what is a world-class manufacturing approach

The concept of World Class Manufacturing (WCM) was first proposed by Professor Richard 5chonberger in 1986. It is titled “world-class” in order to characterize the production methods of the world’s most advanced manufacturing companies in Japan, the United States, Germany, France, South Korea, and Taiwan. The concept of world-class manufacturing methods is not only to emphasize the world-advanced nature of manufacturing technology, such as the adoption of flexible manufacturing systems (FMS), robots (Robots), and numerical control machining technology (NC), but also to emphasize the advanced nature of management technology.

the concept of a world-class manufacturing approach is generally considered to include four aspects:

1. New Approach to Product Quality Management

WCM’s quality management approach is distinctly different from traditional quality management methods. Traditional quality management relies on a large number of inspectors, from raw materials and parts into the factory to every link in the production process, one by one inspection. These inspectors are independent of the operator and the operation manager, and the unqualified products detected are either reworked or scrapped. Not only is this approach expensive, but it also makes operators feel that quality control is not their responsibility. WCM, on the other hand, aims not to set a pre-set scrap rate standard, but to qualify products that are defect-free and 100%o. To this end, WCM progressively delegates the responsibility for quality control to the operator, who receives specialized training, has the necessary inspection equipment, and has the authority to stop the production line in the event of a quality problem. In order to enable operators to detect manufacturing quality problems in a timely manner, WCM makes extensive use of statistical process control (SPC) methods to control the manufacturing quality of processes and processing units.

2. Just-in-Time Production

The purpose of just-in-time production (jit) is to eliminate wasteful activities, the so-called wasteful activities, that is, any activity that only increases costs but does not add added value, including inspection, unnecessary movement of raw materials and works in process, machine adjustments when changing in batches, waiting, repair and reworks, inventory of raw materials and works in process and finished products, etc.


3. New Way To Manage Workers

It is generally believed that the most important and difficult problem in manufacturing management is the manager. Traditional management places the responsibility for all decisions on middle managers and job supervisors, and operators only need to operate according to the rules and report abnormal situations in a timely manner. Wcm, on the other hand, aims to progressively delegate more and more operational decision-making responsibilities to operators, leaving them with responsibility for product quality, equipment preventive maintenance, and production goals. This does not mean that middle managers are no longer needed, but that their roles have changed. They are more as experts, coaches, and instructors, not giving orders to operators when they encounter problems and difficulties, but helping them in a timely manner.

In order to improve the flexibility of the manufacturing system, WCM conducts extensive cross-training to make the operator a versatile generalist. In addition, WCM implements a broad employee engagement management program that employs a PDCA-style circular model to engage operators in resolving quality issues, reducing adjustment times, synchronizing production, and reducing costs. The practice has shown that cross-training, delegation, participation in management, and the development of trusting manager-worker relationships are the basis for wcm’s success, so these aspects have become a focus of WCM performance evaluation.

The Flexibility of the System

A high degree of flexibility or adaptability is the main feature and competitive advantage of WCM, which is mainly manifested in two aspects: the flexibility of production and the flexibility of design.

The flexibility of production is mainly obtained through three ways: shortening the lead time, adapting the production system to the frequently changing product structure, and expanding the scope and level of improved operator cross-training. The flexibility of the design represents the ability of the company to introduce new products and improve existing products. On the one hand, it requires the design of the product to meet the quality requirements of the user, its structure is as simple as possible, the degree of generalization and standardization is as high as possible to facilitate manufacturing; on the other hand, the batch of production is required to be small, and the inventory of the product in progress is small. Large production volumes and large wiped-in stocks are often important reasons for product improvement, as any design and engineering changes can result in a large number of parts and semi-finished products being scrapped. The level of flexibility of the system naturally becomes an important aspect of WCM performance evaluation.

Performance measurement of world-class manufacturing methods

Establishing WCM is a long-term process and a fundamental change in traditional management styles that cannot be achieved overnight. Some world-class manufacturing companies often take years, decades, or even decades to build WCM and are still constantly improving it. As a long-term management improvement process, WCM needs to develop a performance measurement system to evaluate WCM performance and provide timely feedback to managers and operators. Because WCM is different from traditional management, its performance evaluation system is also different from the performance evaluation system of traditional management, and this difference is mainly manifested in the following three aspects.

  1. Purpose of assessment

Traditional management focuses on evaluating the performance of production systems from a financial and cost perspective, and its service object is the middle and senior management of the enterprise, which is based on the budget of the enterprise, the purpose of which is to check the implementation of the budget and compare the performance of different departments, it lacks direct guiding significance for improving production management and for operators. The performance evaluation of WCM is different, its main purpose is to reveal the implementation effect of the enterprise manufacturing strategy and the performance and problems of production management, it is not only to provide the middle and middle management personnel of the enterprise with quality, delivery time, production synchronization and system flexibility, which are the important information related to the manufacturing strategy of the enterprise but also to feedback the quality, batch, adjustment time, work in process inventory and other key operation information to the operation managers and operators.

     2. The content of the assessment

The following six aspects are mainly measured for the purpose of reducing inventory, shortening delivery times, eliminating activities that do not provide added value, improving the flexibility of production systems, and ensuring 100% qualified products:

1. Measurement of ordering and delivery performance;

2. Measurement of time performance of production;

3. Measurement of the flexibility of the production system;

4. Measurement of quality management performance;

5. Measurement of financial performance;

6. Measure people’s management performance.

     3. Performance appraisal methodology

Wcm primarily uses non-financial metrics and makes extensive use of graphs, tables, and curves to visually display the results of the assessment to managers and operators. For example, the ratio of break-even point output to maximum production capacity is used to measure the flexibility of output, and the volume of management business for each production batch is used to measure the complexity of administrative and transaction management processes.