The Fundamentals of WCM – Part II

Seven steps, zero errors, total commitment


F1 Pit CrewBefore we start discussing WCM theory, let’s first consider Formula 1 racing, and the fact that mid-race maintenance, repairs and adjustments take place in a pitstop that  can take as little as 2.4 seconds.

That’s 2.4 seconds for the driver to stop the car in the exact optimal position, and for the pit crew to jack the car, change the wheels and fix any midrace problems.   There is not a lot of room for error in 2.4 seconds, so therefore pit crews must operate with the target of zero errors.

Easy right?…


In our last blog post exploring the theory of World Class Manufacturing we looked at the “Ten Technical Pillars” of WCM, and how each pillar needs a clear set of priorities to identify an Operation-critical machine or model area.

The WCM 7-step approach is applied to determine the Root Causes of any problems in that critical area, and prevent reoccurrence. This progresses the organisation from a reactive to preventative and ultimately proactive approach.

Idhammar WCM 7-step infographic

click to enlarge

The zero-error target for F1 pitcrews transfers perfectly to WCM.  Evaluation in terms of achieving results against original objectives and targets is essential.  The ultimate WCM target is zero; zero downtime, zero defects, zero accidents, zero product waiting for dispatch.

Success is achieved by paying attention to the detail. Every second counts, and can make the difference to becoming world class.

Each F1 pit crew comprises nearly 20 people, and each one is trained for a specific role.  All members of the team take their preparation as seriously as drivers’, even as far as monitoring fitness and diet.

Crews are drilled incessantly at both the factory and during race weekends, with hundreds of pitstop practices until the process is instinctive.  Every part of the process is examined in minute detail to ensure that maximum efficiency is achieved

This, like WCM, requires total commitment. The time and effort required within all areas of the organisation is simply phenomenal, as is the mind-shift needed to fully adopt the WCM ethos.

Another aspect of the WCM ethos, as laid out by Professor Yamashina, is that it is a paper-based approach; the analysis, problem-solving actions and calculations should all be done on paper. In the next post we will explore this part of theory, and how flexibility is essential in today’s IT-enabled manufacturing.

Next time…. The role of IT in WCM:

  • A symbiotic relationship
  • What will your organisation need to implement WCM?
  • The limits of paper

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