One thing that has always bothered me about most continuous improvement programs is that they ignore the impact of the plant’s infrastructure on productivity. If you stop to think about real factors that limit performance, infrastructure must be a primary consideration. Perhaps one reason that most continuous improvement programs ignore or covertly address infrastructure is that few of us like to be told that we are the reason our plants are ineffective. Think about it—if you were the CEO of your company, would you hire a consultant or adopt a continuous improvement program that pointed the finger of blame directly at corporate management?
To me there are two distinctly different infrastructures that influence, if not control, plant performance. The first is the way that you do business and run your plant. The second is the methods and tools that are used to manage the entire operation.