Manufacturing Effectiveness 4: Tilting the Playingfield
When improving any system aim for the minimum possible human input. You 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 spare mental capacity to 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 seems 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 manage whereas the second, which I met at a company I shan’t name, is a disaster in every way: