Modern Machine Shop

JUN 2018

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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BETTER PRODUCTION MMS JUNE 2018 134 SHOP MANAGEMENT machine shop, especially a small family-owned job shop, it may not be advisable to immediately purchase an MES to complement the FCS that took over scheduling from the ERP system. Instead, I advise these smaller machine shops to create the position of "water spider" by freeing up one or more employees on the current payroll. This job com- bines the work that is typically done by a mate- rial handler (who reports to the plant manager) and an expeditor (who reports to the production controller). Specifically, the water spider handles the logistics of moving raw materials, in-process batches and finished parts among workstations as specified in the routers of the different parts. By virtue of being all over the shop f loor, the water spider has both the situational awareness and the authority needed to execute, monitor and update the daily schedule that was released to the f loor. WALK ON WATER Some say water spider, some say water strider. Bottom line: it's a valuable role for the lean machine shop. Read how one shop uses them at gbm. media/spider In a recent implementation project at one shop (see "Walk on Water" callout on the left), two water spiders eliminated the previous practice where every employee (including the skilled CNC machinists) was responsible for moving the pair of finished parts to the next workstation. This machine shop realized significant savings after consolidating non-value-added walking time into the work done by just the two water spiders. A lean machine shop should not stop with implementing only those tools commonly asso- ciated with lean. Other approaches can help to extend the lean journey and avoid leaving benefits on the table. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr. Shahrukh A. Irani is the president and founder of Lean and Flexible LLC, a consulting company delivering advisory, training and implementation services based on his expertise in JobshopLean. Prior to his current position, he was the Director of IE Research at Hoerbiger Corporation of America Inc., where he was tasked with implementing JobshopLean in that facility.

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