There was an absurd article on CNN’s web site describing a problem the folks who live near Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi plant have with the company. As if the good people of Mississippi did not have enough problems with hurricanes, Nissan has taken to firing a cannon into the air at regular intervals. It is based on a theory that the sonic blast from the cannon will vibrate the water particles and keep them from bonding and forming hail, which will damage the 12,000 finished vehicles routinely parked in their finished goods area. In the face of the complaints, Nissan has agreed to only fire the cannon when it rains. Apparently they have been annoying everyone within gunshot, rain or shine, night and day.
(It must have been bad enough to have hurricane Katrina roaring by without having siege guns blasting the neighborhood all the while.)
Far be it from me to think that I am qualified to lecture the Japanese on eliminating waste, but wouldn’t they be better served by getting rid of the inventory? According to the statistics I can find, 12,000 cars represents better than half a month’s production. It would seem to be a better idea to cut the inventory than to spend money on heavy artillery to protect it from the weather.
Taichi Ohno would not be pleased with his competitor’s thinking. If nothing else, it is heartening to note that Americans do not have the exclusive franchise on dumb ideas when it comes to inventory control.