1 Production Optimization

The design of optimal production procedures is a factory planner's most important and central duty. Since there's nothing as practical as a good theory, the targeted increase of a production's effectiveness must be based on a sound and sophisticated method. In order to achieve sustainable improvement, all previous habitual production procedures must be systematically challenged and developed in a suitably target-oriented manner. The book at hand aims to conclusively illustrate the respective outstanding effectiveness of the value stream method.

1.1 The Organization of Production

The organization of industrial production happens in factories, designed to include five dimensions: location, structure of the factory site, factory building including factory structure and layout, production logistics and work organization. A factory is a complex sociotechnical system and thus a technomorphically designed and lived-in living space for living people. A factory, seen as a space for living, could be referred to as a technotope - in line with the term 'biotope'. The human existence takes place - and particularly so in a factory - in a technical environment.

A factory's production procedure with all its correlations is best holistically observed from the value stream perspective - with a focus on value creation. The effectual logic of a lean factory is entrenched in a Sysiphusian struggle of constant production improvement. Continuous improvement is the force that pulls the rotating wheel of the value stream upwards on the steep slope of production quality with the aid of an appropriate work organization. Waste of any kind is an obstacle which must be overcome through increased effort in the realization of improvement measures. Once implemented, improvements are secured through standardization, because positive production procedures are characterized by repetitive execution of procedures in an identical manner.

1.2 The Four Goals of Production

The primary objectives of production are known as the 'holy trinity' of cost, quality, and time - though this sequence may vary according to 'felt' importance. As goals, these three points are not precisely formulated - desired are low production costs, high product qualities, and short lead times in production and order processing. Recently, though rarely, the product variety on offer has sometimes been included in these production goals. Gone are the times of mass production, characterized by Henry Ford's statement, "You can have any colour you want, as long as it is black."

Production optimization aims at the constant improvement of production efficiency with respect to four conflicting goal dimensions. These four dimensions - variability, quality, speed and cost-effectiveness - are reflected in the market as the success factors of the respective products. The essential strategic parameters of a production are comprehensively defined with the aid of the market goals of availability, delivery capability, delivery reliability, delivery time and price.