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History of Lean Lean Mfg
       Eli Whitney is most famous for perfection of interchangeable parts. Whitney developed this about 1799 when he took a contract from the U.S. Army for the manufacture of 10,000 muskets at  the unbelievably low price of $13.40 each.
 

For the next 100 years manufacturers primarily concerned themselves with individual technologies. As products moved from one discrete process to the next through the logistics system and within factories, few people concerned themselves with:
       What happened between processes
       How multiple processes were arranged within the factory
       How the chain of processes functioned as a system.
       How each worker went about a task
       This changed in the late 1890's with the work of early Industrial Engineers

Frederick W. Taylor introduced the concept of Scientific Management. The concept of applying science to Management was sound but Taylor simply ignored the behavioral sciences. In addition, he had a peculiar attitude towards factory workers

 
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Frank Gilbreth (Cheaper By The Dozen) added Motion Study and invented Process Charting. Process charts focused attention on all work elements including those non-value added elements which normally occur between the "official" elements. Lillian Gilbreth brought psychology into the mix by studying the motivations of workers  and how attitudes affected the outcome of a process. There were, of course, many other contributors. These were the people who originated the idea of "eliminating waste", a key tenet of JIT and Lean Manufacturing.
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       And then, there was Henry Ford. Starting about 1910, Ford and his right-hand-man, Charles E.Sorensen, fashioned the first comprehensive Manufacturing Strategy. They took all the elements of a manufacturing system--people, machines, tooling, and products--  and arranged  them in a continuous system for manufacturing the Model automobile. Ford was so incredibly successful he quickly became one of the world's richest men and put the world on wheels. Ford is considered by many to be the first practitioner of Just In Time and Lean Manufacturing.

 
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At General Motors, Alfred P. Sloan took a more pragmatic approach. He developed business and manufacturing strategies for managing very large enterprises and dealing with variety. By the mid 1930's General Motors had passed Ford in domination of the automotive market. Yet, many elements of Ford production were sound, even in the new age. Ford methods were a deciding factor in the Allied victory of World War II

       Just In Time and The Toyota Production System

 

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       The Allied victory and the massive quantities of material behind it caught the attention of Japanese industrialists. They studied American production methods with particular attention to Ford practices and the Statistical Quality Control practices of Ishikawa, Edwards Deming, and Joseph Juran. The Toyota Production System (TPS) was developed between 1945 and 1970 and  it is still evolving today.

      

 

 The widening gap between Toyota and other Japanese companies opened the eyes of others in Japan to this thing called the Toyota Production System and it began spreading rapidly in Japan. At Toyota Motor Company, Taichii Ohno and Shigeo Shingo,began to incorporate Ford production and other techniques into an approach called Toyota Production System or Just In Time. They recognized the central role of inventory.

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Shingo, at Ohno's suggestion, went to work on the setup and changeover problem. Reducing setups to minutes and seconds allowed small batches and an almost continuous flow like the original Ford concept. It introduced a flexibility that Henry Ford thought he did not need.Under these conditions, Taiichi Ohno was given the assignment of catching up with American companies in productivity at a time when they were behind by a factor of ten. Ohno drew upon a number of ideas imported from the West and a lot of experimentation to ultimately develop TPS. The Toyota people also recognized that the Ford system had contradictions and shortcomings, particularly with respect to employees. Toyota soon discovered that factory workers had far more to contribute than just muscle power. Ishikawa, Deming, and Juran all made major contributions to the quality movement. All of this took place between about 1949 and 1975.

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       By the 1980's some American manufacturers, such as Omark Industries, General Electric and Kawasaki (Lincoln, Nebraska) were achieving success. The Toyota Production System was developing as the first lean manufacturing system. It started on the shopfloor as a solution to a very real and pressing problem.

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       In 1990 James Womack wrote a book called "The Machine That Changed The World". Womack's book   was a straightforward account of the history of automobile manufacturing combined with a study of   Japanese, American, and European automotive assembly plants. What was new was a phrase-- "Lean Manufacturing. "(coutesy. Strategosinc) Lean has proven to be superior to mass production and contemporary companies face the choice of getting on board or facing extinction. Waste simply cannot be tolerated in today’s competitive global economy.

 
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