I see different production and office environments every week, and all of them represent opportunities for improvement. A common theme is the subject of “Where to start?”
If we split any work area up into two oversimplified categories you have 1. The work being done 2. The support to the work being done.
Of course “Where to start?” is not a new problem – it’s been tackled by people since we started thinking about how to make things, but a few individuals have created leaps in understanding by combining ideas with action.
Charles Sorensen, also known as “Henry Ford’s man”, is one of those people. He was a force in creating the Ford production system, installing the first moving line, understanding production work flow, and the five dollar day move. When Henry Ford was creating the first production system, Sorensen was there. Many of the things they accomplished together are still not fully used today, which will be a continuing theme for further posts.
For now, I want to focus on one quote on the difference between doing the work, and supporting those doing the work.
“As may be imagined, the job of putting the car together was a simpler one than handling the materials that had to be brought to it.” – Charles Sorensen (Ford President), his book My Forty Years with Ford, published in 1956. Those words are just as true today.
So, don’t take it from me, take it from a person who had a direct hand and front row seat in creating a dynamic production system from scratch – start with the processes that support the work being done. We call this internal logistics: the flow of information and materials to enable value added work.
Inspiration for this post from:
- Taiichi Ohno, Toyota Production System – Beyond Large-Scale Production
- Charles Sorensen, My Forty Years with Ford