Manufacturing Effectiveness 4: Tilting the Playingfield
Quoting directly again: an improvement to any system should result in the minimum possible intensity of human input. It should attempt to ’tilt the playing field‘ rather than ‘push water up hill’. In other words, the system should be designed so that it does most of the work for the people who have to operate it, leaving them mental capacity that can be focussed upon correcting real and unavoidable problems rather than creating an unworkable system in which ‘fighting fires‘ becomes the norm. In terms of production processes this element of an analytical pattern is relatively basic; however, it is surprising how many unworkable systems creep into company operations over a period of time unless staff are specifically alert to the danger.
The first process below is easy to manager whereas the second, which I met at a company I shan’t name, is a disaster in every way: