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Joe Vollbrach, Vice President of operations at Murphy Manufacturing, had received a directive from his CEO to investigate the feasibility of implementing lean manufacturing concepts and consider implementing them, if he found them appropriate. Although apprehensive about the new system at first, Joe was convinced of the superiority of this system after going through a number of articles that publicized the success that other organizations had experienced after implementing these systems. Consequently, Joe implemented the new system in Murphy Manufacturing, but before long found that the promised benefits failed to materialize at Murphy. Things came to a head when the fourth quarter results for that year came out, and revealed a loss in spite of increase in sales volumes. Joe received a barrage of complaints from practically every function in the business about how the new system was hampering their work. Clearly, it was the lean manufacturing system that he had introduced that was behind the reported losses. Joe had to explain the reasons for the loss and propose a course of action for the future. In particular, Joe had to address the two questions of what went wrong and why, and what needs to be done to correct the situation.
A number of things went wrong with the implementation of the lean manufacturing system. These problems were the result of the manner in which the new system was implemented rather than any fundamental defect in the system itself. A look into the problems encountered and why they arose would be helpful in making decisions about the future course of action to be adopted.
What went wrong and why they went wrong
A number of things went wrong with the implementation of the lean manufacturing system, resulting in additional costs, delays and poor utilization of capacity. There were problems with purchasing, receiving, manufacturing, and sales. Most of these problems, however, can be traced to faulty...
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