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Using quality manufacturing processes

Manufacturing is the process by which raw materials become a finish product. Manufacturing is a wildly diverse field. Manufacturing applies to the metals that make everything from cars to kitchen appliances, the wood that builds homes, the medications that save lives. The one thing that all manufacturing processes have in common is size. Manufacturing processes usually aren't little ones. Manufacturing processes mean a lot of different people doing a lot of different things. These people come from different backgrounds and have different levels of education. Somehow, all the people and all the diverse activities have to be organized and harmonized so that the manufacturing process is like a tidy, effective machine rather than a chaotic waste where no one's sure of what they should be doing.
When considering manufacturing processes, it's important not to let sheer size be the overriding factor in your approach. Manufacturing processes can be said in general to work like any other business process. That is, you have a leadership element, a creative element, a manual labor element, a skilled labor element, a marketing element, and so forth. The creative element in manufacturing usually consists of a pool of engineers who are constantly trying to update the machines and tools that turn raw materials into finished products. Once you begin thinking of manufacturing processes like other business processes, ways of effective organization and operation become clearer.

- One key to using quality manufacturing processes is order. The nature of manufacturing is such that it's impossible for the leadership or management element to be everywhere at once and have a hand in every decision etc. Therefore, your quality manufacturing processes must be implemented deeply and unforgettably in the minds, hearts, and habits of every person in the manufacturing chain. The key to this sort of implementation is teaching and training. The difference between excellent teaching and training and merely good training is the difference between manufacturing processes that are machine-like in their efficiency and manufacturing processes that are more like a Three Stooges routine. The Three Stooges are funny, but an error-ridden manufacturing process isn't.
- Another key to using quality manufacturing processes is consistency. You can't really tell what a manufacturing process will do for you until you've observed it from close up and from far away over a significant period of time. You can't know the merits and demerits of a manufacturing process until you've seen it in all sorts of conditions, and, most importantly, you can't know the merits and demerits of manufacturing process until you've seen how it'll perform over time.
- This leads to another key to using quality manufacturing processes: preparation. As we keep emphasizing, manufacturing processes involve a lot of different people doing a lot of different things, and a lot of different machines doing a lot of different things. Therefore, if you want to implement a manufacturing process and give it the time it needs to mature and really show you what it its value is, you had better make sure that that process is has been tested and thought about and tested and thought about and tested and thought about again and again before you try to implement it. Manufacturing doesn't leave you much room for experimentation and improvisation.
- That said, keep in mind that experimentation and improvisation are important in every aspect of business, large and complicated or not. Don't get so locked into a certain way of thinking about manufacturing processes that you don't know a better thing when you see it. Be curious, allow your mind to be restless when it comes to quality manufacturing processes and the question of their successful implementation.

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