From the Archives of a Common Sensei volume 30: ENGINEERING CHANGE PROCEDURE FOR NON-INTERCHANGEABLE PARTS (Imported Purchased Parts)

This volume of From the Archives of a Common Sensei is a continuation of volumes 28 and 29 and discusses the Engineering Change Procedure for Non-Interchangeable Imported Parts. This volume discussion will close out our three-volume series (28, 29 and 30) on the topic of engineering change. As referenced in Blog volume 28, during the early days (1990’s) of Toyota Industrial Equipment (TIEM) in the US, we had to give consideration to many different processes as we developed the manufacturing operations. In my previous blog postings, I have tried to describe in (short form) how we went about many of these operational developments.

In this volume 30, I present the process for imported but non-interchangeable parts. As in volumes 28 and 29, the handwritten original examples are too big to display at the same time, so I split this engineering change process into three volumes to simplify the overall process of engineering change. Some of you might be more concerned with an engineering change procedure for domestic parts and some might be more concerned with imported parts. The three articles in Blogs 28, 29, and 30 are presented here to potentially give you ideas for your organization.

In the example supplied here (Vol. 30) for Imported Non-Interchangeable Purchased Parts, it is again noted that during those early days of the TIEM startup (1989+) the engineering was done by the TIEM parent company (TAL) and delivered to the TIEM operation (Domestic Company) in Columbus, Indiana. From that point, the process example tracks through the Parental Company actions, Domestic Company Engineering Section, Production Section, and the Material Control Section, and Accounting. The procedure includes steps for checking inventories, Kanban handling, change date determination from old parts to new parts, receiving of new parts, and how to manage the associated Kanban’s. As stated in previous blog volumes, in the mid-1990’s a substantial portion of product engineering was a joint effort by the local facility and the parent company in Japan. In previous blogs, I have also explained how we encouraged our customers, plant associates, and managers to work with Engineering to create improvements in quality, cost, convenience, service needs, etc. Again, this example, and the previous examples (Vol. 28 and 29), are intended only as examples from which you may be able to gain some ideas.

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In this volume 23 of “From the Archives of a Common Sensei” we will discussThe Intention of Developing a Management  Planning Process”. We will follow this discussion with volume 24 in which we will discuss more in depth development ofThe Framework of an Organizations Plan”. As with previous blog articles in this series, most (including this volume) are drawn from work I did back in the early 90’s while developing the Toyota Industrial Equipment (TIEM) facility in Columbus, Indiana. The contents and approach contained within this article could today be called Hoshin Kanri or Management Deployment. Back in those early days of Toyota Thinking in the US, I simply called it “Focus Alignment”! To me, it seemed on target with what we were trying to accomplish by gaining a targeted focus and making sure we had alignment throughout the entire organization. Besides, at that time, there seemed to be more resistance to using Japanese terms for practices used in the US. My experience was a mixture of introducing new and foreign concepts and simultaneously building a new manufacturing facility. Add to this the hiring of American staff who were amenable to learning new concepts and principles, while also helping the Japanese staff acclimate to Americans and our traditional way of working. All this while also making sure that their families had favorable transitions to their new community (thanks to my wife for making this a reality).

During these early days and today the planning process (and principles driving it) is the foundation on which success has been realized. For reader simplification, I have broken this topic into two separate but combined discussions. In volume 23 we discuss The Intention of Developing a Planning Process” and in volume 24 we will go into more detail on “The Framework of an Organizations plan”. Please keep in mind that today, three decades later, many of us might take these practices for granted, but not so typical then (and maybe not even today😊)! One additional thought: while reading this volume 23 and the next volume 24, read it as appropriate for your organization. By this I mean, DON’T get hung up on the fact that this process was created for an early US Toyota manufacturing organization. These practices are every bit as appropriate for any organization! In fact, I have applied them in nearly every business sector and government.

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