David Thompson Posted:
So very, very true. It beggars belief that we consider ourselves to be a developed nation when so much of our economy is based on selling milk powder or logs. BTW, I own a Plinius amplifier (my second) that drives a set of Theophany speakers.
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David Thompson Posted:
A robust but sobering report. It concerns me that confidence is rising, yet sales and exports are down and "manufacturers and exporters are still lagging behind other sectors". Surely we should wait until we're earning more money before we start spending more?
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siemens Posted:
Yes true! The only thing that will never die in this world is the nature and its science behind it. Great post.
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Kieran Ormandy Posted:
Thanks for the question Steven, Germany has seen increases in manufacturing employment since 2009, and Switzerland has had stable manufacturing employment between 2006 – 2011, even in the face of ongoing Euro-zone issues. Korea has seen increases in manufacturing employment since 2008 and Israel experienced large increases since 1998, while being stable over the last 4 years. Singapore has had increases in manufacturing employment over the last two years. These countries all value their manufacturing sectors and work to protect them, this is reflected in the above numbers and their performance through the GFC. Note data around the above examples was sourced from OECD labour market stats.
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John Walley Posted:
Point one: you should have no doubt what our Association says publically represent the views of our members. Point two: we don’t knee jerk responses, if you trace back our comments around NZPower you will see them link all the way back to our research in 2004 and 2005. All that material is fully linked from our comments above. Point three: you will note our comments on major users, sadly the same advantage does not accrue to smaller industrial users. The perverse incentives of the LRMC approach in all this are well known. Point four: the NZMEA is not like any other Association in New Zealand we admit only manufacturers and exporters into membership, and our public expressions are the views of that restricted membership.
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Productivity in Practice Tour - A W Fraser site visit

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The Productivity in Practice Tour got under way on the 16th of February with a visit to A W Fraser.

A W Fraser is the leading manufacturer of engineered bronze components and brass and bronze sections in Australasia. With 90% of products exported to over 25 countries, they have been a significant Christchurch exporter for over 40 years. Customers include many blue chip corporations such as Caterpillar, GE, GM, Brunswick, Westinghouse, Yamaha, Bosch and SEW, to name a few. They are the only brass extruder in Australasia and operate the largest production turning workshop in New Zealand.

Over the past three years they have run an impressive business improvement programme under the banner of Theory of Constraints (TOC) to effect significant improvements throughout the organisation.

This process has moved through four steps:

  • The initial implementation in 2007 systemised product flow and reduced “firefighting behaviour”, thereby freeing up management time and energy to focus on process improvement. Implementation was carried out with the guidance of consultants from Viago. Six-month outcomes were; Delivery In Full On Time from 65% to 95%, inventory down one million, internal communication dramatically improved and a platform in place to enable process improvement.
  • Phase two or “Elevate The Constraint” commenced in 2008 had the aim of significantly growing the business. More people were employed and various improvement projects were run. Outcomes by late 2008 were gross margin up 20% and raw material cost down by 5%.
  • Phase three was one of survival through the global recession. On average sales to traditional customers fell. Through 2009 the business constraint shifted to bringing new products into production. Systems were developed to expedite new product development causing revenue to recover.
  • Phase four starting late in 2009 was colloquially described as “get back on the horse”. The focus returned to longer term strategic issues and centred around operational excellence. Key issues were raw material costs, labour efficiency and lowering inventory all using a TOC type approach. The two most significant outcomes so far are inventory down another two million and raw material costs down another 2%.

Philip Benson, Strategic Development Manager at A W Fraser said, "Without Theory of Constraints we would not have got through the global downturn.”

"The next challenge for AW Fraser will be balancing the need to run process improvement with rapid response to increases in demand."

Greg Foot who attended the tour from Enatel said, “All in all I thought the tour was very informative and interesting. It was great to see what other companies within NZ do and how they operate.”

For more information on the Productivity in Practice Tour click here.

tags: productivity in practice, lean manufacturing, theory of constraints, aw fraser


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