Supply Chain Management and Lean Production Through-Out the World

Topics: Lean manufacturing, Manufacturing, Toyota Production System Pages: 5 (1974 words) Published: January 26, 2010
Supply Chain Management and Lean Production Through-out the World The system of interconnected businesses used to push a product from supplier to consumer is defined as a supply chain. Supply chain management focuses on managing the supply chain in an effort to improve the quality and time it requires to manufacture a product. To implementing supply chain management, a helpful lean production practice called Just-in-time can be used to remove any waste present along the supply chain. The marriage of lean production and supply chain management creates lean supply chain management, which provides a much leaner and more economical supply chain for the product to flow through. Much uncertainty about what supply chain management entails is present in today’s society. Many people treat supply chain management as being synonymous with logistics, which is the management of the flow of goods from the origin to the consumers (Lambert, 2008, p. 1). However, supply chain management encompasses much more than the purchasing or management of goods to the consumer. Supply chain management (SCM), as defined by Lambert (2008), is the “management of relationships across the supply chain, which includes a network of interconnected businesses involved in providing a product or service to the consumer.” A supply chain is defined as a system of organizations, as well as people and information, which are directly involved with the manufacture and delivery of a product (Phelps, Smith, Hoenes, 2004; “Supply Chain,” 2008). The supply chain includes the transformation of raw materials at the site of the supplier to finished goods that can be used by the consumer. This paper reviews some of the advantages and potential disadvantages of lean production in the Japanese automotive industry. According to the experts, 2006 saw Toyota become the world's largest automobile manufacturer in the world, knocking General Motors (GM) off the top spot. It is a big leap from the situation in 1950, when Toyota produced 11,706 units per annum compared to GE's 8,000 units per day. Heavy operating losses have forced GM to downsize, whereas Toyota has its highly efficient manufacturing system to thank for its ongoing rise. Adopting practices of lean production in the automotive industry reaps considerable financial and environmental rewards, but poses difficulties in making an impact on buyers in the prestige market. I’ll try weigh up the virtues of lean production in terms of the environment and costs against the potential negative impact of lean production on brand image. Thus provokes thought on how the best of both goals might be achieved. The differences between these two production systems are very clear, in fact it can be said that they are the total opposite of each other in terms of their approach to, and methods of, production. One of several aspects of the Toyota production system that differ from the GM system is that Toyota puts a flow into the manufacturing process, while GM has lathes located in the lathe area, milling machines in the milling area Toyota places a lathe, milling machine and a drilling machine in the actual sequence of the manufacturing process. This means that instead of having one worker per machine, one worker oversees many machines or processes. GM, however, has a group of workers skilled only in lathe operation, a group skilled only in milling. The GM plant layout will have 50 or more lathes in one location. When machining is completed the items are collected and taken to the subsequent drilling process and after that the milling process. In the US there is a union for each job function, with many unions in each company. Lathe operators are only allowed to operate lathes and a drilling job must only be taken to a drilling operator. As a result because the operators are single skilled a welding job required at the lathe section cannot be done there but must be taken to a welding operator. As a consequence there are a large...
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