More than 20 years ago, Toyota revolutionized the production methods in the car industry due to its flexible production system called Toyota Production System. Originally called 'Just in Time Production', this system was built on the approach created by Sakichi & Kiichiro Toyoda and Taiichi Ohno. From this process philosophy, was originated the principle of the TPS. TPS set the basis for much of the 'lean production' movement that has dominated manufacturing trends. The main purpose of lean production, what we call here a flexible production system, is to eliminate waste. Toyota defined different types of obstacles such as muda, muri and mura. By eliminating waste, flexible production enables also to eliminate inefficiency of production systems by reducing costs, improving quality and reliability and speeding up the cycle.
[...] Actually, what is striking inside trains is that visual controllers are also very useful: drivers have lot of indication, but could hardly go faster when they notice they would be late. Malfunctions should in reality be classified: would a delay urge to take risks or to change the way of driving? While it seems clear to stop the train if we notice that something is going wrong and could affect the security of users. This underlines that there is a huge complexity not only in controlling mistakes or defects in services, but also to define them. Moreover, we can also add that flexibility is now a crucial requirement for companies. [...]
[...] High- tech industries also represent far higher volumes of product sold, so it's really complex to manage the production of these sales. As for services, the problematic is totally different. At first, because services providers tend to participate in economic life most of the time without the restrictions of carrying stock or concerning themselves with bulky raw materials. Moreover, we must also underline one of the services' main characteristics according to Joby John: simultaneity. According to the definition, services are rendered and consumed during the same period of time. [...]
[...] Thus, in order to conclude, we can underline the point of view of the French journalist Jacques Barraux, who already assumed in 1993 that flexibility, team work, polyvalence and constant attention to market trends were no longer Toyota's properties. According to him, these notions were the foundations of a new art of organizing, selling and manufacturing and not only in industry but also in services. This way, I would like to say that implementation of flexible production seems realistic in high- technology industries and in services. Even if this requires the acquisition of a specific way of thinking and even if the application of these principles would be possible, we must point out to [...]
[...] Actually, there again, even if the implementation of a specific way of thinking and a real wish to meet frequent improvements are real in a high-tech company, the main problem would be to consider how to manage the continuity of the production lines. Would it be possible to stop directly production lines since volumes are far higher? And considering services, in restaurant services for example, would the chef of a restaurant or even a manager at a fast-food chain such as Mac Donald's (where products are produced through a kind of “production would stop preparing the other meals to focus only on a problematic one ? [...]
[...] For sure, the concept of flexible production could be applied to other industries such as high-tech and also services. Every system contains waste, that is to say something that does not provide value to one's customer. From observation, we can already see some companies implementing this kind of process. Harvard Business School professor David Upton underlined however that even if some companies from various sectors applied these principles, success has not been as impressive as Toyota. The first learning we get from his studies is that we can apply flexible production to diverse sectors such as services for example, and these principles have been implemented in countless companies. [...]
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