5S’s and the production control

Excerpt from TPiCS report No. 73.
■ I’m going to think about the “5S’s” which anybody involved in the production control knows about.
I used to make a half-fool of the “5S’s,” too, when I was young. 
“Who doesn’t know about organizing things? Adults like you are saying such a thing now…”
I began to understand well, however, how important those fundamental things were, and how difficult to execute them in a proper fashion as I grew old.
You can never achieve the production for short-term delivery if you are saying, “’Cause somebody told me to,” and “What must we do such a thing for?”“
It is difficult to achieve the production for short-term delivery.
Because no ideas to achieve it come out if you “reluctantly” do it.“
When I am told, “TPiCS is difficult,” I say, “It isn’t TPiCS that is difficult but to control the production in a proper fashion is. Since to achieve the production for short-term delivery is more difficult, you find TPiCS particularly difficult.” Since there are a lot of other things to explain in the training workshop held every month, however, I limit my explanation to such a story as, “In order to achieve the production for short-term delivery, it is important to ‘truly intend to make customer-oriented things’ to begin with.”
The “5S’s” mean always organize things used at the factory floor such as materials, works in progress, jigs and tools, put them right, wipe them, keep them clean, and discipline factory workers so that they can do it of their own will. 
I had better think about it expanding this coverage to the data in the production control system and entry work.
I have said in the past that the production control is like the health control.

Doing proper exercise, taking well-balanced meals, moderately controlling alcohol and cigarettes… Thus, everybody knows all about what he must do. But it is difficult to do it every day.
And the difficulty of the production control is like everybody can make a living every day with very little subjective symptom or a resigned tone of “This is the way it goes,” no matter somewhat high his blood pressure and blood sugar level are. If you lived in the days when everybody used to be able to do his job at a slow pace, you would have no trouble doing your job even with somewhat high cholesterol level.
But when it comes to recent years when things have to be made at a high-speed, you can’t do that because it’s like breaking into a run with chronic disease. This is what I say recently.
I have described in my previous reports that it is important to manage the schedule in a proper fashion (schedule management) in order to achieve the production for short-term delivery.
To do the production for short-term delivery means to change the production schedule on a daily basis.
Since that production schedule has to be feasible, it is necessary to simulate the feasibility of new schedules on a daily basis.
In order for the simulation results to be meaningful, the schedule to be simulated has to represent the reality.
That is:
○ All the people involved have to take action, following the production schedule in the system.
○ All the schedules that change on a daily basis have to be reflected in the Production Schedule data in the system.
It is natural that all the changes on the side of making schedule have to be incorporated into the schedule, but all the information on delays in delivery from parts makers have to be reflected in the Production Schedule data as well.  Because the parts involved will be calculated based on the assumption that they are to be delivered according to the old schedule unless the information on delays in delivery is correctly reflected in the schedule data in the system.
People used to make a purchase for parts whose delivery date was 3 or 4 months ahead in earlier times.  Even if they discovered a problem with the parts to be delivered after a parts maker received the purchase order, they could solve the problem by taking some sort of action since they had enough time until the delivery date.  As the purchasing lead -time for parts gets shorter, however, it will be “too late” when they receive the purchase order.
There must be the increasing case where parts makers ask for the extension of deliver as short-term delivery is accelerated. While those requests are a little, all that's required is to individually handle them on a case-by-case basis. But as they become more common, they have to be able to be processed in a proper fashion as the system.
It is the “SCM Option” that has achieved it. 
The background of doing it has been clear now. All the tools have been prepared here. But nothing starts unless you do it.
With that having been said, it’s not like “just do it.”
You must steadily make rules and everybody must keep them.
You must “organize basic data and put them right” so that everybody can understand them. You must immediately erase the data that have no longer been necessary, and keep the data registered in the server living data all the time.
This is the “5S’s” of data.

■ This is the conversation with a customer who visited our company the other day.

It’s the Japanese arm of an American company. They import their main parts from their headquarters in America, and do assembly and adjustment in Japan.
He says, “We import a part from America that becomes a bottleneck. The production of the part is said to be difficult and they have troubles making it very often. We have a hard time of sudden delivery changes.  Since the production quantity and the number of models have increased, I think we need some kind of system by now.  If the system is built on too rigid ideas, it’s going to be rather useless in our situation. A little loose system might be better for us…”
To be honest with you, this is a new case for me. He has a concept completely opposite to the concept of my “schedule management,” and  he is a customer who appears to be very difficult to implement the concept of my “schedule management.”
I start my explanation with TPiCS-X as usual and end it with the importance of the schedule management, showing the SCM Option.
I say, “No matter how inaccurate their due date replies are, the problem can never be solved at all forever if you let it be. Since the parts in question don’t seem to be so many according to the appearance of your story, I think it possible to diligently maintain the schedule. If delivery dates for 10,000 parts were not reliable because they all kept changing, there would be no way to solve it. But if only a few parts have the problem, it can be worked out. When you receive due date replies and change notifications of them from America, all you have to do is drag-and-drop it in the production schedule list like this. You can possibly do it, can’t you?”
Then he replies, “No problems can be solved for sure unless you do what you’ve got to do, can they?”
When the schedule keeps changing, there are two methods of thinking corresponding to it.
① A method of thinking of “No need to make a schedule as it changes anyway.”
② A method of thinking of “Constantly follow up the schedule that keeps changing, 
simulate it, and positively keep making the schedule.” TPiCS’ and our method of thinking is ②.
Fast calculation speed and the operability to be able to easily process are needed in order to achieve it.
I think it’s hard for us to develop the system and so are the users to do the job with this method of thinking. They don’t do the job in a sluggish fashion but do it in a proper fashion. That’s why they need the “5S’s” for the system.