Manufacturing companies need reports to improve efficiency and increase profits. Often manufacturing companies create reports to measure productivity and utilization of equipment. Using a variety of analysis tools, managers tailor reports to measure key metrics. Companies produce reports to measure the success of lean manufacturing, Six Sigma and continuous improvement.
Six Sigma Reports
Manufacturing companies utilize Six Sigma reports to improve performance by identifying the key areas to focus on improving. Six Sigma is based on the belief that companies have limited resources, therefore, must concentrate resources on areas with the most impact. To identify the areas with the most potential for improvement, statistical analysis is employed. Manufacturing companies aim to reduce errors and increase profits using Six Sigma reports to measure progress. Managers with Six Sigma expertise are designated 'black belts' and produce reports to drive improvement decision making.
Lean Manufacturing Reports
Manufacturing companies often adopt lean manufacturing strategies to improve profits and use reports to measure these efforts. Companies measure utilization, labor, productivity and throughput, which is the speed a firm can convert materials into finished products. Often it is important to improve these categories because manufacturing companies need to meet market demand or lose sales to competitors. Improvements allow companies to shorten lead time and to cut prices. Lean manufacturing reports also aid management in forecasting labor requirements and future plant expansions.
Kaizen reports are useful for measuring the cumulative effect of continuous improvement efforts. Kaizen is a Japanese manufacturing strategy of continuous improvement. Manufacturing companies break down the manufacturing process into small steps to determine what changes can be made to save time, money and resources. Managers often work on Kaizen projects with assembly line workers and brainstorm small incremental manufacturing improvements. Over time the cumulative effect of these small improvements dramatically increase efficiency. Managers measure how effective Kaizen initiatives are with efficiency improvement reports.
Six Sigma projects often do not achieve success. According to the Wall Street Journal, these projects usually start well, but lose steam over time. The Wall Street Journal found that many improvement projects do not survive the departure of the Six Sigma expert. The workers are left on their own and have trouble identifying what tasks to prioritize. In addition, without the expert on site providing leadership, some unit cohesion is lost and teams cannot always agree on new goals. In addition, sometimes Six Sigma is applied to processes that are not a good fit for statistical analysis.
- "Harvard Business Review"; Six Sigma Quality at Flyrock Tires; Sunil Chopra; January 2004
- "Harvard Business Review"; Esterline Technologies: Lean Manufacturing; Richard L. Nolan, et al; May 2006
- "The Wall Street Journal"; Where Process-Improvement Projects Go Wrong; Satya S. Chakravorty; January 2010
- Deloitte: Lean Manufacturing Case Study
Kevin O'Flynn began writing in 2008 with a background in private equity. He has written for MilitarySpot.com and lived and worked in the United Kingdom and Japan. O'Flynn holds a Master of Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University.