Full Speed Ahead — Or Not

Oct 26, 2011 3:38:00 AM | Posted by Kirk Norris

In many manufacturing facilities, it’s tempting to simply speed things up in order to boost performance. Just another 1 or 2% increase on that mill, pump, filler or palletizer can seem like easy money. In reality, it just isn’t that simple, and I know from experience. As a manufacturing executive in the packaging material industry, responsible for several plants in North America, my most productive facility was not the one with the highest line or machine speeds — in fact, it wasn’t even close. By any measure of productivity, cost, quality, asset utilization, spoilage, material usage, spare parts, utility usage, etc., speed was not the answer. To use Lean Manufacturing vernacular, it was a clear case of elimination of “mura,” or unevenness, throughout the operation.

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