Friday, November 28, 2008

Television: Reality is Still In.... the shows keep getting better too!

I haven't posted in a long time, so I thought it was time to come back and share some "newer" (to me that is) shows that I have thoroughly enjoyed. Most of my old favorites are still around, so I won't bother relisting there here.

The great thing for people in search of knowledge/content is that as time goes on, Youtube continues improving with an ever growing user base.... I'm not sure the networks are benefiting much, but that's a separate issue...

Ultimate Factories - A show truly dedicated to the documentation of world's Ultimate Factories! If I could choose but one show to watch this would be the one. - National Geographic
How Do They Do It? - A Broad Range of Topics (This is a British show, but they have a surprising amount of US content.) - Discovery Channel
Man Made - Covers everything from factories to Construction - National Geographic
Factory Made - A Broad Range of Topics - Discovery Channel
Some Assembly Required - Plant Tours - Discovery Channel
How'd That Get On My Plate? - This show is more friendly for average viewers who may not normally watch a factory specific show. - Food Network
CEO - A monthly show that focuses on an interview with a current CEO. It looks similar in style to History's Business (I haven't actually watched the show yet, but it looks interesting) - PBS

GI Factory - Military specific Factory Tours; There aren't many episodes, but the ones that were made are very comprehensive. - Military Channel
Weaponology - This show covers the history of many different military organizations, and educates about a broad range of weapons, strategies, cultures. - Military Channel

Monday, November 26, 2007

Kanban in the Kitchen: a Recipe for Supply Chain Education

I saved this article a while back from Hawkeye Planner, but I can't even remember when I first received it. Long story short, it's a great example that everyone can relate to that demonstrates Supply Chain Management in a nutshell.

Kanban in the Kitchen: a Recipe for Supply Chain Education
The supply chain is for smart people. Not too many people understand the basic concepts, let alone the more sophisticated approaches and ideas. Supply chain professionals always try to promote and share what they are doing, but their presentations are usually met with glossy-eyed stares. What we are trying to do is extremely complicated, so unfortunately people just don’t get it. HOGWASH!

The supply chain is one of the most simple, easy-to-explain functions around. The supply chain has one simple goal—to fulfill product and service demand effectively and efficiently. And the activities are not some theoretical construct; the supply chain always ends up with physical products that are bought, made, moved, and stored. Yes, some of the strategies and processes become complicated. Still, they can always be tied back to the real world. For a broad audience to understand (and support) supply chain management, they need a very practical education with tangible example. For that, all you have to do is go to the kitchen.

I tried this education with someone who is probably the furthest away from supply chain management—my mother. My mother has been a homemaker for over 30 years; she is a smart woman who runs the household (and my father) like a business. Would she understand supply chain concepts?

I started with her shopping list. What was she planning on getting from the supermarket? Bread, turkey, cheese, potatoes, chicken breast, one quart milk, Cheerios, asparagus, tomato soup. How did she decide what to get? Well, she was planning on serving leftovers tonight because they would be out all afternoon. Dinner the following evening would be chicken with asparagus and mashed potatoes. Lunch tomorrow would be sandwiches and soup. And of course, father has cereal for breakfast each morning. And why go today? Well, it was going to rain tomorrow, so she didn’t want to drive in wet weather.

“Mom,” I said, “You are a supply chain expert.” She looked at me as if I was ten years old. “Seriously, you are. Let’s look at all of the things that you did. First, you figured what the demand for food would be—that’s forecasting. Fortunately, your customer, Dad and yourself, will consume whatever you make. Then you decided how and when you were going to your meal—that’s production scheduling. You knew that today wouldn’t be a day to cook, but you already planned out tomorrow’s menu.”

“Then, you figured out the ingredients that you needed—that’s material requirements planning. You mentally went through your meal plan and figured out what ingredients went into each. We call that a Bill of Materials explosion. I noticed that you didn’t put mustard or mayonnaise on your list. I am guessing that you already have enough in the refrigerator to last you a while, so no need to buy more. And you are buying tomato soup, although I see that you already have one in the cupboard. I know what you always say; it’s always good to have an extra can for a rainy day. In my world, that’s inventory management with safety stock rules built in.”

My mother thought for a moment, then laughed and messed my hair. “I’m glad that we are both supply chain experts, even if you do need a lot of fancy names for all of the things that I do normally. Will any of these fancy ideas actually help me to do anything better?”

We talked for a few more minutes about where she could improve. I looked through the cupboards and found a lot of extra cans of soup and other goods. I rearranged the cabinets to have a spot for each item and threw out some of the old (obsolete) products. Then we talked about how many cans of tomato soup she needed at any one time. We wrote a card under each can that said “Buy 1 can of tomato soup”. As she used that can, she would pull the card as use it as part of her shopping list.“

I like this little setup, son,” my mother said as she smiled. “What do you call this?”

“It’s called Kanban, Mom. It a Japanese inventory and replenishment technique.”

“Can-Ban: got it, works great for cans. I can’t wait to tell my friends down at the gym about how my son is so smart.” She gave me a big hug.

“I’m sure they will appreciate it,” I replied. “Oh, and Mom, about Sunday dinner this week. You know that I love meatloaf, but maybe Dad would appreciate something different. Maybe we should talk about managing New Product Introductions.”

My mother smiled and shook her head. “That time you almost got me. Your father wants something different than meatloaf? Now you’re dreaming.”

Oh well, I guess that some things don’t change.

Copyright © 2006-2007 Hawkeye Planner LLC. All rights reserved.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Foreign Flashback:Nissan 180SX Manufacturing in Japan

I thought this video was worth posting because I am having a very difficult time finding automotive manufacturing content from Japanese companies. I know many auto firms cooperate with Japanese companies, but it appears they keep their information out of the public arena. From what I have seen, Europeans seem to be the least concerned with letting insiders into their plants and the Japanese seem the be the most elusive.

This video is completely in Japanese and is well over 10 years old, but it is still interesting to see how the Nissan 180SX (S13 chassis) was manufactured. Production for the car began in 1989 and ended in 1998. If I had to guess, this video is probably from the early 90's. As you watch the video note that virtually everything is performed manually by the production workers including welding and glue application/window placement.

Cutting Edge: Intel's Fab 32 (Arizona)

Intel's Fab 32 is a Cutting Edge $3 Billion Dollar, 300mm Fab with a 45nm process that will go into production in the second half of 2007 (Now!). Intel's Press Release and video tell you almost everything you need to know:

"When completed, Fab 32 will become Intel's sixth 300-mm wafer facility. The structure will be about 1 million square feet with 184,000 square feet of clean room space. The project will create up to 1000 new Intel jobs at the Arizona site over the next several years. During the construction phase, more than 3,000 skilled trades people will be hired to work on the project.

Intel currently operates four 300-mm fabs that provide the equivalent manufacturing capacity of about eight 200-mm factories. Those factories are located in Oregon, Ireland and New Mexico. The company also has an additional 300 mm fab currently under construction in Arizona (Fab 12) scheduled to begin operations later this year, and one expansion in Ireland (Fab 24-2) scheduled to begin operations in the first quarter of next year.

Manufacturing with 300-mm wafers (about 12 inches in diameter) dramatically increases the ability to produce semiconductors at a lower cost compared with more widely used 200-mm (eight-inch) wafers. The total silicon surface area of a 300-mm wafer is 225 percent, or more than twice that of a 200-mm wafer, and the number of printed die (individual computer chips) is increased to 240 percent. The bigger wafers lower the production cost per chip while diminishing overall use of resources. Three-hundred-mm wafer manufacturing will use 40 percent less energy and water per chip than a 200-mm wafer factory."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Car & Driver: VW's Transparent Factory Tour

The Transparent Factory is so impressive I decided it was worth posting two tours because they contain differing information. This Car & Driver tour includes much more information about the facility including a Q&A with Volkswagen that is very insightful into their thoughts about the VW Phaeton. Enjoy!