According to most futuristic publications of the 50′s and 60′s (including Popular Mechanics) – our cars should have been able to pilot themselves in the 1990′s. Clearly we are now in the early 2000′s and our vehicles still do not have this capability. In fact – accepted vehicle technology has not progressed much beyond the basic internal combustion engines of the Horseless Carriages that introduced the automobile concept. All that time and no real progress. We are primarily a reciprocating piston, oil lubricated, rubber tire rolling, gasoline consuming society. As economies of other nations rise they are as disinterested in real creativity and innovation as the founding nations of this technology. More to come.
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Donald Leon Farrow utilizes lean food manufacturing processes to improve operations at American Italian Pasta Company. As engineering director for the Excelsior Springs, Missouri-based plant, Donald Leon Farrow knows the savings that can come from implementing lean manufacturing techniques, but incorporating these practices in food-related manufacturing can be challenging. It takes the mind of an engineer like Donald Leon Farrow to creatively design processes that eliminate waste and save money.
As Donald Leon Farrow explains, the goal of lean manufacturing is to remove any processes that do not add value to the manufacturing. Donald Leon Farrow uses the Kaizen process, which focuses on continuous improvement in manufacturing by minimizing downtime and improving the quality of the products being manufactured.
As Donald Leon Farrow explains, it’s important that workers be on board with lean manufacturing policies, since employees are key to its success. Kaizen focuses on “5-S” organization, which consists of these five principles: Separate and Scrap, Straighten, Scrub, Standardize, and Systemize and Spread.
Donald Leon Farrow is regularly called upon to coach others in these methods. Employees attend regular sessions to learn about the Kaizen method, where they learn the importance of problem-solving in streamlining processes and saving money. According to Donald Leon Farrow, this is a crucial element to lean manufacturing success.
The focus at all times should be on providing the product customers want, Donald Leon Farrow points out. In the case of suppliers, this means making sure they have a product that is easy to sell to their customers. At the same time, Donald Leon Farrow emphasizes the importance of keeping costs down. This is done through eliminating waste and enhancing productivity in the day-to-day work of a manufacturing plant.
One of the areas of waste is overstaffing, reports Donald Leon Farrow. As lean processes are implemented, managers may find that fewer employees are needed. Workers may be reallocated or even eliminated, hopefully in some cases through attrition.
As important as it is to fully utilize workers, it’s also important to fully utilize equipment, Donald Leon Farrow believes. Machine downtime is wasted money, and lean manufacturing processes seek to keep machinery operating at full capacity. The challenge for this is keeping inventory in stock to keep this equipment going, and Donald Leon Farrow says that this means that equipment may have to be reevaluated to determine whether or not it is needed on a daily basis.
With the processes he’s put into effect at AIPC, Donald Leon Farrow has been able to save money and improve quality. With the true mind of an engineer, Donald Leon Farrow is consistently looking for ways to improve operations and enhance productivity.
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