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07-01-2011, 10:50 PM
The world as a whole is now adjusting itself to the competitive realities of a new set of competitive standards. In the old economy competitive success was based almost exclusively on the ability to improve productivity .In the new economy, organization and nations compete in quality, variety, customization, timely response etc. So manufactures must be able to develop and produce customized products rapidly to meet ever changing customer needs to be ahead of others.
Methods to meet these requirements are the basics of agile engineering. Agile Engineering or Manufacturing is a new concept of management originating from USA aimed at carving a new path for business enterprises. The emphasis is to make the organization quick shift in style of working to adopt the changes in market environment in order to remain the business leader ahead of competitors. Thus the ability to use and exploit a fundamental resource-knowledge and imagination is the impetus behind agile organizations.
AGILE MANUFACTURING.doc (Size: 77 KB / Downloads: 236)
1.1 HOW DO WE GET TO WHERE WE ARE TODAY?
The industrial revolution led to mass production practices and the scientific definition of cost accounting system. That period represented seller’s market, where demand was greater than capacity. Price was based on the cost of production and expected profit. The fixed of capital was amortized for a long period of time, but variable costs were high and needed to be managed. The solution was simple –treat manufacturing as a cost driver by focusing on local optimization, breaking down to tasks into small simple steps and producing high volumes of standard products at the lowest possible cost. Consequently labor was de-skilled.
The computer revolution dramatically changed the market characteristic. Today it’s the buyer’s market where capacity is higher than demand. Price is dictated by the market and is not based on producer’s expected profit. Manufactures must develop a balance between the external and internal measures. Their focus is changing to global optimization from local optimization by determining what customers want and delivering the right product.
Thus focus and advances in technology and product life which together with the high cost of capital makes product time to market are of the major business driven for many industries. This increasingly shorted whole resulted in the need for agility.
The Japanese who dominated the market at the middle of the 20th century had developed their own paradigm called “LEAN MANUFACTURING” .As the customers were shifting towards the Japanese the US introduced “AGILE ENGINEERING” IN 1991 so as to compete with them.
Peter Drucker wrote “There is only one valid definition of business purpose, to create a satisfied customer who determines what the business enterprise has two and only two basic functions: marketing and innovation.
Success globally means faster reach to market, sharper response to customer needs and exploiting the resources efficiently to develop the product. The emphasis is to make the organization quick, swift and agile in catching customer’s requirements and to treat it to be very purpose of business. It requires a holistic business approach and reorganizing the organizational structure to make it cross functional and enabling.
2.1 HOLISTIC APPROACH
“Winners do not do different things, but they do things differently”
In order to achieve agility in a system it is necessary to break the fragmented organizational legacy and meaningful only in the context of the whole effort .It must be compatible on the company wide basis .An individual’s effort to excel in his job or a single department doing its best within its domain is no more considered enough. Building up a holistic organization emphasizes not on parts but as whole. Each part of the organization must continuously adjust and recalibrate its actions to accommodate the needs and requirements of the whole. Holistic system of management can be thought of as the foundation of building agile organization to be capable of quickly responding to fast changes whether internal or external, simple or complex.
2.2 CROSS FUNCTIONAL MANAGEMENT
Communication gap across organizational boundaries was still remaining problem number one of the industry .It is mainly due to organizational legacy that divide a company into less and less co-operative parts. And in the absence of cross-boundary communication, management of complex process like new product development or increasing market share etc suffers or may require extraordinary efforts or resource .The solution to the problem is found out to be agile engineering by adopting cross-functional system of management
The agility of an organization depends on cross management communication. Company wide system reorganization was put into effect. Executives are assigned multiple and cross functional problems. This helps in sharing of ideas and concepts and hence enhancing company wide coordination.
The unique characteristics of cross-functional system can be summarized as below
1. Company wide cross department co-operation and communication
2. Focus on strategic core processes as a basis for achieving competitive results and profitability.
2.3 HIGH SENSITIVITY
Agile organizations should be sensitive enough to pick feeble signal of changes and be responsive enough to take corrective measures instantaneously. It should be in a state of continuous instability rather than being in a static equilibrium. This agility will come out of this vibrant and dynamic state which instead of causing a destabilizing effect on the system would provide ability to quickly perceive and adapt the market needs, technology, opportunities, new employee competencies, competitive threats or new regulations.
2.4 INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL AGILITY
Internal agility concerns itself with the ability to react quickly to changes in rapidly changing products, processes and the physical environment of the factory. External agility is something more and more companies are dealing with by focusing on their on competitors and forming partnerships with other suppliers to meet overall customer needs.
The commercial and legal risks are not widely understood and most of the interest in “partnerships building” has been based on forming long term commercial relationship.
AGILITY: A POPULAR PARADIGM
The paradigm of mass production has first shifted to lean manufacturing and now to Agile Engineering to respond rapidly to change in customer demand. This radical approach challenges some fundamental operational issues, producing high-volume item to cater for the larger segment of the market which also accommodates customers who went one-off, customized products without sacrificing on lead time and cost. A shift towards an agile enterprise will require manufacturing process to be well placed to exploit opportunities in a climate of uncertainty, unpredictability and highly turbulent market conditions.
Agile manufacturing rests upon three supporting pillars.
1. Learning in Agile organization.
2. Skilled people-Role of HRD.
3. Intelligent and flexible manufacturing technology.
3.1. LEARNING IN AGILE ORGANIZATIONS
Management is all about acts to achieve goals. Learning is the key to achieve these goals. Learning is a process which is inevitable to all the organizations either deliberately or without any focused effort.
3.1.1 ORGANISATIONAL LEARNING
The organizational learning can be termed as increasing capacity of an organization to take effective actions. Organizational learning is complex, as it is a large collection of diverse individuals.
Primary source of individual learning is through experimental learning is through experimental learning as shown below.
The above cycle gets modified in the case of organizational learning as follows.
3.1.2 LINKAGE OF LEARNING WITH PERFORMANCE
“Learning without thought is labor lost and thought without learning is perilous” Knowledge by itself produces by itself produces nothing .It can become more productive only when it is integrated into a task. And that is why knowledge society of organization.
Learning curve is defined as empirical relationships between the numbers of units produced and the numbers of labor hours required to producing them. The average labor hours will come down as units produced goes up as shown below.
The only expertise these days fast changes is the “expertise to garner expertise.”
3.2 ROLE OF HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT IN AGILE MANUFACTURING-A CASE STUDY
A mid-sized engineering consulting firm uses a web based optimization solution to give employees more options for self-service and increase the productivity of its human resource staff.
3.2.1 THE CHALLENGE
Agile Engineering a mid-sized consulting a mid size consulting firm faced a large backlog of opportunities for new project and implimentations but was struggling to build an adequate work force to handle the work load. From bringing new hires on broad, to keep company needed to enhance its workforce management tools and processes.
3.2.2 THE SOLUTION
Agile Engineering launched a work force optimization solution using the internet to advantage to give employees quick access to the information they needed to their jobs and to simplify and enhance a wide range of human resource activities. Employees themselves now can complete processes that are required a phone call or letter to human resources –with a turn around of several days in minutes.
3.2.3 THE STRATEGY AND BENEFITS
The work force optimization strategy for Agile centered on
• Communications: Through a new company wide intranet, Agile Engineering gave employees a single, web based window into their company policies, directories etc.Making training available on line enabled employees to improve their skills at their convenience, without costly travel to the headquarters and without disrupting normal work schedules. This helped to respond more quickly to problems and opportunities.
• Transaction related solutions: Agile’s engineers work in three remote sites and frequently from their homes or customer sites. The workforce optimization solution eliminates the isolation of these remote employees by allowing them to use any web connection to update their benefits choices, report expenses and complete performance reviews at their convenience.
• Strategic HR activities: The work force optimization solution provided human resources with new tools to finding and hiring skilled employees. Using internet agile was able to reach candidates all over the world.
1. Reduced Costs: Agile saw dramatic reductions calls to HR staff about routine matters. Online training services helped reduce travel and facilities cost. The firm also reduced paperwork and costly error in tasks such as expense reporting, benefits, adjustments and hiring.
2. Empowered Employees: Employees on the Agile network can take control of their careers and benefits information by receiving and manipulating their personal employment records on line, from the office or home.
3. Improved Productivity: With the flexibility to find the needed information in one place, available at anytime anywhere, Agile employees can focus on their core activities. For HR,workforce optimization solution reduce routine task and allow more time for finding, hiring and retaining the best possible employees. This scenario keeps the company competitive, reduces cost and increases profitability.
3.3 INTELLIGENT AND FLEXIBILE MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY –AGILITY IN AUTOMOTIVE SYSTEMS
With the Indian automobile industry now open to global players, competition has set in and the customer has a wide choice now. The mechatronics application in automotives has revolutionized the automobile industries. Computers are the electronic devices that stores data, manipulate them through arithmetic and logical operations and an output according to the instructions already given to it.
3.3.1 FUNCTIONS OF MECHATRONICS IN AUTOMOBILES
A single microprocessor in an automobile may do the following
1. Carburetor/Fuel injection control
2. Spark timings
3. Idle speed of the engine
4. Cruise control
5. Air management
6. Exhaust control
7. Transmission control
8. Instrumental panel display
9. Self-diagnosis of the system
10. Passenger safety aspects.
The brain behind all these functions is a small digital computer which contains the logic for the entire system.
AGILE AND LEAN MANUFACTURING
ADVANTAGES OF AGILE
The two concepts are more or less same in certain areas.
PRINIPLES AGILE LEAN
Delivering values to customer High High
Being ready for change Yes Yes
Valuing human knowledge and skills High High
Forming virtual relationships Short and flexible Long and rigid
4.2 ADVANTAGES OF AGILE ENGINEERING
1. The first is the change from standardization to post standardization .Industrial society was characterized by high volume production of small variety of items. An information society however is capable of small production runs of multiple items which match individual needs.
2. The second is the shift from specialization to collaboration, with many aspects of society becoming increasingly composite and multidisciplinary.
3. The third is the shift from constraints of time and place.
4. The fourth is the trend away from concentration and diversification.
5. From centralization to decentralization
6. Finally leading to sustainability in manufacturing
The new economy requires management technologies, work force that are flexible and roboust, agile engineering. The new markets standards would not have been possible without an equally new role for technology. Thus agile manufacturing techniques has fully exploited the flexible new technology, by using it in conjunction with equally flexible workforce and organizational formats, have raised the level of competition and increased the range of competitive standards.
1. http://www.agilesolutions .com
2. http://www.mit. org
3. Conferences on Agile Engineering
4. Daniel Whitney, “Agile Pathfinders –A Progress Report”, MIT Press, 1995
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08-03-2011, 04:36 PM
Ch. Gita madhuri
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The idea of Agile Manufacturing (AM) now had been around for nearly a decade. AM is the first major manufacturing theory that has sense of history built into it, in fact integral to it.
Agility is the measure of manufacturer’s ability to react to sudden unpredictable change in customer demand for its products and services and make a profit.
Agile Manufacturing may be defined as “The ability of an organization to thrive in the competitive environment of continuous and unanticipated change and to respond quickly to rapid change in markets driven by customer based valuing of products and services.”
CHARACTERISTICS OF AGILE MANUFACTURING
Manufacturing companies that are agile competitors tend to exhibit these principles or characteristics .The four principles are:
Organize to Master Change
Leverage the Impact of People and Information
Enrich the Customer
Cooperate to Enhance Competitiveness
AGILITY CAPABILITY INDICATOR
This shows the key factors of an organization and the relationship between these factors.
It is intended that this model should not slavishly follow functional divisions, or processes, but encapsulate the idea of generic organizational relationships.
In agile manufacturing rapid changeover is accomplished through the use of reusable software, quick-change grippers for the robotic manipulators, modular worktables, and part feeders.
These are flexible enough to handle several types of parts without needing mechanical adjustment.
These feeders use vision, in place of hard fixturing, to determine the position and orientation of parts.
Design strategies for agile manufacturing
Vision-based flexible parts-feeder systems.
The introduction of “spurs” within the conveyor system.
The use of modular worktables supporting specialty fixturing and tooling.
Multipurpose, modular end-of-arm tooling.
Flexible Parts Feeders
Flexibility encompasses every part of the work cell design, including hardware and control software.
Our flexible feeders consist of three conveyors working in concert.
Spurs and Worktables
It has introduced the concept of “spurs” and modular worktables for flexibility and efficient use of space.
A recent improvement in the modular is the introduction of quick-connect pneumatic and electrical harnesses
The gripper design is an important aspect of achieving efficient and reliable robotic part handling.
Figure shows a part being lifted from the feeder and being rotated into an orientation needed for assembly.
DESIGN FOR AGILE MANUFACTURABILITY
Agile work cell should be capable of designing new products.
Design for manufacturability teaches that the interaction of the components in a product is critical to a successful automated assembly.
A few, often simple, changes to a product in the early stages of design can have a marked impact during final production.
SOFTWARE ARCHITECTURE FOR AGILE MANUFACTURING
Comparison of Dedicated, Agile, Flexible manufacturing
Several companies have implemented what may be considered “agile” manufacturing.
Motorola has developed an automated factory with the ability to produce physically different pagers on the same production line.
At Panasonic, a combination of flexible manufacturing and just-in-time processing is being used to manufacture bicycles from combinations of a group of core parts.
Lowers Manufacturing cost
Increase market share
Facilitate introduction of new products
Eliminate non-value added activities
Increase Manufacturing Competitiveness.
Product design for manufacturing and assembly play a key roll in facilitating feeding and assembly.
Agile parts feeding can be addressed with flexible part feeders exploiting machine vision.
The modular worktable and conveyor spurs are important concepts for optimizing use of valuable robot workspace as well as supporting rapid change over to new assembly tasks.
Agile Manufacturing does not contribute any of other manufacturing concepts So that elements and extensions of best practices documented in them may be incorporated to support Agile Manufacturing as long as they are integrated to achieve agility collectively.
WINNERS DON’T DO DIFFERENT THINGS THEY DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY That's AGILE
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