Manufacturing in America is central to our economic strength and a driver of innovation. Manufacturing jobs are some of the best in the country, yet the public doesn’t perceive them to be. And there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill them. But together, we can help tell the real story…
Too often, companies are quick to implement new equipment in order to meet increased customer demand for products, without maximizing the utilization of their current equipment. Equipment changeover time is one area of the business that is often ignored and companies accept long changeover as a part of doing business. The changeover time of equipment can be a Hidden Factory just waiting to be uncovered. It is very common for equipment changeover from one product to the next product, to take a couple hours for completion. Companies often make several product changeovers per week, consuming hours of potential production time. If we could somehow reduce the changeover time from hours to minutes, we could have a dramatic effect on providing additional production capacity. This is what Dr. Shigeo Shingo discovered while helping to develop the Toyota Production System. Dr. Shingo terms his discovery SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Dies), and it prescribe that changeover time should be less than ten minutes for a given product.
What does SMED Involve?
Companies can systematically reduce changeover time on their equipment by following a simply four step method.
SMED Four Step Process
Finally, after completing the SMED four-step process a new changeover standard can be developed using the remaining internal and external steps. The new changeover standard should prescribe the changeover sequence and operators required to complete the changeover on the equipment.
For most companies that have not participated in any formal changeover reduction process on their equipment, applying the SMED approach typically reduces the changeover time by 50% when first applied. By continuing to work as a team, planning changeovers, practicing, being innovative and standardizing changeover methods equipment changeover times can continue to be reduced. Companies should strive to achieve the goal of single-minute changeover times and recapture the loss capacity due to long changeover times.
As a kid, I was never really into wondering how stuff was made or where it came from (which I probably why I’m in marketing & not manufacturing, but I digress) – I’d like to blame my lack of curiosity on my parents and after reading about the Top 10 Cool U.S. Factory Tours, I may have a pretty good case against them.
Our family vacations were always fun, exotic and a mixture of stress/rest so I can’t blame my parents too much… I did have amazing vactions! Now, I’m on the look-out for more than beautiful beaches! Working with TMAC has opened my eyes to how “stuff” is made and even though I’ve been on a handful of plant tours (all of which were ah-mazing!) since I started here - it seems like a great way to spend some down-time too.
Have a sweet tooth? Visit the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, California!
Have a need for speed? Visit the Bowling Green Assembly Plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky!
A country boy (or girl)? See the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois and experience equipment past and present!
Baseball fans, Artists, Aviators and Dentisits Coca-Cola Addicts can each experience their favorite brands from behind the scenes. Don’t see anything that peaks your interest? Check out the Watch It Made in the USA website for their suggestions and if you decide you’d rather not brave the crowds – you can always tune in to the Science Channel and catch up on episodes of “How It’s Made“!
What are your favorite factories to tour?
Manufacturing is an exceedingly important industry sector in our state – maintaining our strength is a key economic driver. We’ve rewritten the rules regarding ROI on conferences. Gone are the days when you spent three days out of the office only to return with fragments of useful information. Join us this coming February for an informative day of learning that impacts every facet of your business!
According to OSHA slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents. They cause 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities. It’s no secret that slip, trip and fall accidents increase substantially during the winter months. However, Slip, Trips and Fall incidents during inclement weather are preventable if we have a system in place to assess and manage the risks.
The system should identify the outdoor areas used by employees/ pedestrians most likely to be affected by water and ice, for example: – building entrances, parking lots, walkways, shortcuts, sloped areas and areas constantly in the shade or wet.
The following are recommendations to help guard against Slips, Trips and Falls during inclement weather:
Always try and wear the best non-skid shoe possible, especially paying attention to the type of weather you will be exposed to. Shoes that have worn, slick soles should not be worn. Avoid high heels during inclement weather. Select something that has a large surface area, which has good traction. If you work in an area where there is a lot of water, then pay special attention to brands that have superior anti-skid properties.
Action should be taken whenever wet/freezing temperatures are forecasted. Local weather stations and their web sites are a great source of information.
Does your company create daily price quotes for customers to make a sale? If yes, which one of these landscapers most closely resembles your quote process?
Assume you want to contract landscaping for your home. You’ve found three companies that can do the work. You ask each to quote your job.
Instead of accepting the low bid, a wise move is to ask each how they arrived at their pricing.
Which one do you give your business and why?
Here’s what I would do? I’d tell each vendor that I might not be able to do the entire project and ask each one to rebid my job on a line-by-line basis.
I would then ‘cherry pick’ and see if by doing so I can come up with a total cost of less than the third landscaper’s original $950 bid. If I can come up with a lower total price, the “material-doubler” landscaper will undoubtedly lose money on what he sells me, the more rational one will at least turn a profit on the items he does sell me, and the third may or may not turn a profit on its portion of the sale.
If you don’t have a system similar to landscaper #2, customers will cherry pick you. They’ll buy things from you that are under-priced, e.g. you are losing money on them but you don’t know it. And you won’t sell the things you’ve overpriced that would be profitable at a lower, more competitive price.
I’ve seen scores of manufacturers with invalid cost models win major contracts on which it was impossible to earn a profit this way – some of which won enough of these contracts to put the company out of business.
Which landscaper pricing method does your company most closely resemble?
The West has lost a tremendous amount of manufacturing jobs to China over the past 30 years.
We see the results in our economy everyday illustrated by employment indicators. In the same time period we have seen the productivity of remaining US manufacturing show increases. Still, there are many who may think that increased productivity isn’t important anymore as the China threat of low wages has neared its peak and will now even out.
Before you make up your mind, take a look at a recent article, China’s New Guru of Productivity, from last month’s Wall Street Journal. This is just one more indication to me that China and the rest of the world is still working diligently to increase their manufacturing capacity and quality. What does that mean to remaining manufacturing within the US and to future US manufacturing?
Let me know your thoughts.