To appreciate this mistake, it is first necessary to see how Trimloss completely
avoids making this error. With the lean manufacturing methods used in Trimloss,
a production manager knows that all the major operations like glass cutting, glass
toughening and sealed unit assembly are going to run at, or nearly at, their maximum
possible speeds. He can also make simple calculations for the volume of Georgian
and leaded work in a batch of sealed units. He knows these figures not only for
the current work in progress, but also for the next batch of work he is about to
commit for production. After allowing a small overhead for the simple remake procedures
he operates, he therefore knows fairly accurately when all the orders in the next
batch will be completed. He can therefore schedule well in advance either which
delivery vehicle the next batch will be on, or inform the customers when their completed
orders will be ready for collection. His customers like this because it means that
they can schedule their installation work with confidence well ahead of actual delivery.
What is wrong with the system described above? The answer is nothing at all and
it is the system used by the vast majority of successful glass shop production managers
throughout the world. The only extra vital ingredient to make this system work is
a glass shop manager with very good organisation and management skills. When these
skills are even slightly lacking, this purchasing mistake can rear its ugly head.
When I received my initial training in IT from IBM, the lecturer first took a little
time to explain a simple concept which is as true today as it was then. His message
was “COMPUTERS CANNOT MANAGE - ONLY MANAGERS CAN MANAGE”. He qualified this remark
by saying that computers can greatly assist managers to manage, by providing the
right information at the right time.
It tends to be company managers with little or no experience in the glass industry
who make this mistake. Evidence shows that they don’t make this mistake for very
long. Guess why?
This purchasing mistake occurs when a glass company manager decides to dispense with
all the correct procedures described above, or because the software he is using does
not give him total control of all work in progress, so instead he decides to replace
the knowledge of work completion with reliance on individual bar code scanning of
each completed sealed unit. Does this system work, I sense you thinking. The answer
is yes, but without any predictions of when a customer’s orders will be completed
and not even any predictions of when some of his orders will even be commenced. This
method uses the illogical principle that you let the shop floor do what it wants
to do, whenever it wants to do it, resulting in incomplete or very late customer
deliveries. This very often happens when the production manager has a lack of management
or organisation skills. (See - About Potential Customers / Academia Man )
Bar code scanning might be useful as a supplement to all the correct procedures described
above, but certainly not as a replacement for them. With the organised racking of
finished sealed units practised in Trimloss, any missing sealed units can easily
be identified at a glance so bar code scanning has little or no benefit. Where bar
code scanning could be useful is when the finished products are windows, rather than
sealed units, which could be of various materials made in different parts of a factory
and which because of size variations, cannot all be stacked together for final checking
of batch completion. Individual parts of a window can also usually be processed
in any sequence and they are usually easy to handle. The same cannot be said of
glass which is much more difficult to handle and often requires segregation and sequencing
according to different production processes as evidenced in Trimloss. Bar code scanning
might be of slight assistance to a delivery driver, as a cross check on delivered
It was a press release in 2011 from one of our competitors, extolling the virtues
of bar codes in the production system at one of his customers, that inspired the
writing of this page. It seemed evident to us that his customer was heading for
a fall and 12 months later this same customer went into liquidation.
When the products in question are unknown, or are in a random sequence, like those
in a supermarket shopping trolley, then barcode scanning is obviously an ideal solution.
When the identity and sequence of the products is known right from the start and
throughout every stage of production and delivery, as with a Trimloss system, then
using bar codes at any stage, is to allow poor production managers to throw away
a huge advantage.
Our advice to company managers, to avoid this mistake is this.
Find a production manager with a combination of leadership, organisational and communication
skills and say firmly but politely to him or her, “Ensure that all the deliveries
to our customers are complete, on time and without quality faults, or you may find
that your position could be replaced”.
If all this advice is followed, then the result is happy and loyal customers, who
we find are more than happy to pay extra for your often unique service.
The difficult part of this whole philosophy is to find a production manager with
all the right qualities. They also need to be able to achieve the desired results
without shirking their responsibility by behaving in a draconion manner with their
shop floor staff.
Another essential ingredient is of course to be using the whole Trimloss system with
its many unique cost saving features.
There have, in recent years, been several very large sealed unit manufacturers who
did not have the management philosophy we advocate. They have now either dissappeared,
or have been taken over and rebadged by a much larger company anxious not to lose
any of their market share supplying goods to these manufacturers.