MCAD Tech News #155

19 Oct, 2005 By: Jeffrey Rowe

Cadalyst MCAD Tech News

Lean Manufacturing, Part 3

The concept of lean consumption takes process efficiencies one step further: to the consumer

In the past two issues of MCAD Tech News (click here for archives), we discussed how the full benefits of lean manufacturing are realized when its principles are applied enterprisewide, and how optimizing manufacturing can pay huge dividends. I want to conclude this short series on lean principles and trends by introducing a relatively new concept known as lean consumption -- an interesting extension of lean principles relating to process management and production. This is a very different spin on lean practices and one that is just starting to gain traction.

Deteriorating Consumer Experiences
Probably the best current resource on lean consumption is a book I just finished, Lean Solutions: How Companies and Customers Can Create Wealth Together, by James Womack and Daniel Jones. The concept of lean consumption arose from observations made by the two authors. Although they are encouraged by the number of organizations improving their internal processes through lean production practices, they also note that the "experiences of consumers seem to be deteriorating." Lean consumption's main focus is improving processes to ensure that consumers get exactly the goods and services they want.

The authors are well-recognized authorities in the lean-business movement. Lean Solutions is their fifth book together and, as in their previous books, gets a lot of its inspiration from the authors' interest in Japanese business methods and philosophies. Read more >>

Made in China, Part One: Dance with the Dragon or Scramble for Cover

by Kenneth Wong

If global economy is an international conglomerate, then China is its factory floor. When Frontline correspondent Hedrick Smith asked port officials at Long Beach, California, to comment on the shipping containers being shuffled back and forth between the United States and China, he was told, "We export cotton; we bring in clothing. We export hides; we bring in shoes. We export scrap metal; we bring back machinery" (Frontline, "Is Wal-Mart Good for America?" And if you want more concrete proof, try this: The Dragon accounts for almost 50% of the world's concrete consumption, 40% of steel consumption and 35% of coal consumption (The Jakarta Post, "Spillovers from China," May 7, 2004). It's difficult to imagine a supply chain that lies beyond the Dragon's clutch. When a powerful creature is awakened from its long slumber, there are two ways to deal with it: scramble for cover or learn to dance with it.

To do justice to this broad topic, I'll devote two installments, beginning with opportunities and anxieties this month, and concluding with the North American advantage next month. Read more >>

Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events
Practical Data Management Solutions Webcast
October 20, 2005, 11 a.m. PT

Presented by Autodesk, free online event will discuss how to take control of design data and make sure it gets into the hands of key players, as well as which Autodesk solutions can facilitate the process.

Euromold 2005
November 30-December 3, 2005

Exhibition Center, Frankfurt, Germany
Annual conference and exhibition. Seminar highlights include "Future Industrial Applications of Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing," presented by DEMAT and Wohlers Associates, to focus on the future of additive fabrication technologies in mainstream and emerging industries.

For Cadalyst's full calendar of events, click here>>