The concept of World Class Manufacturing (WCM), which was born in the 1980s, allowed to identify which factors had lead companies to become very successful and to establish themselves as global industry leaders. WCM is used to describe the several steps that will progressively make it possible for a company to optimize its production process: the place given to individuals becomes central and determines the adoption of such a strategy.
What are the well-kept secrets of companies that successfully implemented this concept, like Toyota or Fiat?
Impact of WCM in the Industry
WCM is a comprehensive management system designed to enhance a company’s performances by eliminating industrial waste (stock surpluses, production waste…), in line with lean manufacturing. The whole approach actually relies on quality and productivity improvement, breakdowns decrease as well as customer satisfaction. To complete this strategy, the whole team has to get involved and to master all the means at its disposal.
Decision-makers also have to support the strategy by remaining aware of new techniques implemented, by taking a critical look at their processes and by keeping an open mind. All managers need to establish clear objectives to make their teams succeed and to motivate them. Ultimately, WCM is all about encouraging collective and progressive spirit.
Even if it can seem like it takes a long time for WCM to be fully implemented, the process should be followed step by step and the teams’ potential should always be taken into account: they are the ones who make it possible for a company to become successful. Within such a framework, TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) and RCM (Reliability-centered Maintenance) are closely linked.
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The 10 Pillars of WCM
Before implementing WCM, companies must be aware that this strategy relies on two major aspects.
On the first hand, it is of major importance for structures to concentrate their attention on the method they are about to put in force and on the results they want to achieve. It is crucial to use thorough means based on the 10 principles WCM is based on.
On the other hand, this strategy won’t work if it doesn’t fit with the corporate culture or the management techniques in place. The principles and values that are at the forefront of the company’s strategy determine the mindset of all employees. Without a proper and well-established corporate culture, WCM cannot work.
Pillar 1 – Safety and Health
This first principle refers to the work environment of operators. Of course, current standards have to be met in order to guarantee optimum working conditions and eliminate accident risks.
Pillar 2 – Supply Chain Logistic
It is all about applying the principles of lean manufacturing, which consists in progressively eliminating all kind of waste at any step of the production line.
Pillar 3 – Costs
This pillar refers to the ability of a structure to always associate a cost to the different problems it identifies on its production line, in order to face them and to be aware of their potential impact.
Pillar 4 – Focused Improvement
Concerning this fourth pillar, it is similar to the Kaizen method and aims to implement focused improvement projects by constantly involving each employee. Adopting this method will allow building strong value-added know-how among the teams, who will have the possibility to rely on several management tools.
Pillar 5 – Quality maintenance
This fifth principle is once again based on lean manufacturing, given that this method is key if a company wants to implement WCM. Quality is a major component in the whole manufacturing process in order to guarantee an optimized and waste-free production.
Pillar 6 – Autonomous maintenance
It is important to support employees in the acquisition of new competencies. Within the framework of WCM, implementing autonomous maintenance in capital-intensive areas and organizing the workplace accordingly is inevitable.
Mobility Work CMMS allows operators and technicians to be autonomous: task creation, maintenance plans, notifications for every new activity…
Pillar 7 – Quality maintenance
The aim is to implement a reliable maintenance model in order to progressively increase equipment availability and reliability. It allows plants to reduce costs and to maintain them.
Pillar 8 – Customer Satisfaction
WCM, of course, means that companies must, at any time, ensure complete customer satisfaction. The execution time, for instance, has to be optimized, and the claim rate has to be tackled. In order to do so, companies need to clearly identify their customers’ needs in order to meet them.
Pillar 9 – Education & Training
Based on the assumption that succeeding in the implementation of the strategy depends on a whole group, the employees must all be trained. Each one of them had to find its place: they must know about the current methods and standards and acquire the necessary competencies. In order to guarantee a smooth adoption of World Class Manufacturing, the human factor is absolutely essential, that is why companies must invest time in training.
Pillar 10 – Environment
This aspect is too often left behind, although it is of major importance in WCM. If they want to promote a more responsible approach and therefore improve their strategy, companies have to take action to preserve the environment and to significantly save energy.
Autonomous Maintenance as an Additional Factor for Success
If this form of industrial maintenance echoes with WCM, it’s because it aims to give more autonomy to operators and maintenance technicians, in line with Pillars 6 and 9.
Autonomous maintenance allows teams to feel more responsible: in a word, machine operators, as well as technicians (maintenance or production), must be able to quickly identify equipment’s dysfunctions and to diagnose them before they get worse and lead to a breakdown.
This method should also help them understand all the features and know all machines’ components to detect dysfunctions. The person in charge should be capable of making predictions so that the problems can be fixed as quickly as possible. Therefore, the objective of autonomous maintenance is to give operators (technicians or not) the means to perform first-level tasks as soon as a problem is detected.
For maintenance teams to be autonomous, a company has to equip them with CMMS software (Computerized Maintenance Management System). The mobile application Mobility Work, for example, works like a real maintenance social network. For only €30 per month, technicians can benefit from all features; they register their tasks and activities, visualize their equipment sheets, plan their working days thanks to the calendar and share information to keep track of all activities.
Create your equipment sheets in the maintenance management app Mobility Work in order to trigger tasks and activities
Thanks to such a CMMS solution, teams are assigned to the tasks they have to perform, they can react quickly and therefore avoid tremendous financial loss. Technicians even have the possibility, in the app, to directly exchange with their colleagues and to access a free analytic tool that presents all maintenance data in graphs and diagrams. Mobility Work CMMS allows plants (from the same industrial group or not) to exchange good practices and advice when they face the same issues.
More pragmatically, you can equip your machines with QR codes or NFC chips to scan them and access the corresponding sheets in your CMMS software, or with sensors that send all data to your application. Sensors indeed measure very precise indicators (motor temperature, oil levels…) and send this data to Mobility Work, allowing technicians who perform autonomous maintenance to visualize major information they need to be aware of before working on the machine.
Thanks to World Class Manufacturing, to autonomous maintenance and to the implementation of a CMMS solution, companies can optimize their processes to enhance their production line, train the different teams to increase their autonomy and reduce industrial waste to ensure customer satisfaction.