Application of self directed work teams for lean production
The crisis in manufacturing has focused many researchers on the drive to successfully implement the lean manufacturing methodology in their production facilities. In this quest, the role of Self Directed Work Teams (SDWT) as the central core of successful lean production has been discovered. Implementing SDWT is a complicated process as it includes many issues related culture change which requires a great deal of motivation by all. This action research project was performed at a plant in the Detroit metro area that was looking for ways to dramatically increase its productivity. The main challenge was how to increase productivity while, at the same time, maintaining or even increasing worker morale. SDWT was identified as the solution for achieving the objectives of simultaneous increase in productivity and morale. Implementation of SDWT covered all eight (8) lines in the plant and was initiated by forming of teams and then training the teams in order to establish the necessary base for the empowerment with accountability that is inherent in the SDWT concept. Over a period of several months our research provided all the necessary coaching needed in order to enable the SDWTs to function as a team with good morale and achieve good coordination within the team. In addition, the teams performed several Kaizens under the guidance of the researcher for this project. The final outcome for the research is that, over time, the teams have developed to become a true community working together very well and as a result, productivity has increased very significantly. This research describes the work that was done in facilitating this SDWT implementation and overcoming the hurdles associated with culture change. Together, our findings provide a recipe to guide future SDWT implementations in production settings.
|Year of publication:||
|Authors:||Bhupathiraju, Sree Harshaw|
Wayne State University
|Type of publication:||Other|
ETD Collection for Wayne State University
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