Feb 14 2012

Basic Working Practices Lean – JIT

Adopt basic working practices

Source: OM (Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, Robert Johnston)

Basic working practices can be considered as the method of operationalizing the ‘involvement of everyone’ lean principle. They are held to be the basic preparation of the operation and its staff for implementing JIT. They include the following:

_ Discipline – Work standards which are critical for the safety of company members and the environment, and for the quality of the product,must be followed by everyone all the time.

_ Flexibility – It should be possible to expand responsibilities to the extent of people’s capabilities. This applies as equally to managers as it does to shop-floor personnel. Barriers to flexibility, such as grading structures and restrictive practices, should be removed.

_ Equality – Unfair and divisive personnel policies should be discarded. Many companies implement the egalitarian message through to company uniforms, consistent pay structures which do not differentiate between full-time staff and hourly rated staff, and open-plan offices.

_ Autonomy – Delegate increasing responsibility to people involved in direct activities of the business, so that management’s task becomes one of supporting the shop floor. Delegation means such things as giving direct line staff the responsibility for stopping processes in the event of problems, scheduling work and materials arrival, gathering performance-monitoring data and general problem solving.

_ Development of personnel – Over time, the aim is to create more company members who can support the rigours of being competitive.

_ Quality of working life (QWL) – This may include, for example, involvement in decision making, security of employment, enjoyment and working area facilities.

_ Creativity – This is one of the indispensable elements of motivation. Most of us enjoy not just doing the job successfully but also improving it for the next time.

_ Total people involvement – Staff take on much more responsibility to use their abilities to the benefit of the company as a whole. They are expected to participate in activities such as the selection of new recruits, dealing directly with suppliers and customers over schedules, quality issues and delivery information, spending improvement budgets
and planning and reviewing work done each day through communication meetings.

In practice, it is difficult to achieve all the basic working practices at the same time. There are trade-offs between discipline, autonomy and creativity, for example. It is best to consider these basic working practices as goals to be achieved.

Source: OM (Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, Robert Johnston)


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