When David Taylor started to talk about getting leaner he made it clear that his subject was nothing to do with slimming but rather instigating efficient production systems in manufacturing. He used Henry Ford as an example of flow production when he produced the model ’T’ Ford . If he was producing 1000 cars a day he would produce 1000 axles per day and 1000 body panels. In other words just enough components were manufactured for the right number of cars and there was no waste. However when different models of cars were introduced it was necessary to have various departments making parts to stock. Larger and more expensive machines were created to do the work. These had to be kept running to justify their existence. Parts and components were made to stock rather than to order. The mass production system started to replace the flow system and inefficiency began to creep in. Production times, waste, and errors all went up, whilst customer satisfaction went down. The flowchart of work going through a factory took on the appearance of spaghetti.
Around 1947 Sakichi Toyoda decided to manufacture cars but they had to be better than what was being produced at the time, and so they sent an engineer by the name of Taiichi Ohno to study the Ford manufacturing system. He identified large areas of inefficiency or waste in the manufacturing process.
- Waste of over production (largest waste)
- Waste of time on hand (waiting)
- Waste of transportation
- Waste of processing itself
- Waste of stock at hand
- Waste of movement
- Waste of making defective products
They started to develop the Toyota Way aimed at reducing all 7 above in favour of more value added work. This became the principle of ‘just in time’ and ‘lean management’ systems.
David Taylor has worked at Cardiff University on many projects with various companies, introducing the lean management system across a broad spectrum of activities. These include the NHS, a pork meat factory, and a charity in India reuniting run away boys with their families again. He showed what savings could be achieved by getting the workforce within a company, involved in planning and waste management. Apart from reducing waste and increasing productivity the ‘lean management’ system increases the moral within an organization, and increases customer satisfaction.