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Operations and Quality Improvement Strategies - Coursework Example

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Operations and Quality Improvement Strategies

Organizations can apply a set of skills and tools to reduce operational cost, increase efficiency and productivity, and improve the quality of their processes, products and services. 1. Lean Manufacturing. Critically discuss the differences, using examples, between the Lean and Mass (Traditional) Production strategies. A. Rationale: Lean Manufacturing, a Japanese philosophy, gained attention at the beginning of the 1980’s when the western leaders could not stop wondering the inimitable industrial advances and permanent employment of the Japanese businesses (A to Z Management Concepts and Models 2007). It has been described as “the most fundamental change to occur since mass production was brought to full development by Henry Ford early in the 20th century” (Hindle 2008). Lean manufacturing has been established as one of the crucial factors for Japanese success. There are two basic concepts that are involved here: making the management work to give lower cost per unit produced which directly enhances productivity, secondly, striving for continuous improvement (kaizen). Workers are expected and encouraged to adopt a new approach to their work and reap the benefit of it (A to Z Management Concepts and Models 2007). Generally, in lean production systems employees are organized in teams and each worker must be able to do all the tasks required of the team. “These tasks are less narrowly specialised than those demanded of the worker in a mass-production system, and this variety enables the worker to escape from the soul-destroying repetition of the pure assembly line” (Hindle 2008) B. Evolution: In 1776, Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations described that mass production is based on the principles of specialization and division of labour. To design products and to set up production systems highly skilled labours are used whereas to produce standardized components and assemble them the labours used are highly unskilled. The latter are disposable and can be laid off depending on the situation. In mass production, parts used are often manufactured elsewhere and then put together on a moving production facility called assembly line. “The result is a standardized product made in a fairly small number of varieties, produced at low cost and of mediocre quality.” If a problem needs to be corrected at any point in an assembly line the entire process stops (Hindle 2008). Lean production system requires the components to be delivered just-in-time and each worker is allowed to stop production when a fault is discovered. This is the basic difference from classic assembly line process where stoppages are expensive and should be avoided at all costs. With a mass production system the worker learn nothing because all the faulty products are put aside to be dealt with later. They are replaced immediately, from the large stock of spares, without causing any hold-ups. In case of lean production, problems are immediately resolved when a stoppage occurs and gradually this diminishes the number of stoppages. Eventually, a mature lean-production line stops a much lesser number of times than a mature mass-production assembly line (A to Z Management Concepts and Models 2007). Yet another advantage of lean production is that designers, workers and suppliers work hand-in-hand with production which never happens in a mass-production system. A separate team of insiders or specialists participate in designing which ...Show more


Operations and Quality Improvement Strategies Operations management (OM) has been a very important factor in the improvement in productivity in business across the world. By improving operations, businesses can increase effectiveness thereby leading to increased profitability and at the same time establishing a competitive edge…
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