Engineering For Lean: Right-Sizing Your Labor Cost Infrastructure With Industrial Engineering

Are you aware that the exemplar of lean manufacturing, Toyota, assigns a commercial engineer to every foreman in the plants? It’s correct. Toyota has lengthy understood the need for optimizing operations through traditional industrial engineering techniques. For instance, the organization “stopwatches” each operation to make sure the people performing work tasks can really get the job done within an optimal period of time. Optimal is understood to be the speed achievable to complete the job “right the very first time” based on the Toyota standard method (for quality purposes) and also to be economically efficient within the traditional manufacturing cost paradigm. When the time allotted to a surgical procedure isn’t “optimal,” then your workers receive additional training or even the operation time is adjusted. Assigning a commercial engineer to every foreman has other benefits – workflow management, cycle time reduction, work methods and so on.

So, so how exactly does the Toyota approach – clearly achievable for any multibillion dollar global corporation – connect with the little to medium size enterprise (SME)? The content from the Toyota example is rediscovery from the lost art of commercial engineering and it is use within making an SME company lean and price-effective. Certainly couple of or no SMEs are able to afford with an industrial engineering staff such as the one Toyota has, but industrial engineering talent could be acquired in lots of ways and employed just like effectively,


Why indeed you might ask? Is not labor cost reduction passe with labor costs per unit amounting to 6 or seven percent from the sales dollar? Will it seem sensible to try and squeeze an additional quarter second from a surgical procedure by altering the way in which someone moves their left hands when turning a dial? In addition, is not labor a flexible cost that fluctuates with production requiring us to staff up and lower when needed? The solution to each one of these questions isn’t any. Let us take a look at all these questions after which visualize some advantages of industrial engineering inside a twenty-first century style.

Low unit labor costs. It is a fact that indirect and direct labor on the unit basis is gloomier than ever in recent memory but, labor is frequently the only largest non-material total dollar expenditure for many companies. Choice behooves management to insure the labor pressure is trim and isn’t growing from proportion to the stage of sales revenue.

Squeezing the extra quarter second from the process. The extra fractional time reductions and fractional people reductions (we managed to save one-third of the worker using this method!) connected with traditional industrial engineering weren’t any doubt significant to cost decrease in the very first 1 / 2 of the 20th century when labor forces were orders-of-magnitude bigger. These fractional savings, actually, added as much as actual dollar labor savings in older days. They’ve very little similar value today except to understand how jobs might be combined to get rid of duplication or non-useful activities.