DEVELOPING A NEW METHOD
In this article we are discussing about manufacturing a product by a new method which can reduce the cost of manufacturing as compared to the existing method. Various new methods are studied by a panel of technical experts or examiners and short list it down to one or two. At the end of the critical examination process, the examiner or examining team will have determined:
1. What activities are vital to the objective
2. The order of their performance
3. What activities might be combined
4. Undesirable features that should be eliminated.
5. List of alternatives for Purpose, Place, Sequence, Person and Means or each of the key activities.
Conditions and jobs vary so much that this list is not exhaustive. The development of a new method is simplified to a certain extent by extracting and working with the key activities that are suggested by the conclusion of the critical examination. These are the activities vital to the objective.
Their order of performance is known, and the alternatives for their performance are listed against them. With the background factors in mind, alternatives for each activity need to be selected.
One useful point to look or is the type of alternative that lends itself to a particular alternative in the activity that follows, the idea being that the method used in one key activity can often help minimize the support activities that make ready for the next. When the alternatives have been selected, their supporting links are established, and the proposed method can be charted.
The purpose of the new chart is to:
a) Check for detail and further improvement.
b) Compare with any alternative method developed.
c) Compare with present method to help estimate savings.
d) Become part of the basis for defining the new method.
One aspect of the evaluation to be done at this state is to test vital features by experimentation. Mistakes can be made on paper but they must be discovered and corrected before they can do harm. Here are a few points that give purpose to such trials:
(i) Prove that each feature is practical and safe.
(ii) Ensure that quality standards can be maintained
(iii) Discover snags to be eliminated.
(iv) Modify or incorporate new suggestions.
(v) Check services required to operate properly.
(vi) Check assessment of staffing and training requirement.
Where and how these experiments are carried out depends on conditions, but whether carried out in the shop or in a test area, there are going to be disadvantages that can only be offset by quality of co-operation existing between the personnel involved. If people can see and agree with the need for the improvements and the type of trials taking place, then the danger of rumor and obstructive attitudes will be minimized.
This is the final stage. It has five stages:
1. Acceptability of change at the supervisory level.
2. Acceptability of change at the works/general manager level.
3. Acceptability of change at the workers/union level.
4. Retention of workers to operate new systems.
5. Continuous monitoring to see the application of new method.
Stage 5 is considered as under maintenance. Casual changes may occur due to so many factors. In order to maintain a method, we need to compare what happens in subsequent practice with the original specifications. They need examination and study.