Fake Flow

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Article Revised: March 26, 2019

There seems to be an epidemic in American Management of copying the form of things, without bringing the substance along. I was reminded of this when touring a factory with a team evaluating a potential new supplier. The company had put much of their equipment on wheeled dollies. Such things as jigs, drill presses, etc. were mounted in this way. I’d seen a lot of this during my visits to factories overseas. The objective was to make the factory easy to reconfigure. When orders were received for a new product family the factory could be quickly changed and production would hardly miss a beat. The problem was, the American company didn’t do this. The equipment was movable alright, but it didn’t move. Production was pure batch-and-queue with all of the inventory, quality problems, and waste that this approach entails.

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