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A continuing lean journey: an electronic manufacturer's adopting of Kanban

A continuing lean journey: an electronic manufacturer's adopting of Kanban Purpose – This paper aims to examine the introduction of Kanban production control, at a UK‐based electronic product‐manufacturing operation. Design/methodology/approach – The paper covers key implementation issues, including cultural factors, the reasons behind the adoption of an electronic Kanban system, and explains in detail the working and benefits gained from the changes introduced. Findings – Learning lessons from its previous lean implementation experiences, the company's adoption of Kanban was phased, and the final stage of gradually building up the parts under the control of the electronic Kanban was combined with broad involvement, widespread training and the addressing of cultural issues. This “pull” system has delivered the expected dramatic reductions in lead times and inventory but, having used Kanban to gain increased internal stability, the company is now planning to extend the system externally. Interestingly, to make this work, it will require the replacement of Kanban control in some internal areas of the plant with push control in the form of direct replenishment. Originality/value – The paper clearly shows how effective the progressive introduction of aspects of lean can be in terms of delivering long‐term business benefits. It also confirms the importance of recognizing that even well organized businesses are liable to suffer pain when implementing lean. It is critically important not to blame the new system, but to find the real causes, and this requires understanding and training. Finally, in addition to explaining how the plant's new system operates, and observing some of the finer details of the electronic Kanban system, the paper looks at the interesting planned steps in the system's “evolution”. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Assembly Automation Emerald Publishing

A continuing lean journey: an electronic manufacturer's adopting of Kanban

Assembly Automation , Volume 28 (2): 10 – Apr 18, 2008

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0144-5154
DOI
10.1108/01445150810863662
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to examine the introduction of Kanban production control, at a UK‐based electronic product‐manufacturing operation. Design/methodology/approach – The paper covers key implementation issues, including cultural factors, the reasons behind the adoption of an electronic Kanban system, and explains in detail the working and benefits gained from the changes introduced. Findings – Learning lessons from its previous lean implementation experiences, the company's adoption of Kanban was phased, and the final stage of gradually building up the parts under the control of the electronic Kanban was combined with broad involvement, widespread training and the addressing of cultural issues. This “pull” system has delivered the expected dramatic reductions in lead times and inventory but, having used Kanban to gain increased internal stability, the company is now planning to extend the system externally. Interestingly, to make this work, it will require the replacement of Kanban control in some internal areas of the plant with push control in the form of direct replenishment. Originality/value – The paper clearly shows how effective the progressive introduction of aspects of lean can be in terms of delivering long‐term business benefits. It also confirms the importance of recognizing that even well organized businesses are liable to suffer pain when implementing lean. It is critically important not to blame the new system, but to find the real causes, and this requires understanding and training. Finally, in addition to explaining how the plant's new system operates, and observing some of the finer details of the electronic Kanban system, the paper looks at the interesting planned steps in the system's “evolution”.

Journal

Assembly AutomationEmerald Publishing

Published: Apr 18, 2008

Keywords: Electronics industry; Kanban; Production management; Lean production; United Kingdom

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