Sometimes we like to talk in abstracts. “Reduce batch sizes” or “reduce lead time.”
But let’s be clear what we are striving for. With every improvement we make, we want to converge on the idea of:
- Batch size of one.
- Lead time of zero.
- Zero waste of resources.
Lest anyone thinks that is impossible, consider the post before this one about 3D printing technology, and look where it is going.
As Mike Rother emphasizes in his teaching the trend throughout the history of making things has been in this direction.
The pendulum swung in favor of volume in the industrial revolution as production shifted from craft (batch size of one, long lead times, high costs) toward large batches, in order to achieve better economics.
Somewhere along the way, we lost sight of the fact that we gave something up for those lower costs.
The companies that can return the benefits of one-off production while holding the costs are going to win.
But.. make no mistake… the suppliers of cheap mass molded and cast parts have a disruptive technology headed their way that fits the model perfectly.