FAQ : How does the use of World Class Manufacturing & Just in Time (JIT) vary between mass production and process industries?
World class manufacturing opportunities vary enormously from one company to the next and certainly between one type of industry and another. World Class Manufacturing is not therefore a prescriptive solution but a toolbox of techniques. You should pick the most appropriate of the various techniques to fit the precise situation.
In an industry, for instance, where discrete but basically similar products are built sequentially, the best manufacturing method is likely to be based on kanban control whether it is a process industry or a batch production industry. If each of the products are engineered to order fewer of the world class manufacturing techniques are applicable. Even though a company cannot use kanban for its main production processes it may be possible to supply components such as fixtures fittings, packaging and labels using kanbans. The first stage is therefore to understand the techniques the second, and more difficult, is to learn how to apply them to your business.
Have a look at the checklist at http://www.bpic.co.uk/wcm_checklist.htm for a convenient checklist of the main world class manufacturing techniques.
JIT (Just in Time) is basically the same technique as Lean Manufacturing. Six Sigma embraces many of the Lean Manufacturing and Total Quality concepts. They all come under the general heading of World Class Manufacturing.
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*For the historical difference between MRP, MRPII and ERP see ERP survival guide.