Alba Consulting - Who Are We ?

Consulting services in ERP/MRPII systems, lean manufacturing and operations management.





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Who Are We?

Alba Consulting was founded in the summer of 2001 by the principal, John Mannion, (pictured at the bottom of this page in 2000), after a successful career in industry spanning thirty years, and after a plant closure due to competition from China.  

John was born, trained and educated in Glasgow, Scotland and has academic qualifications of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering (First Class Honors), and a Masters Degree in Manufacturing Management and Technology.  Both these degrees were awarded from Strathclyde University in 1973 and 1975 respectively.  The Masters Degree thesis was on the computer simulation of machine shops using Group Technology (cellular manufacturing) techniques and he has had papers published on this topic at international machine tool conferences.

He is registered as a Chartered Engineer in the UK and a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institution of Production Engineers and the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants.  He is also affiliated with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS).

His career started out with a thorough grounding in shop floor practices during a 5 year training as a Technical Apprentice Engineer, with considerable hands-on experience in machining and machine tool building.  Since then he has worked as a skilled prototype machinist before moving up the white collar ladder.  In fact, John often thinks that this practical experience has been of more value, in his managerial career, than his academic qualifications!

Since emigrating to the USA in 1980 he has worked with General Electric, Allied Signal, Dresser Pump, Hughes Electronics and Thor Industries in positions such as Operations Manager, Manufacturing Engineering Manager, Operations Director and Materials Director.  John likes to stress that he has never been considered a large company bureaucrat!

His experience encompasses diverse industries such as machine tools, aircraft engines, electro hydraulic flight control systems, radar systems, computer components, travel trailers, sophisticated sheet metal operations and medical components, with the plants having annual sales ranging from $10 million to $150 million.

John directs and supervises all of the assignments personally.  For peak load situations he will call on some well qualified associates for assistance who will operate under his close supervision.  However, the paramount focus is to train the in house personnel in any new systems, techniques or processes which are being implemented.

Based on the saying that "genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration", he usually expect that the bulk of the implementation work will be done by the company's employees, with, hopefully, himself as the catalyst who would encourage the "10% inspiration".  

John also believes that many of these "new" manufacturing techniques have been misunderstood and, in many cases misapplied; ERP systems and lean manufacturing being two glaringly obvious examples.  He will be pleased to explain why he thinks so, and discuss how he would do it differently.

Finally, John also subscribes to the fact that none of this is rocket science and is, simply, a matter of having good manufacturing common sense and thus being able to select the right "tool" for the right job.



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