Content By Thomas R. Cutler

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By: Thomas R. Cutler

In a repetitive manufacturing environment, Six Sigma’s quantification is much easier than in the engineer-to-order (ETO) manufacturing environment, where no two products are identical.

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By: Thomas R. Cutler

The tagline to the 1989 film "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" was “The Enterprise is back. This time, have they gone too far?”

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By: Thomas R. Cutler

The key to quality throughput within a warehouse, especially in a high-speed/high-volume environment, is the ability to move a carton into and out of a pick zone expeditiously.

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By: Thomas R. Cutler

Challenges

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By: Thomas R. Cutler

At the Shorewood Packaging Midland Avenue facility in Toronto, real-time information helps yield world-class lean manufacturing results. Shorewood Packaging is part of International Paper, which has operations in more than 40 countries and sells its products in more than 120 nations. Shorewood Packaging has three plants in Ontario, Canada, and is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of premium packaging.

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By: Thomas R. Cutler

Manufacturing products produces waste that ranges from overproduction, waiting time, and transportation costs to overprocessing, excess inventory, unnecessary motion and scrap. By eliminating these wastes, production time and cost of goods sold (COGS) are reduced, and quality is improved. COGS reduction is one of the fundamental drivers of a lean manufacturing initiative.

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By: Thomas R. Cutler

Kanban, e-kanban and digital kanban aren’t the same. Kanban is a Japanese term that means "signal." It’s one of the primary tools of just-in-time (JIT) systems. It signals a cycle of replenishment for production and materials, and it should maintain an orderly and efficient flow of materials throughout the entire manufacturing process.

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By: Thomas R. Cutler

Is enterprise resource planning (ERP) software helping or hindering quality? Many companies that purchased their first ERP package years ago now find that the system is hindering their efforts to adopt new quality initiatives, including lean manufacturing and Six Sigma. Since the purchase several years ago, the business has changed, and the ERP system wasn’t flexible enough to keep pace.

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By: Thomas R. Cutler

Many organizations are turning to outside operations-expense management companies due to the recognition of billing scrutiny as a key quality control and quality assurance issue. “When performing bill-auditing and rate-analysis services, many utilities in the United States have errors on at least one to three percent of the bills they send to their customers and have at least some of their customers on the wrong rate.

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By: Thomas R. Cutler

In repetitive manufacturing, it’s possible to apply statistical process control (SPC) techniques to purchased components and manufacturing quality as well as scrap and yield. Statistical analysis is acceptable if a company mass-purchases or mass-manufactures the same product to the same standards every time. The essence of engineer-to-order (ETO) is building a unique complex product every time.