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Lean and Six Sigma Create Valuable Synergies for RFID Adopters
Here's how to achieve the greatest return from your company's RFID investment, and facilitate continuous improvement.
Aug 27, 2012—Those who use and study RFID frequently stress the importance of utilizing the technology to enable value-adding process changes (for example, see Managerial Guidance for Applying RFID in the Tourism Industry), but some businesses find it difficult to identify opportunities for improvement. One way overcome that problem is to apply lean and Six Sigma principles to reap greater benefits from RFID on an ongoing basis.
The lean implementation at the GM-Toyota New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) automotive plant in Fremont, Calif.—which operated from 1984 until closing in 2010—illustrates many of the process-improvement principles that are relevant for getting the most out of RFID investments. Paul Adler, a professor at the University of Southern California, described NUMMI's history and key characteristics in the articles Time-and-Motion Regained and Flexibility Versus Efficiency? A Case Study of Model Changeovers in the Toyota Production System.
Adler identified trust and training as the critical contextual factors behind the success of NUMMI's lean efforts. Mutual trust between management and assembly workers was vital, because instead of relying primarily on methods engineers to drive continuous improvement, NUMMI asked the assembly workers to take much greater responsibility.
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