Modern Machine Shop

DEC 2017

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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Page 38 of 140

36 MMS December 2017 COMPETING IDEAS Columnist M a ny of us a re moti vate d to ma ke things better. Whether it's finally solving a recurring problem, introducing a new production process that yields a better product, improving customer service levels to really meet customer needs or increasing quality levels on a key product line, we find great satisfaction in taking advantage of improvement opportunities discovered. For tunately, we don't have to reinvent the wheel in our continuous improvement journey. There are proven tools and techniques available to help. If we need to improve workplace orga- nization, we can use the 5S system of sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain. Com- panie s that commit to 5S have ex pe rie nced considerable success in not only getting orga- nized, but in staying organized as well. If our machine setups take too long and drain our machine capacity, we can employ Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) techniques to help identif y steps that can be done of f line; activities can that be done in parallel; and stan- dardized practices that will lead to better, faster and more consistent setups. If our equipment is not performing at a rate we re q u ire, we c a n sta r t a Tota l Pro d u c ti ve Maintenance (TPM) program and soon recognize the main causes of downtime, enabling us to plan ways to reduce, or even eliminate, each one. If we find ourselves inundated with inven- tory, we can introduce pull systems that will limit inventory to levels that can be readily consumed. We can also tr y reducing batch sizes, or the quantities of items we work on at one time in a process, as it has been shown that there is a direct correlation between large batch sizes and large inventories. If we find many delays in our processes caused by employees not having the materials, tools or supplies they need, we can create point-of-use- storage workstations throughout the facility so all employees have what they need (but not too much of it) to do their jobs without having to stop and wait or stop and find. If we are incurring frequent quality problems in key departments, we can explore quality-at-the-source techniques that give people the tools or equipment they need to check their own work as they go, thereby greatly increasing the chance that what they produce is right the first time. If we find it is simply taking too long for our products to get through the plant, we can recon- figure equipment into manufacturing cells, or groupings of all the equipment needed to produce our products, so that everything is close together and travel distances are reduced. Just as there is a direct correlation between batch size and inventor y levels, there is a similar correlation between manufacturing lead time and the dis- tance a product travels during production. These are just some of the tools and techniques each of us has at our disposal to use as we see fit. They will help, but only if they are actually put to use. Unfor tunately, some well-intentioned Don't Just Go Through the Motions We have many tools and techniques for continuous improvement at our disposal, but they can only help if we commit to making them work. WAYNE S. CHANESKI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CENTER FOR MANUFACTURING SYSTEMS NEW JERSEY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

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