A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!
How does it work? Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
Keep in mind that the interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Lesson 01 - Manufacturing Strategy
We'll begin our first lesson by exploring the essential area of manufacturing strategy. We'll consider a firm as a system, look at a few key strategic terms, and talk about market analysis. Then, we'll review the background of manufacturing strategy and discuss its foundation. And finally, we'll finish up by identifying what's involved in developing and implementing a manufacturing strategy and investigating strategic choices.
Lesson 02 - Demand Forecasting
If there's one area that's caused problems for manufacturers over the years, it's forecasting. Today, we'll start with the characteristics of forecasting and see how you can use a qualitative, quantitative, or a hybrid approach that follows certain types of rules. Then, we'll discuss the requirements for developing and implementing a sound forecast, exploring how to forecast new products. We'll finish by examining various ways to control your forecasts.
Lesson 03 - Planning
Now that you have a good understanding of manufacturing strategy and demand forecasting, you need to perform manufacturing planning. Planning is a pervasive activity. It gives rise to just about everything. Today we'll talk about how planning and control work together, discuss the nature of manufacturing planning, and explore a few planning techniques, including Gantt charts and the network diagram scheduling method.
Lesson 04 - Purchasing
Purchasing employees contribute greatly to the success of manufacturing organizations. Every dollar saved by purchasing equals a dollar of profit. It's too bad that many firms don't realize the value of purchasing. They view it as a clerical function—simply a matter of sending purchase orders to suppliers. In this lesson, we'll take a whirlwind tour through the world of purchasing. We'll briefly discuss the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), look at the way for purchasing to be proactive instead of reactive, and explore the seven steps of the purchasing cycle.
Lesson 05 - Lean Manufacturing
Today, we'll discuss lean manufacturing. This topic has an interesting history. It originally came from Henry Ford's operations in the United States in the early 1900s. Japanese industry popularized it in the 1970s, and it was later introduced in the Western world as just-in-time (JIT) during the early 1980s. By the early 1990s, the terms lean production or lean manufacturing began to appear. Few firms use the JIT label these days. So, lean manufacturing it is. We'll discuss its benefits and the various elements of it, starting with good housekeeping (5S) and concluding with quality at the source. After that, we'll close with a discussion on how to implement lean manufacturing.
Lesson 06 - Production and Inventory Control
Someone once called production and inventory control (P & IC) "organized foresight plus corrective hindsight." It begins with receipt of a sales order and ends with delivery to the customer. It requires knowledge of what should happen and what did happen. For many years, P & IC personnel have played a valuable role in completing manufacturing schedules and satisfying customers. So, today, we'll examine the primary duties of P & IC: master production scheduling, shop floor scheduling, production activity control, material requirements planning, and inventory management.
Lesson 07 - Capacity Planning
Of all the concepts we've discussed so far, none is more important than capacity. After all, if you don't have sufficient capacity, you won't manufacture much! In this lesson, we'll start out with an overview of capacity and define a few terms, including design and effective capacity, and actual output. We'll explore how rough-cut capacity planning and capacity requirements planning (CRP) help measure available capacity. Then, we'll move on and examine a few capacity-use strategies as they relate to customer demand, technology, and other variables. And we'll finish up by discussing three essential tools to help with capacity management: break-even analysis, decision trees, and decision theory.
Lesson 08 - Manufacturing Engineering
Today, we'll begin our three-part discussion on how engineering and manufacturing work together. Manufacturing engineering brings a certain level of sophistication to a production environment. We'll take a tour through the manufacturing engineering function, starting with its history, its relationship with other departments, and its major functions. Then, we'll explore the essential activity of process planning and review the various elements. We'll also examine key manufacturing engineering focus areas including computer-aided process planning (CAPP), value analysis, design for manufacturability (DFM), concurrent engineering (CE), rapid prototyping, and expert systems.
Lesson 09 - Industrial Engineering
Since we spent the entire last lesson discussing manufacturing engineering, I think it's only fair that we give equal time to our friends in industrial engineering (IE). IE joins people, machines, materials, and information to bring efficiency and effectiveness to a production operation. IE views human beings as a vital component of a system. Today, we'll start out with a brief overview and history of industrial engineering. Next, we'll discuss work measurement and explore ways to develop work standards. We'll determine how earned value performance measurement helps you control costs and performance. Then, we'll wrap things up by looking at flowcharts and examining their benefits.
Lesson 10 - Quality Engineering
In this lesson, we'll finish up our trilogy on engineering by tackling quality engineering. Quality engineers are responsible for assuring a high performing, quality system. To achieve this, they need a good understanding of quality costs, Six Sigma, and statistical process control (SPC), including its main components, which are run charts, control charts, and process capability. Today we'll discuss each of these topics.
Lesson 11 - Logistics
Manufacturing companies must know the ins and outs of physical transportation (otherwise known as traffic or logistics). Since your company either directly or indirectly pays for transportation, you need a good command of the basics. We'll start out today with an overview of the logistics system and briefly review each element. Then, we'll move on to discuss warehousing and examine many transportation concepts such as tracing, carrier modes and types, and the receiving process.
Lesson 12 - Productivity
Our topic for this last lesson is productivity. Quality and productivity form a potent one-two punch for manufacturers. When both are present to the right degree, your chances for success are high. Like quality, the journey for productivity improvement is never-ending. We'll begin with an overview of productivity. We'll look at the basic productivity calculation, talk about historical global productivity trends, and examine the experience curve. Next, we'll look at measurements of productivity and review how quality and human effort affect productivity. Finally, we'll explore the various productivity factors and discuss the elements of a productivity improvement system.