What is a production system?
Last update: February 14th, 2010
Each major firm defines itself a "production system", more or less directly inspired by the mythical
Toyota Production System (TPS).
If we assume a firm utilises resources, like raw material, human workforce and machines to transform raw material into finished goods, satisfying customers requirements by adding value, then, a production system is the set of practices, rules, tools and methods altogether building the industrial culture of the firm.
These practices, rules, tools and methods allow the workforce to make the best use of machines and raw material in order to manufacture efficiently the goods the customers are waiting for.
A production system is a reference "book". When choosing to write this type of book, the firms also choose to embed the best known practices.
A production system allows to structure the industrial culture and to share it, to align all units and personnel share a same vision, to have a consistent and same approach of the organization and the roll out of these practices.
How do production systems originate?
First driver for the creation of a production system is company's growth. Its size and numbers of
employees require structuration and mastering the variability in methods and practices.
These perturbations and the consequent need of control drive companies to fix the standards and seek a "80% identical 20% specific" approach. Production systems help fixing and sharing standard practices. They are a response to a real need, not a matter of the latest trend. The possible pitfall is to create a collection of theoretical "best practices" which aren't operational.
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