The Toyota Production System (TPS) is commonly thought of as the most powerful model for efficient design and management of large scale production environments. TPS has helped develop Toyota Motor Corporation from a struggling, small truck manufacturer after World War II to the world’s largest manufacturer of cars by April of 2007.
In order to produce world-class, quality automobiles at competitive price levels, Toyota has developed an integrated approach to production which manages equipment, materials, and people in the most efficient manner while ensuring a healthy and safe work environment. deals on copies
The Toyota Production System is built on two main principles: “Just-In-Time” production and “Jidoka.”
“Just in Time” – The conveyance of only what is needed, when it is needed, and in the amount it is needed.
“Jidoka” – The ability to stop production lines, by man or machine, in the event of problems such as equipment malfunction, quality issues, or late work.
Toyota’s Business Problem: Print Related Problems Were Negatively Impacting Takt Time and Continuous Flow Processing
Printers located on the assembly line throughout Toyota’s North American Assembly Plants had been installed to print instructions for production line teams. These instructions (known as Kanban) ensure that the production line teams can correctly install parts and components on a vehicle as it moves into their production station.
In order for the Toyota Production System to be successful, a concept known as Continuous Flow Processing, which is based on “Takt Time,” must be maintained throughout the entire production process.
Takt time is the time which should be taken to produce a component on one vehicle. The Takt time allows Toyota to produce numerous parts of many different types for use in vehicles on the production schedule and to supply those parts to each process on the assembly line at the proper time. This keeps production on schedule (Continuous Flow) and permits flexible response to changes in sales.
Print Spooler Process Problems Required Jidoka
Process breakdowns are not an option in order to maintain the proper Takt time required to ensure Continuous Flow.
However, we all know that printers will fail from time to time. Whether the printer problem is a print spooler problem, a paper jam, a media shortage, or a print job management or delivery problem, print problems do happen.
When a print process breaks down, Jidoka (the ability to stop production lines manually) occurs until the problem is resolved. This prevents quality issues or late work from occurring; however, it negatively impacts Takt time and greatly impaired Toyota’s ability to maintain “Just in Time” Continuous Flow production.
Defining the Business Problem through Kaizen
Improvements and suggestions by Toyota team members are the cornerstone of Toyota’s success.
Using the TPS system of Kaizen (continuous improvement) the Toyota IT team began to spec out a solution to their print process problems.
The IT team determined that a solution was needed to eliminate print problems altogether to prevent negative impact on Continuous Flow and Takt time.
The print spooler solution would need to:
- Notify their Manufacturing (MRP) Application Help Desk within 60 seconds of any print job delivery failure. That notification must contain enough information for the problem to be fixed quickly and easily. a. This needed to be done by translating SNMP error codes from printers to Error Codes used by their MRP Application. b. This could not require any changes to their Manufacturing and Production Application.
- Be able to re-route the failed print job to an alternate printer at the production station so that Takt time would not be impacted nor would Jidoka be required.
- Replace the limited print spooling functionality they currently had. (They knew from experience that neither the HP-UX environment that produced the Kanban text data nor the Windows system that merges that text with an electronic form had a print spooling system capable of solving their print job delivery failure issues.)
- Work with virtually any network attached printer from any vendor.
OM Plus Print Spooler Solution from Plus Technologies Eliminates the Print Problems
As a result of the shortcomings in their native print spooling systems, the Toyota IT team determined that they needed to augment their current system. Relying on the native print spooling systems on their servers just was not up to the standards by which Toyota runs their production system. There were too many cases of print job failures causing production line shut downs which translated into production delays and large costs.