Sunday, April 09, 2006

Did you get the Eureka?

It was mentioned to me that I may have left the last entry a little less clear than I should have, so here is some more clarity on Russian APM:
The Russians are still a very hierarchical society. Spend and afternoon in St. Pete and it will become clear that it has developed a very striated class structure. There are those with, and those without. Those with drive fancy expensive cars. Those without drive Ladas and Volgas, usually in poor condition. At least once in your afternoon, a police car will rush by being followed by a foreign made black car with a flashing blue light. If possible, people make way, particularly if you are on foot. These are the VIPs. The Haves and the Havenots treat each other equally in the road. A Jaguar is just as likely to force a Lada onto the sidewalk as a Volga will force a Mercedes to stop dead in an intersection. It is all a matter of vehicular chicken – who cares for the car more. The VIPs are treated preferentially, by everyone.
So, in the example above, all the cars in the traffic are CIP – Cars In Progress. They all have priority 1. The VIP came through and it had priority 2. It wins. All CIP stops to allow the higher priority CIP through the process. TOC tells us that it is acceptable to keep idle capacity available for high priority jobs – those that are part of the critical chain form the constraint. We also talk about not allowing too much WIP as it just clogs the floor and adds to inventory unnecessarily.
Here, it is permissable to stop all the lower priorities for 10 to 15 minutes or more, to ensure that the VIPs can get to their destination when they have the need. This is akin to taking work in progress off of a machine's queue and redoing setup inorder to push through a high priority direct value producing order. This is counter-intuitive, but the normal traffic is build to spec, the VIPs are build to prepaid order (I hope!).


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