Author: Jim Riley Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012
Time-based Management is an aspect of Lean Production. It is a general approach that recognises the importance of time and seeks to reduce the level of unproductive time in an organisation. Benefits include:
Quicker response times (reduced lead times) to meet changing market and customer needs
Faster new product development
Reduction in waste, therefore greater efficiency
For a firm to operate time-based management effectively, it needs to have flexible production facilities that enable it to make changes easily. For example, it may need to be able to switch production quickly between different products and to alter the length of production runs as needed.
As with other aspects of Lean Production, Time-based management also calls for flexible, multi-skilled staff, and a culture of mutual trust between workers and managers.
Simultaneous Engineering is part of the Time-based Management approach. It is a project management approach that helps firms develop and launch new products more quickly.
All of the areas involved in a project are planned together. Everything is considered simultaneously (together, in parallel) rather than separately (in series).
Product teams are set up to include people in all areas that are relevant to the new product – design, development, production, marketing etc.
Suppliers are involved in the new product development so that potential delays in resourcing of raw materials, components and services can be anticipated and avoided
A teamwork approach is used, with all areas involved in the project working on the project at the same time.
The end result is that:
The new product is brought to the market much more quickly
The firm may be able to charge a premium price that will give a better profit margin and help recoup R&D costs
There is less likelihood of a need to modify the product later due to unforeseen problems
A greater sense of involvement across business functions improves staff commitment to the project.
This can therefore be a source of competitive advantage (‘first mover advantage’) for the firm if it can get a reliable new product into the market and build brand loyalty before its competitors.
Remember, Simultaneous Engineering is a project management approach, it is not a production method