving potential. This motivates further improvements, and is the best argument for convincing remaining skeptics and cynics. To do proper Cost Deployment you need to team up persons from accounting, finance and operations.
Another key characteristic of the WCM concept, is that change always starts with a model area. The model areas are pilots for the implementation of the principles. For example, the plant typically chooses the worst performing machine as a model machine for the Autonomous Maintenance pillar. Through a dedicated project, using WCM tools and techniques, this model machine is “brought back to basic condition” and made the best performing machine in the plant. The learning points and good practices are thereafter shared with the rest of the plant. This is however a challenging way to implement an XPS; you risk making “islands of excellence” that do little good for the overall performance of the plant. I guess that’s where cost deployment comes in again and ensures that practices are spread.