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Posted by kaori 03/17/2009 @ 20:12

Tags : manufacturing, business, industrial supplies and services

News headlines
Singapore manufacturing drops 0.5 percent in April - Forbes
AP , 05.26.09, 01:25 AM EDT Singapore's manufacturing recorded its smallest drop for seven months in April as production from the volatile pharmaceutical sector soared, offsetting another plunge in electronics. Industrial production fell 0.5 percent...
Economy: California deficit tied to manufacturing losses - SDNN
By Michelle Nash-Hoff California has shed nearly one quarter of its manufacturing jobs this decade and lost 25 percent of its top tax-paying families. One of the major reasons for California's budget deficit is the loss of manufacturing companies....
Singapore's Production Decline Lessens as Export Slump Eases - Bloomberg
Manufacturing, which accounts for about a quarter of Singapore's economy, dropped 0.5 percent from a year earlier following a revised 32.8 percent decline in March, the Economic Development Board said today. That was better than the most optimistic...
Falling profits mean more job loss - Reuters
Readings on manufacturing and consumer spending show the US economy is unraveling more slowly than it was just a couple of months ago, although true recovery has yet to begin. Credit markets, which have been under severe strain since the bankruptcy of...
Turkish manufacturing morale jumps, latest improvement - Forbes
ISTANBUL, May 25 (Reuters) - Turkey's manufacturing confidence index rose 11.8 points month-on-month in May to its highest level since June last year, the central bank said on Monday, adding to signs of an improving economic outlook....
Manufacturing Loses More Than 68 Thousand Jobs - North Carolina News Network
The largest job losses in the manufacturing sector came from the furniture and related product industry, which lost 9900 jobs from April of 2008 to April of 2009. The average hourly earnings in manufacturing in the state did increase by 21 cents in...
Beyond the Romance of Microfinance to a Love of Manufacturing - Huffington Post
As I began to explain my project to him, which involved setting up manufacturing plants in Senegal, he kept encouraging me to buy crafts from local artisans rather than setting up manufacturing plants. Despite the fact that he had become wealthy...
EPA: Cap-and-Trade Bill Could Hurt US Manufacturing, Send Factory ... -
shows that the plan would reduce US manufacturing capacity 0.3 percent by 2020 and by nearly 1.5 percent by 2050. Had the bill not been revised late last week after negotiations between industrial state Democrats and Waxman and Markey, US manufacturing...
Austria March Manufacturing Output Drops -
(RTTNews) - Monday, the Statistics Austria announced that the manufacturing production decreased a working day adjusted 14.3% year-over-year in March, compared with a 14.2% fall in the previous month. On a monthly basis, manufacturing production...
Green Supply Chain Innovation Series: A North American Retail ... - dBusinessNews San Jose (press release)
This is a North American Retail Manufacturing must have strategic sourcing white paper and one of the few targeted first green supply chain management tools for the North American Retail Manufacturing Supply Base. Specifically, it is a four (4) step...



Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to make things for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale. Such finished goods may be used for manufacturing other, more complex products, such as household appliances or automobiles, or sold to wholesalers, who in turn sell them to retailers, who then sell them to end users - the "consumers".

Manufacturing takes place under all types of economic systems. In a free market economy, manufacturing is usually directed toward the mass production of products for sale to consumers at a profit. In a collectivist economy, manufacturing is more frequently directed by the state to supply a centrally planned economy. In free market economies, manufacturing occurs under some degree of government regulation.

Modern manufacturing includes all intermediate processes required for the production and integration of a product's components. Some industries, such as semiconductor and steel manufacturers use the term fabrication instead.

The manufacturing sector is closely connected with engineering and industrial design. Examples of major manufacturers in the United States include General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler, Boeing, Gates Rubber Company and Pfizer. Examples in Europe include Airbus, Daimler, BMW, Fiat, and Michelin Tyre.

According to some economists, manufacturing is a wealth-producing sector of an economy, whereas a service sector tends to be wealth-consuming. Emerging technologies have provided some new growth in advanced manufacturing employment opportunities in the Manufacturing Belt in the United States. Manufacturing provides important material support for national infrastructure and for national defense.

On the other hand, most manufacturing may involve significant social and environmental costs. The clean-up costs of hazardous waste, for example, may outweigh the benefits of a product that creates it. Hazardous materials may expose workers to health risks. Developed countries regulate manufacturing activity with labor laws and environmental laws. In the U.S, manufacturers are subject to regulations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. In Europe, pollution taxes to offset environmental costs are another form of regulation on manufacturing activity. Labor Unions and craft guilds have played a historic role negotiation of worker rights and wages. Environment laws and labor protections that are available in developed nations may not be available in the third world. Tort law and product liability impose additional costs on manufacturing.

In addition to general overviews, researchers have examined the features and factors affecting particular key aspects of manufacturing development. They have compared production and investment in a range of Western and non-Western countries and presented case studies of growth and performance in important individual industries and market-economic sectors.

Optimizing manufacturing processes by using the actual manufacturing process to generate cost estimates. This can allow manufacturing companies to perform trade studies up front in design to lower manufacturing costs when changes are still relatively inexpensive.

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Lean manufacturing


Lean manufacturing or lean production, which is often known simply as "Lean", is a production practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination. In a more basic term, More value with less work. Lean manufacturing is a generic process management philosophy derived mostly from the Toyota Production System (TPS) (hence the term Toyotism is also prevalent) and identified as "Lean" only in the 1990s. It is renowned for its focus on reduction of the original Toyota seven wastes in order to improve overall customer value, but there are varying perspectives on how this is best achieved. The steady growth of Toyota, from a small company to the world's largest automaker, has focused attention on how it has achieved this.

Lean manufacturing is a variation on the theme of efficiency; it is a present-day instance of the larger recurring theme in human life of increasing efficiency, decreasing waste, and using empirical methods to decide what matters, rather than uncritically accepting pre-existing ideas of what matters. Thus it is a chapter in the larger narrative that also includes, for example, the folk wisdom of thrift, time and motion study, Taylorism, the Efficiency Movement, and Fordism. Lean manufacturing is often seen, with the benefit of hindsight, as a progression from, or a better attempt at the same goal of, earlier efficiency efforts—that is, picking up where earlier leaders like Taylor or Ford left off, and learning from their mistakes.

Lean principles come from the Japanese manufacturing industry. The term was first coined by John Krafcik in a Fall 1988 article, "Triumph of the Lean Production System," published in the Sloan Management Review and based on his master's thesis at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Krafcik had been a quality engineer in the Toyota-GM NUMMI joint venture in California before coming to MIT for MBA studies. Krafcik's research was continued by the International Motor Vehicle Program at MIT, which produced the international best-seller book co-authored by James Womack,Daniel Jones, and Daniel Roos called ‘The Machine That Changed the World’ (1990).

For many, Lean is the set of "tools" that assist in the identification and steady elimination of waste (muda). As waste is eliminated quality improves while production time and cost are reduced. Examples of such "tools" are Value Stream Mapping, Five S, Kanban (pull systems), and poka-yoke (error-proofing).

There is a second approach to Lean Manufacturing, which is promoted by Toyota, in which the focus is upon improving the "flow" or smoothness of work, thereby steadily eliminating mura ("unevenness") through the system and not upon 'waste reduction' per se. Techniques to improve flow include production leveling, "pull" production (by means of kanban) and the Heijunka box. This is a fundamentally different approach to most improvement methodologies which may partially account for its lack of popularity.

The difference between these two approaches is not the goal but the prime approach to achieving it. The implementation of smooth flow exposes quality problems which already existed and thus waste reduction naturally happens as a consequence. The advantage claimed for this approach is that it naturally takes a system-wide perspective whereas a waste focus has this perspective, sometimes wrongly, assumed. Some Toyota staff have expressed some surprise at the tool-based approach as they see the tools as work-arounds made necessary where flow could not be fully implemented and not as aims in themselves.

Both Lean and TPS can be seen as a loosely connected set of potentially competing principles whose goal is cost reduction by the elimination of waste. These principles include: Pull processing, Perfect first-time quality, Waste minimization, Continuous improvement, Flexibility, Building and maintaining a long term relationship with suppliers, Autonomation, Load leveling and Production flow and Visual control. The disconnected nature of some of these principles perhaps springs from the fact that the TPS has grown pragmatically since 1948 as it responded to the problems it saw within its own production facilities. Thus what one sees today is the result of a 'need' driven learning to improve where each step has built on previous ideas and not something based upon a theoretical framework. Toyota's view is that the main method of Lean is not the tools, but the reduction of three types of waste: muda ("non-value-adding work"), muri ("overburden"), and mura ("unevenness"), to expose problems systematically and to use the tools where the ideal cannot be achieved. Thus the tools are, in their view, workarounds adapted to different situations, which explains any apparent incoherence of the principles above.

Also known as the flexible mass production. The TPS has two pillar concepts: Just-in-time (JIT) or "flow", and "autonomation" (smart automation). Adherents of the Toyota approach would say that the smooth flowing delivery of value achieves all the other improvements as side-effects. If production flows perfectly then there is no inventory; if customer valued features are the only ones produced then product design is simplified and effort is only expended on features the customer values. The other of the two TPS pillars is the very human aspect of autonomation, whereby automation is achieved with a human touch. The "human touch" here meaning to automate so that the machines/systems are designed to aid humans in focusing on what the humans do best. This aims, for example, to give the machines enough intelligence to recognize when they are working abnormally and flag this for human attention. Thus, in this case, humans would not have to monitor normal production and only have to focus on abnormal, or fault, conditions. A reduction in human workload that is probably much desired by all involved since it removes much routine and repetitive activity that humans often do not enjoy and where they are therefore not at their most effective.

Lean implementation is therefore focused on getting the right things, to the right place, at the right time, in the right quantity to achieve perfect work flow while minimizing waste and being flexible and able to change. These concepts of flexibility and change are principally required to allow production leveling, using tools like SMED, but have their analogues in other processes such as research and development (R&D). The flexibility and ability to change are within bounds and not open-ended, and therefore often not expensive capability requirements. More importantly, all of these concepts have to be understood, appreciated, and embraced by the actual employees who build the products and therefore own the processes that deliver the value. The cultural and managerial aspects of Lean are just as important as, and possibly more important than, the actual tools or methodologies of production itself. There are many examples of Lean tool implementation without sustained benefit and these are often blamed on weak understanding of Lean in the organization.

Lean aims to make the work simple enough to understand, to do and to manage. To achieve these three at once there is a belief held by some that Toyota's mentoring process (loosely called Senpai and Kohai), is one of the best ways to foster Lean Thinking up and down the organizational structure. This is the process undertaken by Toyota as it helps its suppliers to improve their own production. The closest equivalent to Toyota's mentoring process is the concept of "Lean Sensei", which encourages companies, organizations, and teams to seek out outside, third-party experts, who can provide unbiased advice and coaching, (see Womack et al, Lean Thinking, 1998).

There have been recent attempts to link Lean to Service Management, perhaps one of the most recent and spectacular of which was London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5. This particular case provides a graphic example of how care should be taken in translating successful practices from one context (production) to another (services), expecting the same results. In this case the public perception is more of a spectacular failure, than a spectacular success, resulting in potentially, an unfair tainting of the lean manufacturing philosophies.

The avoidance and then latterly removal of waste has a long history and as such is not the history of Lean but is its motivator. In fact many of the concepts now seen as key to lean have been discovered and rediscovered over the years by others in their search to reduce waste. Lean has developed as an approach and style that has been demonstrated to be effective.

Again Franklin's The Way to Wealth says the following about carrying unnecessary inventory. "You call them goods; but, if you do not take care, they will prove evils to some of you. You expect they will be sold cheap, and, perhaps, they may for less than they cost; but, if you have no occasion for them, they must be dear to you. Remember what Poor Richard says, 'Buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessaries.' In another place he says, 'Many have been ruined by buying good penny worths'." Henry Ford cited Franklin as a major influence on his own business practices, which included Just-in-time manufacturing.

The concept of waste being built into jobs and then taken for granted was noticed by motion efficiency expert Frank Gilbreth, who saw that masons bent over to pick up bricks from the ground. The bricklayer was therefore lowering and raising his entire upper body to pick up a 2.3 kg (5 lb.) brick, and this inefficiency had been built into the job through long practice. Introduction of a non-stooping scaffold, which delivered the bricks at waist level, allowed masons to work about three times as quickly, and with less effort.

Shigeo Shingo, the best-known exponent of single minute exchange of die (SMED) and error-proofing or poka-yoke, cites Principles of Scientific Management as his inspiration.

Poor arrangement of the workplace—a major focus of the modern kaizen—and doing a job inefficiently out of habit—are major forms of waste even in modern workplaces.

In other words, Ford saw the rust and realized that the steel plant was not recovering all of the iron.

The same reference describes just in time manufacturing very explicitly.

While Ford is renowned for his production line it is often not recognized how much effort he put into removing the fitters' work in order to make the production line possible. Until Ford, a car's components always had to be fitted or reshaped by a skilled engineer at the point of use, so that they would connect properly. By enforcing very strict specification and quality criteria on component manufacture, he eliminated this work almost entirely, reducing manufacturing effort by between 60-90%. However, Ford's mass production system failed to incorporate the notion of "pull production" and thus often suffered from over-production.

Toyota's development of ideas that later became Lean may have started at the turn of the 20th century with Sakichi Toyoda, in a textile factory with looms that stopped themselves when a thread broke, this became the seed of autonomation and Jidoka. Toyota's journey with JIT may have started back in 1934 when it moved from textiles to produce its first car. Kiichiro Toyoda, founder of Toyota, directed the engine casting work and discovered many problems in their manufacture. He decided he must stop the repairing of poor quality by intense study of each stage of the process. In 1936, when Toyota won its first truck contract with the Japanese government, his processes hit new problems and he developed the "Kaizen" improvement teams.

Levels of demand in the Post War economy of Japan were low and the focus of mass production on lowest cost per item via economies of scale therefore had little application. Having visited and seen supermarkets in the USA, Taiichi Ohno recognised the scheduling of work should not be driven by sales or production targets but by actual sales. Given the financial situation during this period over-production had to be avoided and thus the notion of Pull (build to order rather than target driven Push) came to underpin production scheduling.

While the elimination of waste may seem like a simple and clear subject it is noticeable that waste is often very conservatively identified. This then hugely reduces the potential of such an aim. The elimination of waste is the goal of Lean, and Toyota defined three broad types of waste: muda, muri and mura; it should be noted that for many Lean implementations this list shrinks to the last waste type only with corresponding benefits decrease.

To illustrate the state of this thinking Shigeo Shingo observed that only the last turn of a bolt tightens it—the rest is just movement. This ever finer clarification of waste is key to establishing distinctions between value-adding activity, waste and non-value-adding work. Non-value adding work is waste that must be done under the present work conditions. One key is to measure, or estimate, the size of these wastes, in order to demonstrate the effect of the changes achieved and therefore the movement towards the goal.

The "flow" (or smoothness) based approach aims to achieve JIT, by removing the variation caused by work scheduling and thereby provide a driver, rationale or target and priorities for implementation, using a variety of techniques. The effort to achieve JIT exposes many quality problems that are hidden by buffer stocks; by forcing smooth flow of only value-adding steps, these problems become visible and must be dealt with explicitly.

Muri is all the unreasonable work that management imposes on workers and machines because of poor organization, such as carrying heavy weights, moving things around, dangerous tasks, even working significantly faster than usual. It is pushing a person or a machine beyond its natural limits. This may simply be asking a greater level of performance from a process than it can handle without taking shortcuts and informally modifying decision criteria. Unreasonable work is almost always a cause of multiple variations.

To link these three concepts is simple in TPS and thus Lean. Firstly, muri focuses on the preparation and planning of the process, or what work can be avoided proactively by design. Next, mura then focuses on how the work design is implemented and the elimination of fluctuation at the scheduling or operations level, such as quality and volume. Muda is then discovered after the process is in place and is dealt with reactively. It is seen through variation in output. It is the role of management to examine the muda, in the processes and eliminate the deeper causes by considering the connections to the muri and mura of the system. The muda and mura inconsistencies must be fed back to the muri, or planning, stage for the next project.

A typical example of the interplay of these wastes is the corporate behaviour of "making the numbers" as the end of a reporting period approaches. Demand is raised in order to 'make plan', increasing (mura), when the "numbers" are low which causes production to try to squeeze extra capacity from the process which causes routines and standards to be modified or stretched. This stretch and improvisation leads to muri-style waste which leads to downtime, mistakes and backflows and waiting, thus the muda of waiting, correction and movement.

Some of these definitions may seem rather idealistic, but this tough definition is seen as important and they drove the success of TPS. The clear identification of non-value-adding work, as distinct from wasted work, is critical to identifying the assumptions behind the current work process and to challenging them in due course. Breakthroughs in SMED and other process changing techniques rely upon clear identification of where untapped opportunities may lie if the processing assumptions are challenged.

The discipline required to implement Lean and the disciplines it seems to require are so often counter-cultural that they have made successful implementation of Lean a major challenge. Some would say that it was a major challenge in its manufacturing 'heartland' as well. Implementations under the Lean label are numerous and whether they are Lean and whether any success or failure can be laid at Lean's door is often debatable. Individual examples of success and failure exist in almost all spheres of business and activity and therefore cannot be taken as indications of whether Lean is particularly applicable to a specific sector of activity. It seems clear from the "successes" that no sector is immune from beneficial possibility.

Lean is about more than just cutting costs in the factory. One crucial insight is that most costs are assigned when a product is designed, (see Genichi Taguchi). Often an engineer will specify familiar, safe materials and processes rather than inexpensive, efficient ones. This reduces project risk, that is, the cost to the engineer, while increasing financial risks, and decreasing profits. Good organizations develop and review checklists to review product designs.

Companies must often look beyond the shop-floor to find opportunities for improving overall company cost and performance. At the system engineering level, requirements are reviewed with marketing and customer representatives to eliminate those requirements which are costly. Shared modules may be developed, such as multipurpose power supplies or shared mechanical components or fasteners. Requirements are assigned to the cheapest discipline. For example, adjustments may be moved into software, and measurements away from a mechanical solution to an electronic solution. Another approach is to choose connection or power-transport methods that are cheap or that used standardized components that become available in a competitive market.

The role of the leaders within the organization is the fundamental element of sustaining the progress of lean thinking. Experienced kaizen members at Toyota, for example, often bring up the concepts of Senpai, Kohai, and Sensei, because they strongly feel that transferring of Toyota culture down and across the Toyota can only happen when more experienced Toyota Sensei continuously coach and guide the less experienced lean champions. Unfortunately, most lean practitioners in North America focus on the tools and methodologies of lean, versus the philosophy and culture of lean. Some exceptions include Shingijitsu Consulting out of Japan, which is made up of ex-Toyota managers, and Lean Sensei International based in North America, which coaches lean through Toyota-style cultural experience.

One of the dislocative effects of Lean is in the area of key performance indicators (KPI). The KPIs by which a plant/facility are judged will often be driving behaviour, because the KPIs themselves assume a particular approach to the work being done. This can be an issue where, for example a truly Lean, Fixed Repeating Schedule (FRS) and JIT approach is adopted, because these KPIs will no longer reflect performance, as the assumptions on which they are based become invalid. It is a key leadership challenge to manage the impact of this KPI chaos within the organization. A set of performance metrics which is considered to fit well in a Lean environment is Overall Equipment Effectiveness, or OEE.

Similarly, commonly used accounting systems developed to support mass production are no longer appropriate for companies pursuing Lean. Lean Accounting provides truly Lean approaches to business management and financial reporting.

Whilst Lean is seen by many as a generalization of the Toyota Production System into other industries and contexts there are some acknowledged differences that seem to have developed in implementation.

Lean, as a concept or brand, has captured the imagination of many in different spheres of activity. Examples of these from many sectors are listed below.

Lean principles have been successfully applied to call center services to improve live agent call handling. By combining Agent-assisted Voice solutions and Lean's waste reduction practices, a company reduced handle time, reduced between agent variability, reduced accent barriers, and attained near perfect process adherence.

A study conducted on behalf of the Scottish Executive, by Warwick University, in 2005/06 found that Lean methods were applicable to the public sector, but that most results had been achieved using a much more restricted range of techniques than Lean provides.

The challenge in moving Lean to services is the lack of widely available reference implementations to allow people to see how it can work and the impact it does have. This makes it more difficult to build the level of belief seen as necessary for strong implementation. It is also the case that the manufacturing examples of 'techniques' or 'tools' need to be 'translated' into a service context which has not yet received the level of work or publicity that would give starting points for implementors. The upshot of this is that each implementation often 'feels its way' along as must the early industrial engineers of Toyota. This places huge importance upon sponsorship to encourage and protect these experimental developments.

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Colt's Manufacturing Company

Colt logo.svg

Colt's Manufacturing Company (CMC--formerly Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company) is a United States firearms manufacturer founded in 1847. It is best known for the engineering, production, and marketing of dozens of different firearms over the later half of the 19th and the 20th century. It has made many civilian and military designs used in the United States, as well was many other countries.

Among the most famous products from Colt are the Walker Colt used by the Texas Rangers and the "Colt .45" revolver, the proper name of which was the Single Action Army. Later well-known CMC revolvers include the Colt Python and Colt Anaconda. John Browning also worked for Colt for a time, and came up with now ubiquitous parallel slide type of design for a pistol, which debuted on the Colt M1900 pistol, leading to numerous pistol designs including the famous Colt M1911 pistol. Though they did not develop it, Colt was responsible for M16 production for a long time, as well as many derivative firearms related to it. The most successful and famous of these are numerous M16 Carbines, including the Colt Commando family, and the M4 Carbine.

Colt also developed many important less known firearms that were often ahead of their time. Among the most recent was the CAR-15 family - an innovative weapon system family of the 1960s, as well as a number of 5.56 mm machine guns such as the Colt CMG-1, CMG-2 in the 60s in the 70s. They also invented the Colt SCAMP PDW, a little known firearm of the late 1970s that was among the first of its type. Colt's produced also the first 15 000 Thompson Submachineguns Mod 1921. Another important design was the lesser-known Colt-Browning Model 1895 (Potato Digger) - one of the first gas-actuated machine guns. Going back even farther reveals other important products of the 19th century. The Colt Revolver Rifle, one of the first repeating rifles, and used during the American Civil War. In addition to this were a large number of famous revolvers, such as the 1847 Colt Walker, the smaller Dragoon Mod. 1848 of the same caliber .44, the Navy Mod. 1851 cal .36, the Pocket Mod. 1849 cal .31 and numerous other famous revolvers of the 'Wild West'. His designs played a major role in the popularization of the revolver and the shift away from earlier single pistols and pepperbox type weapons. While Colt did not invent the revolver concept, his designs resulted in the first very successful ones with patents on many of the features that lead to them being so popular.

In 2002, Colt Defense was split off from Colt's Manufacturing Company. Colt Manufacturing Company now serves the civilian market, while Colt Defense serves the law enforcement, military, and private security markets worldwide. Prior to the split Colt was also well known for their production (now taken over by Colt Defense) of the M1911 automatic pistols, M4 Carbines, M16 assault rifles, and M203 grenade launchers, although none of these were Colt designs, excepting the M1911 . Diemaco of Canada was also purchased, and renamed Colt Canada, though most of its products remain the same. Diemaco and Colt had earlier worked together on designs and shared many similar products.

CMC was founded in Hartford, Connecticut in 1847 by Samuel Colt in order to produce revolvers, of which Colt held the patent, during the Mexican-American War. Colt's earlier venture, the Patent Arms Manufacturing Company, had declared bankruptcy in 1842 and was no longer producing firearms, but the efficiency of the Colt Paterson revolver design had become apparent to the Texas Rangers, and they placed an order for 1,000 larger revolvers that became known as the Walker Colt, ensuring Colt's re-entry into manufacturing revolvers. Later, the U.S. Army also sought out the young entrepreneur to produce even more revolvers.

Colt's early history largely revolved around the production of revolvers, developed out of Sam Colt's original 1834 invention of the revolver. Colt is perhaps best known for the famous "Colt .45", a name which actually refers to two separate historically significant firearms. The first of these is the aforementioned 1873 Single Action Army, of which Colt was the original producer, and which was one of the most prevalent firearms in the American West during the end of the 19th century. Colt still produces this firearm, in six different calibers, two finishes and three barrel lengths. (Original, good condition first generation Single Action Armies, those produced between 1873 and 1941, are among the most valuable to the collector. Especially valuable, often going for well over $10,000, are the Orville W. Ainsworth and the Henry Nettleton inspected U.S. Cavalry Single Action Army Colts.

One of the first truly modern-style handguns, the Colt revolvers became known as "The Great Equalizer", because they could be loaded and fired by anyone, whereas most previous guns had required sufficient strength and dexterity. In theory, anyone who had a modern-style revolver was equal to anyone else, regardless of their relative physical abilities. This term has since come to be used for firearms in general, as awkward weapons like muzzle-loaded muskets became a thing of the past.

Colt was one of the first companies to create a product with interchangeable parts. At the New York Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1853, a Colt exhibition dissembled ten guns and reassembled ten guns using different parts from different guns.

Though the US was not directly involved in the Crimean War (1854 - 1856), Colt weapons were used in supplying and aiding the Russians fighting in the Crimea.

The OWA Colt refers to the earliest issued Single Action Armies which were inspected by Orville W. Ainsworth. O.W. Ainsworth was the ordnance sub-inspector at the Colt factory for approximately the first thirteen months (Oct. 1873 to Nov. 1874) of the Single Action Army's production. It was Ainsworth that inspected the Colts used by General Custer's 7th Cavalry troops at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. However General Custer himself fell holding a couple of English-made Webley revolvers in his hands.

Henry Nettleton was the ordnance inspector in 1878 at the Springfield Armory. Second only to the OWA Colts, Nettleton Colts are prized by serious collectors. Both the Nettleton and OWA Colts will have the cartouche (OWA or HN) on the left side of the wood grip.

The Single Action Army has been copied by numerous makers both in America and in Europe. The two major makers of Colt replicas are Aldo Uberti in Italy and U.S. Fire Arms Mfg. Co. in Hartford, Connecticut.

The Colt Model 1895 "Potato Digger" was one of the first gas-operated machine guns, developed with John Browning. It became the first automatic machine gun adopted by the United States and saw limited use in the Spanish-American War.

The Colt entry for a semi-automatic pistol at the turn of the 20th century defeated two other contenders: a .45 Pistol Parabellum (e.g the Luger pistol) from DWM and an entry from Savage Arms. There had been many other contenders earlier on, but these were eliminated. The Colt also competed with Colt M1900 design in .38 ACP against other entrants in a 1900 competition that included entries from Mauser. The winner evolved into the famous 1911 pistol in 45 ACP, and would be used by the U.S. military for much of the 20th Century and several major wars; variants in 38 Super and other calibers (even 38 Special) and in other barrel lengths found use by civilians and in pistol competition.

The second famous "Colt 45" is the John Browning-designed M1911, which was the standard U.S. military sidearm from 1911 to 1985. The M1911 is still frequently used by civilians, law enforcement, and military agencies today. Variants in other barrel lengths and other calibers (notably 38 Super and 9mm) have been used extensively in combat shooting and pistol marksmanship, and the guns often are "accurized" into amazingly precise competition tools or custom combat weapons.

Since Auto Ordnance had no tooling for production, Colt acquired the licence for the Thompson 1921 SMG and made a first batch of 15,000 pieces the first production year.

Colt would capitalize on this with a range of AR-15 derivative carbines. They also developed AR-15 based Squad Automatic Weapons, and the Colt SCAMP, an early PDW design.

At the end of the 1970s, there was a program run by the Air Force, to replace the M1911A1. The Beretta 92S won, but this was contested by the Army. The Army ran their own trials, leading eventually to the Beretta 92F being selected as the M9.

The 1980s marked fairly good years for Colt, but the coming end of the Cold War would change all that. Colt had long left innovation in civilian firearms to their competitors, feeling that the handgun business could survive on their traditional double-action revolver and M1911 designs. Instead, Colt focused on the military market, where they held the primary contracts for production of rifles for the US military.

This strategy dramatically failed for Colt through a series of events in the 1980s. In 1984, the U.S. military standardized on the Beretta 92F. This was not much of a loss for Colt's current business, as M1911A1 production had stopped in 1945, and most had not been made by Colt at the time.

Meanwhile, the military rifle business was growing because the U.S. Military had a major demand for more upgraded M16s —- the M16A2 model had just been adopted and the Military needed hundreds of thousands of them.

In 1986, Colt's workers, members of the United Auto Workers went on strike for higher wages. This strike would ultimately last for four years, and was one of the longest running labor strikes in American history. With replacement workers running production, the quality of Colt's firearms began to slip. Dissatisfied with Colt's production, in 1988 the U.S. military awarded the contract for future M16 production to Fabrique Nationale.

Some criticized Colt's range of handgun products in the late 1980s as out of touch with the demands of the market, and their once-vaunted reputation for quality had suffered during the UAW strike. Colt's stable of double action revolvers and single action pistols were seen as old fashioned by a marketplace that was captivated by the new generation of "wondernines" - high-capacity, 9 mm caliber handguns, as typified by the Glock 17.

Realizing that the future of the company was at stake, labor and management agreed to end the strike in an arrangement that resulted in Colt being sold to a group of private investors, the State of Connecticut, and the UAW itself.

The new Colt first attempted to address some of the demands of the market with the production in 1990 of the Double Eagle, a double action pistol based heavily on the M1911 design which was seen as an attempt to "modernize" the classic Browning design. Colt followed this up in 1992 with the Colt All American 2000, which was unlike any other handgun Colt had produced before.

The Colt All American 2000 was a polymer framed, rotary bolt, 9 mm handgun with a magazine capacity of 15 rounds. It was everything that Colt thought the civilian market wanted in a handgun. Unfortunately, the execution was disastrous. Early models were plagued with inaccuracy and unreliability, and suffered from the poor publicity of having to be recalled. The product launch failed and production of the All American 2000 ended in 1994.

The cost of developing Colt's ACR also cut into their bottom line, as none of the ACR contestants were adopted — a result that came out in the early 1990s.

All of the above ultimately led to the company's chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1992. Colt Manufacturing Co. announced the termination of its production of double action revolvers in October 1999 .

The 1990s brought the end of Cold War, which resulted in a large down turn for the entire defense industry. Colt was hit by this downturn, though it would be made worse later in the 1990s by a boycott.

In 1994, the assets of Colt were purchased by Zilkha & Co, a financial group owned by Donald Zilkha. It was speculated that Zilkha's financial backing of the company enabled Colt to begin winning back military contracts. In fact during the time period it won only one contract, the M4 Carbine. However, the US Military had already been purchasing Colt Carbines for the past 30 Years (See Colt Commando).

During a 1998 Washington Post interview, CEO Ron Stewart stated that he would favor a federal permit system with training and testing for gun ownership. This led to a massive grass-roots boycott of Colt's products by gun stores and ordinary gun owners, some of whom sold their Colt firearms to cut into Colt's market share even more. This ultimately led to the resignation of Ron Stewart.

Zilkha replaced Stewart with Steven Sliwa and focused the remainder of Colt's handgun design efforts into "smart guns", a concept which was favored politically but had little interest or support among handgun owners or Police Departments. This research never produced any meaningful results due to the limited technology at the time.

The boycott of Colt has faded out with the new CEO William M. Keys, a retired U.S. Marine Lt. General, working hard to bring Colt back from its tarnished reputation. Due to the efforts of William Keys, Colt's quality has improved as much as its favor with diehard Colt fans.

Most problematic for Colt, its flagship 1911 pistols and AR-15 rifles had to compete with a glut of the company's own used rifles and pistols that could be purchased at prices well below what Colt offered for their new products on the civilian market.

Colt also has to compete with other companies that make 1911-style pistols such as Kimber and AR-15 rifles such as Bushmaster. Bushmaster has subsequently overtaken Colt in the number of AR-15s sold on the civilian market.

Colt suffered a stinging legal defeat in court when it sued Bushmaster for trademark infringement claiming that the "M4" in M4 Carbine was a trademark that it owned. The judge ruled that since the term M4 is a generic designation that Colt does not specifically own, Colt had to pay monetary reimbursement to Bushmaster to recoup Bushmaster's legal fees. The M4 designation itself comes from the U.S. military designation system, whose terms are in the public domain.

Colt continues production of classic designs such as the SAA, sold in both the limited collector's market and through more traditional channels. However, it survives primarily on the manufacturing of a variety of civilian and military weapons. The most popular of these are various AR-15 Carbines, a weapon category that it invented and helped develop over nearly 30 years since acquiring the AR-15 design. The AR-15 Carbine derivatives, and weapons like them have proved so popular that a large amount of competition has arisen in the area. As with AR-15 rifles, the original Colt designs and their derivatives are heavily copied, and as a result they face much competition from other manufacturers, including Springfield Armory, Kimber Manufacturing, and US Fire Arms.

Colt has entered in several US contracts with mixed results. For example, Colt had an entry in the Advanced Combat Rifle (ACR) program of the 1980s, but along with other contestants failed to replace the M16A2. Colt and many other makers entered the US trials for a new pistol in the 1980s, though the Beretta entry would win and become the M9 Pistol. The Colt OHWS handgun was beaten by H&K for what became the MK23 SOCOM, it was lighter than the H&K entry but lost in performance. Colt did not get to compete for the XM8 since it was not an open competition. Colt is a likely entrant in any competition for a new US service rifle. Current M16 rifles have been made primarily by FN USA since 1988. However, Colt remains the sole source for M4 carbines for the US military. Under their license agreement with Colt, the US military cannot legally award second-source production contracts for the M4 until July 1, 2009.

Colt also manufactured several military long arms under contract including the M1918 BAR and Thompson SMG.

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Process Manufacturing

Process Manufacturing is the branch of manufacturing that is associated with formulas or manufacturing recipes as compared to bills of material & routing as in the case of Discrete manufacturing.

The simplest and easiest way to grasp the definition of process manufacturing is that, once the output is produced, it can't be distilled back to its basic components. In other words, once you put it together, you cannot take it apart. Think about it. Once you make a can of soda, you cannot return it back to its basic components such as carbonated water, citric acid, potassium benzoate, aspartame, and other ingredients. You cannot put the juice back into the orange. A car or computer, on the other hand, can be disassembled and the parts, to a large extent, can be returned to stock. Process manufacturing is common in the food, beverage, chemical, pharmaceutical, consumer packaged goods, and biotechnology industries. In process manufacturing, we talk about ingredients, not parts; formulas, not bill of materials; and bulk, not EA(each)’s. You may think that we are simply mincing words and terminology. But, as we will see later on this discussion, there is more than a subtle difference in their impact on manufacturing.

Formulation is a fairly easy concept but don’t think it is the same as a bill of materials. And be leery of the vendor who says you can. Formulation specifies the ingredients and their proportions (i.e. pounds, gallons, liters) needed to make the product. The first thing that you realize is that measurements are different. To be able to work with a formula, you need a flexible unit of measure conversion engine running under the ERP software covers. Furthermore, you must be able to specify your own conversion rules to account for the unique requirements of your business.

Proportions of ingredients in a formula also highlight the need for another feature, namely scalability. Recalling that line about the Army cook who can only make meatloaf that feeds 500, a formula to make 500 liters of a chemical must be scalable to make 250 liters or 1,000 liters. Another aspect of scalability is the ability to make based on what you have. An example will illustrate this point. If you are making a car and you only have two of the required four tires, you cannot make half of a car. In other words, you must have all of the parts in their required quantities to make the finished product. What would you do in process manufacturing if you want to make 1,000 gallons of soda but you only have 500 gallons of the required 1,000 gallons of carbonated water? You have the option of making half of the 1,000 gallons of soda. In process manufacturing you can make the most of a finished product based on the least quantity of an ingredient in stock. The simplest and easiest to grasp definition of process manufacturing is that, once the output is produced, it cannot be distilled back to its basic components. In other words, once you put it together, you cannot take it apart.

A packaging recipe is similar to a formula but describes how the finished product goes through its final assembly. A packaging recipe addresses such things as containers, labels, corrugated, and shrink-wrap. In process manufacturing, the finished product usually is made in bulk but is rarely delivered in bulk form to the customer. For example, the beverage manufacturer makes soda in batches of thousands of gallons. However, as a consumer, when you buy soda, you can buy it in 12-ounce aluminum cans, 16-ounce plastic bottles, or 1-liter bottles. If you are restaurateur, you may have the option getting a 5 or 50-gallon metal containers that keep the beverage in syrup form so that carbonated water can be added later.

Why is this concept important? How often do you think that Coke Cola changes the formula for Coke? On the other hand, how often do they change the packaging to announce a special promotion? It would be easier to keep track of the weather than promotions. If the formula and packaging recipes are combined, every time the packaging changes, maintenance of the formula would be required. Likewise, when the formula is changed, all of the recipes would have to be changed. This increases the maintenance and chances for error. In process manufacturing, the formula to make the product and the recipe to pack the product should exist in separate structures to reduce the ongoing maintenance function.

By separating the product formula from a packaging recipe, a production order can be issued to make the cans of soup and, when the customer is ready to receive the soup, a work order can be issued to label the cans according to the customer specifications. Hopefully, you can see why the segregation of the formula and pack recipe works efficiently and effectively in the world of process manufacturing.

Just like the products that they produce, discrete and processing manufacturing software have different focal points and solve different problems. Just as you would not put the proverbial square peg in the round hole, don’t expect to be successful using software geared toward discrete, or even a hybrid, to work smoothly in the process manufacturing setting. Even process manufacturing software need to be investigated in your business context. Critical aspects such as formulation, routing, ingredients, unit of measures, and pricing must be evaluated relative your business.

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Source : Wikipedia