Lead-Time Reduction in Manufacturing - from Initiation to Realisation
This work deals with reduction of lead-time in manufacturing. The overall research problem focuses on how to ensure high efficiency in this process, and the research area includes how the reduction process is managed. The aim of the work is to increase the knowledge of planned changes and, in line with this, to increase knowledge about basic conditions for change, so that reductions can be better controlled.
The work is based on six papers, each concentrating on one part of the process. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are used. The papers imply that reduction of lead-time is a complex process in which many conditions and factors interact, influencing the results. Even though the process can be described as a limited number of steps, this does not mean that it is simple to control. In each step, there are several issues to consider.
The results also imply that companies who do not improve their lead-time performance significantly, will be less competitive. Small improvements are not enough, since other companies are making great progress. There are different types of forces, which are not the same in the beginning of as during the process. This means that control has to be active and flexible with continuous analysis. A company which isnot aware of this transformation of driving forces will be unable to promote the right forces as well as to direct resources and power towards the right restraining forces or obstacles.
Goal setting can be managed differently, but an active approach has proved to yield good results. Motivation influences the magnitude of the goals, which implies that striving towards high goals is difficult without motivation.
The implementation can be categorised by different approaches. Broad approaches combining demands for co-ordination and commitment have proved to be successful. When reductions have been achieved, this should be reflected in the basic files for planning.