April 17, 2017

No Waste Philosophy - Industrial Engineering and Work Simplification for Top Managers

Waste of Natural Resources and Human Resources

There is waste of natural resources. There is waste of human resource as well. F.W. Taylor in his 1911 essay, Scientific Management pointed out that waste of human resource is not being noticed while the attention is on natural resources.  Elimination of waste in the manufacturing process is the focus of attention in the important essays of F.W. Taylor - Shop Management and Scientific Management. Elimination of waste as a theme was promoted by Frank Gilbreth, Harrington Emerson and Alan Mogensen.

Industrial Engineering

Industrial Engineering was started in the mechanical engineering department of Penn State University as a specialisation within mechanical engineering in 1908. F.W, Taylor's book 'Shop Management' was the driver for starting of industrial engineering. The discipline has grown over the years and today, world over large number of universities have industrial engineering departments. The focus of industrial engineering is efficiency or productivity or waste elimination.

Work Simplification

Work simplification was advocated by Alan Mogensen wherein he highlighted that operators and supervisors also have an important role to play increasing productivity through process improvement. The suggestions for process improvement come from the experience of operators for long periods with a process. They are effective and have to be solicited and incorporated into the processes to take advantage of the knowledge and creativity of the large number of operators of the concern. The bottom up productivity improvement and waste elimination activity using work simplification is in addition to design based or industrial engineer based top down improvement of activities to eliminate waste and improve productivity.

Japanese Innovations in Industrial Engineering, Productivity Improvement and Cost Reduction

The waste elimination philosophy was implemented with creativity and innovation by Japanese people. Taiichi Ohno perfected the system in Toyota Motors and made it  world's top automobile company. The efficiency improvements made by the Toyota company is now being implemented all over the world under the name of lean manufacturing. It is the waste elimination philosophy and innovations in industrial engineering philosophy and principles.

Principles of Industrial Engineering

Prof. Narayana Rao, NITIE, Mumbai, India proposed the following basic principles of industrial engineering.

1. Develop science for each element of a man - machine system's work related to efficiency and productivity.
2. Engineer methods, processes and operations to use the laws related to the work of machines, man, materials and other resources.
3. Select or assign workmen based on predefined aptitudes for various types of man - machine work.
4. Train workmen, supervisors, and engineers in the new methods, install various modifications related to the machines that include productivity improvement devices and ensure that the expected productivity is realized.
5. Incorporate suggestions of operators, supervisors and engineers in the methods redesign on a continuous basis.
6. Plan and manage productivity at system level.
(The principles were developed on 4 June 2016 at Kakinada). The principles were developed by Narayana Rao based on principles of scientific management by F.W. Taylor)

Excerpts from Shop Management of Taylor - Relevant for Top Management

Definition of Management 

The art of management has been defined, "as knowing exactly what you want men to do, and then seeing that they do it in the best and cheapest way.'"

What the workmen want from their employers beyond anything else is high wages, and what employers want from their workmen most of all is a low labor cost of manufacture.

These two conditions are not diametrically opposed to one another as would appear at first glance. On the contrary, they can be made to go together in all classes of work, without exception

The general principles which render it possible to maintain these conditions even under the most trying circumstances, and  the various steps to be taken in changing from a poor system to a better type of management are explained by the author (F.W. Taylor).

The possibility of coupling high wages with a low labor cost rests mainly upon the enormous difference between the amount of work which a first-class man can do under scientifically designed productive task system and the work which is actually done by the average man in the factories currently (1906).

 Investment for Increasing Productivity or Efficiency

Before starting to make any changes in the organization of a company the following matters should be carefully considered: First, the importance of choosing the general type of management best suited to the particular case. Second, that in all cases money must be spent, and in many cases a great deal of money, before the changes are completed which result in lowering cost. Third, that it takes time to reach any result worth aiming at. Fourth, the importance of making changes in their proper order, and that unless the right steps are taken, and taken in their proper sequence, there is great danger from deterioration in the quality of the output and from serious troubles with the workmen, often
resulting in strikes.

It is not at all generally realized that whatever system may be used, --providing a business is complex in its nature--the building up of an efficient organization is necessarily slow and sometimes very expensive.

Almost all of the directors of manufacturing companies appreciate the economy of a thoroughly modern, up-to-date, and efficient plant, and are willing to pay for it. Very few of them, however, realize that the best organization, whatever its cost may be, is in many cases even more important than the plant; nor do they clearly realize that no kind of an efficient organization can be built up without spending money. The spending of money for good machinery appeals to them because they can see machines after they are bought; but putting money into anything so invisible, intangible, and to the average man so indefinite, as an organization seems almost like throwing it away.

 The General Principles:

(a) A LARGE (specified) DAILY TASK. --Each man in the establishment, high or low, should daily have a clearly defined task laid out before him. This task should not in the least degree be vague nor indefinite, but should be circumscribed carefully and completely, and should not be easy to accomplish (unless the operator works for the full allotted time with adequate speed).

(b) STANDARD CONDITIONS. --Each man's task should call for a full day's work, and at the same time the workman should be given such standardized conditions and appliances as will enable him to accomplish his task with certainty.

(c) HIGH PAY FOR SUCCESS (in completing the task). -- He should be sure of large pay when he accomplishes his task.

(d) LOSS IN CASE OF FAILURE (to complete the task). --When he fails he should be sure that sooner or later he will be the loser by it (because of low wages).

Role of Top Management in Managing Change to High Productive Shop

Before starting to make any radical changes leading toward an improvement in the system of management, it is desirable, and for ultimate success in most cases necessary, that the directors and the important owners of an enterprise shall be made to understand, at least in a general way, what is involved in the change. They should be informed of the leading objects which the new system aims at, such, for instance, as rendering mutual the interests of employer and employee through "high wages and low labor cost," the gradual selection and development of a body of first class picked workmen who will work extra hard and receive extra high wages and be dealt with individually instead of in masses.

They should thoroughly understand that this can only be accomplished through the adoption of precise and exact methods, and having each smallest detail, both as to methods and appliances, carefully selected so as to be the best of its kind. They should understand the general philosophy of the system and should see that, as a whole, the system to be introduced must be in harmony with its few leading ideas,

They should be shown that it pays to employ an especial corps to introduce a new system just as it pays to employ especial designers and workmen to build a new plant; that, while a new system is being introduced, almost twice the number of foremen are required as are needed to run it after it is in; that all of this costs money, but that, unlike a new plant, returns begin to come in almost from the start from improved methods and appliances as they are introduced, and that in most cases the new system more than pays for itself as it goes along; that time, and a great deal of time, is involved in a radical change in management, and that in the case of a large works if they are incapable of looking ahead and patiently waiting for from two to four years, they had better leave things just as they are, since a change of system involves a change in the ideas, point of view and habits of many men with strong convictions and prejudices, and that this can only be brought about slowly and chiefly through a series of object lessons, each of which takes time, and through continued reasoning; and that for this reason, after deciding to adopt a given type, the necessary steps should be taken as fast as possible, one after another, for its introduction. The directors should be convinced that an increase m the proportion of non-producers to producers means increased economy and not red tape, providing the non-producers are kept busy at their respective functions.

They should be prepared to lose some of their valuable men who cannot stand the change and also for the continued indignant protest of many of their old and trusted employees who can see nothing but extravagance in the new ways and ruin ahead.

Top Management Challenges

This article is part of #AtoZChallenge 2017 for Blogging Posts. My Theme for the Challenge is Top Management Challenges - Full List of Articles  http://nraomtr.blogspot.com/2016/12/a-to-z-2017-blogging-challenge-top.html

To Know More About A to Z Blogging Challenge

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