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Manufacturing Excellence and The Perfect Plant

Is the concept of the perfect plant a fantasy? How can you drive manufacturing excellence to the extent that the impossible seems attainable?


Paul Kurchina, Pat Kennedy, and Vivek Bapat have just co-authored a book that strives to do the impossible, providing what they call a business and technical guide, in which they solicited the input of over 100 experts, many of whom are BPX members and regular contributors to the community pages.


Here, you can listen to a webcast in which the authors present snapshots of several key topics covered in In Pursuit of the Perfect Plant, covering areas such as Energy Management and Asset Management.


During a subsequent podcast, also accessible through the link shown below, the authors took time to answer a number of questions on their presentations and their far-reaching ideas in this expansive quest.


To stimulate further discussions and subject the themes to the levels of grilling, dissection, and development that can only be provided by the online communities, BPX facilitates roundtable discussions on Perfect Plant through the Collaboration Workspace from SAP.


Your contribution and comments are most welcome in this roundtable, so that the extended BPX community can leverage its considerable knowledge and experience to explore and define objectives on this mammoth quest for the elusive grail of the manufacturing sector.


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    • You were very quick off the mark. Yes, the roundtable you mention is set up for public viewing, meaning that the material contained therein will be visible to all visitors.
      To fully participate and make their own valued contributions, newcomers just need to register in the Collaboration Workspace. It’s a quick process, since only 6 of the fields in the registration page ( are mandatory.
      If there are any issues, of course I’ll gladly lend support.
  • The concept of ‘Perfect Plant’ is quite appealing and creates a desirable image in every one’s mind, something to aspire for with clarity.

    As I hail from corporate office background, overseeing plant performance, I only view the book from the angle of how the pursuit could be commenced.

    I would imagine that the next step after reading the book is to prepare a work book and then a portal for Perfect Plant.
    That is, The Book …..> The Work Book……..> The Portal

    “What” are mentioned in the book when assigned for action would give a ‘Responsibility Matrix’.
    It may be prepared under broad heading of issues of concern.
    Taking up one Role after another, we may prepare a “Time Schedule”

    For each activity/responsibility, a mention of ‘How?’ also may be specified.
    This may be a reference to a Theory, a Diagram, a Standard, a Procedure, a Work Instruction, a Legal requirement, a Guide line, an accepted Business Principles, Methodologies  and so on.

    In the document specifying the procedure, the purpose and place of action may be mentioned, including who is responsible.

    The Process charts may indicate process owner and KPIs.
    These would be linked documents of the work book.

    The referenced items would be detailed and included in the work book.
    It is by implementing these ways that one may move from one level of perfection to another.
    What other wise would lie scattered would be brought together under the banner of the Vision for a Perfect Plant.

    There may be two stages in this journey.
    First would be the preparation. Second would be the journey!

    First under preparation, a coordinator may be required to be selected for the preparation stage.

    Secondly Vision building.
    Every one might subscribe after discussions.
    Every one would sign in after a good introspection. This may involve documenting it, publishing it and making it known to all.
    It will be included in the work book.
    Importance of dialogue would get embedded in the plant.
    The importance of individual reflection also would get embedded.

    There certainly would be several concerns to contend with in every plant.
    There would be several issues crying for one’s attention.
    One must start with all issues, but reaching perfection level may be one by one.

    “Know Your Company!” may be another starting point.
    This would be a general documentation, with details of the facilities, the processes and the people. This also would form part of the workbook.

    Study of current status with respect to each issue of concern may be the next step. This study would provide a base for formulating the plant’s policy with respect to each of the issues.

    Among what has been articulated, that is, the Vision, Missions, Policies, Objectives, Targets, Process charts, Procedures, Work Instructions, Forms, “Know your Plant”, certain things would be for the whole plant, and certain things would be for the division/department/section/ group/ individual.
    All these may form part of the work book.
    All of them revisable as required. They are not to be thought of as rigid.
    It is the revise-ability that would ensure continuous improvement.

    The terms used in the plant, the vocabulary, and their meaning/interpretation may be an important part of the work book.

    Designation wise responsibilities and authority may also be included.
    The responsibility of the Coordinator also would be included.

    An organization chart may be an important inclusion.

    A Chart for each, indicating the flow of material, flow of energy and flow of information may also be part of the work book.

    Based on the above, it appears one may be able to develop what is called the ‘governance strategies for the portal’ and design the portal!
    The portal may be kept not only up-to-date, but also lively with good sayings, good cartoons to lighten the environment, links to courses, links to tool kits, appreciation boards, relevant title of books and so on, according to the person logging in!
    This may be the end of preparation!

    Part II of the book would be covered by this.

    Structured training material for introducing the concept in groups may have to be prepared from the book, such as the importance of vision, the need for addressing all issues simultaneously, metrics against measures, contextualization of information and many more topics.

    This would be commencement of the journey towards the Vision for a Perfect Plant in my humble view.