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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40 MMS December 2017 THE VIEW FROM MY SHOP Guest Columnist As I travel to my company's manufacturing locations in various states and countries, it is apparent that our business model and machining operations vary based on each location's custom- ers, volume, product mix and other factors. Yet, there are similar, overarching guiding principles that ensure success over the long term, regardless of the differences among shops. I have collected 10 of these principles and share them here. I hope this list spurs debate in your shop. 1. Look for similarities, not differences. Engineers, machinists and other technical people are conditioned to notice dissimilarities or differ- ences. But when it is time to standardize, implement lean manufacturing cells, design new components, develop fixtures or write CNC programs, it is time to shift gears and find similarities. Why design a new component when one already exists that will fulfill the requirements? The volume of a component may not be high enough to justify a lean cell, but other parts may be processed on the same work- centers, creating a value stream with enough aggregate demand to warrant a cell. When com- ponents are 80 percent similar, take advantage of these traits to utilize existing fixtures, tooling, processes, programs, metrology and so on, and then address the remaining 20 percent. The dif- ference between an engineer who wants to create something new and fancy, and an engineer who uses an existing design is unmeasurable. 2. You are running a sprint and a marathon. Employees seek to achieve customer satisfaction and to optimize metrics, but who is planning for long-term results? Who is ascer taining future customer needs and developing the people, equip- ment, software and processes to meet these needs before the competition? Many organizations are so focused on the short term that they wake up after several years to discover that their equipment and processes are outdated and unproductive. 3. Quality is productivity. Scrap and rework directly subtract from the bottom line. Borderline quality consumes resources and lowers productiv- ity. Robust processes combined with quality at the source allow machinists to optimize their time and, in this way, perhaps operate multiple machine tools. 4. Go right before you go fast. It is beneficial to have a sense of urgency. However, when there is a new process, a new machine, a new program or just a new setup, things must be "right" before they can be fast. Machines and people make bad parts as fast as they make good parts. Having to make them twice is a lot slower and more expen- sive than making sure you are right first. Standard work and validations are tools that allow this. 5. Learn and train. Firms that learn faster than their competition will eventually outperform their competition. Train, cross-train and train a little more. Whether the person is a machinist, engineer or inspector, the transfer of knowledge is simulta- neously an investment and an insurance policy. 6. Make progress, not perfection. Wars are not won by winning a single battle with no setbacks. When the expectation is that a new machine or new process will deliver maximum results imme- diately (or else), then the culture becomes risk-averse and not innovative. On the other hand, when progress is recognized and appreciated, the team will soar past the original goals. 7. Inspection must be swift and precise. Inspection should not give away tolerance through measurement or fixture error. There will be naturally Tips for Shop Success These 10 guiding principles can help shops of all types improve and prosper. PATRICK TARVIN V.P., GLOBAL LEAN MANUFACTURING TECOMET INC. WILMINGTON, MASSACHUSETTS PATRICK.TARVIN@GMAIL.COM This Month's Columnist:

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