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    Default Management Fads, SPC, TQM, 5S, Lean....

    So this seems like a good place to pick a fight.
    Is any of this useful in small shops?
    Not just make your customer feel good or maybe opens a door.
    Does it make money in your checkbook?

    The books you read are full of worked great, saved the world examples.
    They never talk about made things worse, killed productivity, cost too much. I guess that would not sell books.
    Single part flow, JIT , What? Outsource to somewhere that a boat moves the parts and then claim to love daily pull JIT deliveries?
    SPC in a shop that makes ones and twos or even twenties? Why? Valued added vs time and money spent is what?
    Don't most lie and hold inventories to provide pull shipments.
    Don't most just cheat the spc shipping data?
    Do we do paperwork just for the sake of numbers? Isn't this a huge waste of time and money?
    Somebody, somewhere has to buy that time and effort.
    Bob

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    I'm very interested in what turns up here...

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    We use 6S and I have no idea how it goes for the fab guys or assembly (I presume just fine since it means they're generally assembling one thing at a time anyway), but for the machine shop it blows. I frequently run one part, then run it again the next week, then again the next week, when the setup takes 20 minutes, and the cycle time is four. We stock some parts, but not many, and many more parts are stock ordered cut to length, so if one gets scrapped, it has to be made up later, repaired, whatever.

    I'm getting real sick of it.

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    Accountants run the world. Lean makes there life easier as to not have to assign a number to a companies inventory when it is dead and buried because they made it so "competitive" it won the race to the bottom.

    Nah, I just had that discussion. People wanna believe when you make a part in a CNC it always comes out right. After you have proven the first. Stock twists in vices then you have scrap. Nope not exactly the number in as comes out.

    Again the math on value of a rack full of parts makes accounts go squirrelly. So enough big shots lost money on racks of them that they have kidded themselves that everyone can operate like Toyota. Sorry pal. You put 5000 lbs of aluminum through your shop a month. Toyota does that in a second. So yes they can JIT the shit out of there operation. You can not Sir.

    Don't yell at me when your missing competent B in Assembly C because you believe you could be the next Toyota.
    /rant

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    A few thoughts -

    20 years ago in a very different context, a very high level manager in a famous (but struggling) org said "Process is not substitute for substance"....

    As I've written elsewhere, for any of these systems to make sense, they have to be applied with real data. Any time I read about 4 hours of setup to make 1 part with a 5 minute run time, I wonder if somebody doing an analysis thinks the setup is 5 minutes rather than 4 hours.

    These things ONLY make sense in the context of the whole firm. And in an org of any size, people running machines on the floor may not be aware of, for example, the inventory taxes they run up with extra parts sitting around (in some states.) Or the cost of the floor space to store it. Many members here work in smallish shops where you know damn well about the taxes and the floor space costs and can adjust for it with a 3x5 card and a pencil. But most of the world's operations are more complicated.

    On the other hand, people like to save money where it's visible, so it's way to easy to focus on 20c of aluminum rather than the $4 of labor wasted trying to save it.

    A lesson from a factory in Kenya of all places - the *principles* of "lean" matter, but the details as applied in say Toyota may not apply. When you import all of the raw materials a container load at a time, there will per force be large amounts of inventory, not a single bloody thing will be just-in-time, etc. But even so, having boxes with large numbers of parts that are not finished, and which have to be stored before the next operation, takes work, but does not add value. So arranging tooling/run schedules/etc. so that blanks are transformed into useable parts in as straightforward a fashion as possible makes a lot of sense. Doing some kind of QC on parts during the run is really way better than making 1000 pieces of scrap. Making some carefully considered number of parts, rather than as many as happened to fit in one shift or somebody felt like making that day matters. (This is stamping plant and assembly plant - a little different from a machined parts operation.) On the other hand, when die changes aren't all that quick and the power goes out pretty often, making generous batches can make perfect sense. It requires actual analysis, thought, and judgement....

    And think about cells and high value parts with down stream ops - does it really make sense to turn 100 parts only to find they can't be milled to make the actual part? On the other hand, if the turning op is reliable, of course overlap it with milling....

    I personally make one-off to three-off tools and prototypes - and there's no point making a batch of three, because the design changes after the first one. So we make one, qualify it, and then make two more. Such is life. But it's for a reason, not slavish devotion to some theory.

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    BTDT
    ISO9000, 5S,Lean , In a custom mfg environment, all you end up with is meetings, clean floors, and painted profile tool boards.

    There may be more value to some of it in volume manufacturing. But nothing that quality, service and price will not trump.

    I never lost a customer due to ISO 9001 "pending". ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by bryan_machine View Post
    Doing some kind of QC on parts during the run is really way better than making 1000 pieces of scrap. Making some carefully considered number of parts, rather than as many as happened to fit in one shift or somebody felt like making that day matters. (This is stamping plant and assembly plant - a little different from a machined parts operation.) On the other hand, when die changes aren't all that quick and the power goes out pretty often, making generous batches can make perfect sense. It requires actual analysis, thought, and judgement....
    I am not talking about a oh I pounded the 1/4 inch in when it was suppose to be a number 40. I am talking about 64 blanks doesn't equal 64 parts. As good accountant math tells you. It makes 63 because shit can happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by bryan_machine View Post
    I personally make one-off to three-off tools and prototypes - and there's no point making a batch of three, because the design changes after the first one. So we make one, qualify it, and then make two more. Such is life. But it's for a reason, not slavish devotion to some theory.
    Yes but your still not tearing down the whole setup to make your next 2 parts. You just tweaking the existing tooling. I would assume.

    I accept that data is king but I would argue that we need a reliable way to gather said data. Which doesn't seem to exist that make sense. I sat in the chitchats about internet 4.0 or factory 2.6 or whatever chat phrase they are pitching this year. Consultants need to eat too.

    It is adding complexity to an already complex set of processes to get a block into a widget that I can gather some coins from. Yes I have ISO. Makes wonderful sense in places but it is a wee bit of a pig in some aspects.

    Adeveon was talked about 5 years ago and Mastercam integration is still 2 years out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bryan_machine View Post
    On the other hand, people like to save money where it's visible, so it's way to easy to focus on 20c of aluminum rather than the $4 of labor wasted trying to save it.
    This is pretty much it to a T where I'm at. We are a machine shop (well, most of a machine shop) in part of a much larger manufacturing company, making our own products. Very few things coming through here are large. The ones that are we usually do in batches because it's an hour of setup or more, but management seems to ignore my pleas to make FIVE parts instead of ONE, because that's the only way the labor can be amortized across the final products IMO. They might be more than willing to pay my labor to get one part "just in time" but it doesn't make up for my frustration at seeing one more of the same thing come across my bench six days later.

    Most of these are very simple parts, drilling, reaming, broaching.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Atomkinder View Post
    They might be more than willing to pay my labor to get one part "just in time" but it doesn't make up for my frustration at seeing one more of the same thing come across my bench six days later.
    If you are seeing it that often they failed Gnatt Chart in University and no one has caught them yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bryan_machine View Post

    These things ONLY make sense in the context of the whole firm. And in an org of any size, people running machines on the floor may not be aware of, for example, the inventory taxes they run up with extra parts sitting around (in some states.) Or the cost of the floor space to store it. Many members here work in smallish shops where you know damn well about the taxes and the floor space costs and can adjust for it with a 3x5 card and a pencil. But most of the world's operations are more complicated.
    Not only the taxes, etc, but you have real cash tied up in that inventory. You paid for the material, you paid for the tools to turn that material into something useful and you paid the labor to do it. All of that hard earned cash is now sitting on a shelf in your shop and it's not earning you a dime as long as it sits there. Even a small shop can have >$10,000 sitting on a shelf in inventory rather easily and without even realizing it. There are lots of better, more productive things you can do with >$10,000 other than have it sitting on a shelf.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Atomkinder View Post
    This is pretty much it to a T where I'm at. We are a machine shop (well, most of a machine shop) in part of a much larger manufacturing company, making our own products. Very few things coming through here are large. The ones that are we usually do in batches because it's an hour of setup or more, but management seems to ignore my pleas to make FIVE parts instead of ONE, because that's the only way the labor can be amortized across the final products IMO. They might be more than willing to pay my labor to get one part "just in time" but it doesn't make up for my frustration at seeing one more of the same thing come across my bench six days later.

    Most of these are very simple parts, drilling, reaming, broaching.
    I had to check your locale to see if we maybe worked at the same shop...

    Yes, these fancy trends can sometimes, often-times get in their own way. The only one of which I could see being directly applicable to a shop of any size is 5S - which, as I understand it, is more about problem-solving, and usually is environment/space oriented. I'd say it's very likely that a shop of any size could stand at least one intense house-cleaning project. However, detrimental to the small shop is the fact that most of these 5S projects can eat up a lot of time, and that's something that most small shops can't afford to lose - time...

    My previous employer in question was a medium sized manufacturing company that raked in the cash making semi-custom sheet-metal products. They had bought into the Toyota Production System, and their production lines really benefited from it. But when they applied this to the entire company, it became somewhat of a joke. Especially when the mostly rural workforce wasn't willing to embrace it. We did lots of the "spend 4-hours to setup and make 2 parts, then tear-down and repeat next week" work because we weren't allowed to "over-produce."

    Anyone knows that a small-shop manager who operated that way would be tossed to the curb in just a few weeks, but in a larger company, it can fly because there's no one important enough, who also has enough sense, looking over the smaller areas of waste to call B.S. and make things more reasonable...

    In the larger shop, what these mis-applied JIT principles turn into, is a much slower work-pace, and lots more coffee/smoke-breaks...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Atomkinder View Post
    We use 6S and I have no idea how it goes for the fab guys or assembly (I presume just fine since it means they're generally assembling one thing at a time anyway), but for the machine shop it blows. I frequently run one part, then run it again the next week, then again the next week, when the setup takes 20 minutes, and the cycle time is four. We stock some parts, but not many, and many more parts are stock ordered cut to length, so if one gets scrapped, it has to be made up later, repaired, whatever.

    I'm getting real sick of it.
    In this regard, you're right and it totally sucks. Agree 100% as I go through that too. I'm lucky enough though where we don't have to follow that crap 100%. I have my guys make extra parts when I know we're going to have to make the same crap in 2 weeks. Why waste another 2, 3, 4, or however many hours doing the same setup?

    Some of the other concepts however, I do see real value. Having an organized and clean workspace is not only pleasant to work in, but saves time too. When shit's all over the place, it's real easy to waste a LOT of time looking for that allen wrench, or that one collet, tool holder, etc. When I need to go run a part and setup a few tools, it's great when everything you need is in it's place, right where it should be. That's not always the case, but we try.

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    5S used moderately is actually good. simple things like 40 setup books in numerical order to help find the one you want faster rather than random. like if you got a encyclopedia why would you not keep in alphabetical order?
    .
    like hundreds of small fixture or chucking blocks labeled, engraved and kept in labeled drawers so easy and quick to find, never get lost or waste time looking for them in the wrong places
    .
    tools with marked out locations is a location tool. lazy people often do not realize they borrow stuff and leave all over the place
    .
    i am just saying a little moderate labeling and organizing does make jobs go easier. often 4 hour setups you spend more than 3 hours looking for stuff. if you do some basic organizing so finding stuff is faster you save more time than it took to organize stuff. like leaving partial allen wrench sets all over the place. you put all in a pile and find you can make 10 complete sets. usually better to have maybe 2 sets and keep them all in the set in consistent easy to find locations.
    .
    using a vendor resupplied cutting tool vending machines near cnc machines. why spend hours going to tool crib every day when you can go 100 feet and get stuff out in seconds. computerized vending machines is a great 5S tool and time saver. it cuts down on setup time considerably
    .
    some management miss the point. often doing any program 100% is overdoing it, but 5S even 95% of stuff can make the day more productive.
    .
    as for lean. i have seen a US warehouse shutdown because it was easier and cheaper to order from Germany and stuff on consignment could be stored cheaper in shipping containers, or spread throughout a factory without warehouse taxes. i have even seen automated warehouses shutdown and not used because bosses did not want to pay for maintenance people to maintain million dollar automated equipment. or million dollar robotic systems replaced with a guy in a fork truck as it is cheaper if you find the right fork truck driver. simple things like fork truck disabled if involved in a collision and the fork truck driver has to explain why the collision tends to make safer more careful drivers

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    So this seems like a good place to pick a fight.
    Is any of this useful in small shops?
    ...Do we do paperwork just for the sake of numbers? Isn't this a huge waste of time and money?
    Somebody, somewhere has to buy that time and effort. Bob
    No argument from me. If you need a consultant to tell you how to make a ten-man shop run efficiently, you don't need a consultant, you need an experienced shop boss, or you need to be an experienced shop boss.

    As for the undeniable "fad" aspect, it is worth noting that many who are new in business find seminars and programs psychologically fulfilling; those things have a way of becoming an end in themselves rather than the means. Outside of business, people have long been addicted to self-improvement and motivational seminars, to the point that it's become a stereotype. In the business case it's sort of like playing at management. Not all of it, but on the whole for a small machining operation there are probably better ways to spend money.

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    there is little question that training that helps most people learn to be more organized and efficient and this helps many to be more efficient at their job.
    .
    having people figure out stuff on their own is like giving somebody out of high school a 2000 page CNC manual and told to figure it out on how to be a top cnc machinist. or giving somebody a welding machine and told go figure out how to be a welder. training by a teacher who can answer simple questions or give opinions from their experiences in a minute rather than people trying to figure it out on their own taking weeks or years is usually more efficient way to learn
    .
    as long as you do not go over board and put a taped line on the floor marking the toilet location and other silly stuff. obviously some people know no moderation.

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    Oldwrench's post reminded me of another former employer. They paid a "consulting" firm to come in and tell us how to be more efficient. From the shop-floor, we saw a hyper-active blow-hard running around our shop, telling the managers all this feel-good advice. He rolled up his sleeves and made some shitty looking job-carts. Video-taped one of the regular/repeat jobs with a clock in the back-ground to see how much time could be shaved off. And some other simple tasks & advise...

    At the end of it all, nothing stuck...

    In reality, if the managers had simply spend some time of the floor, taking notes of the shop-floor employee's daily issues, they could arrived at much better results themselves. All his advice was fine and dandy, but like DMF_TomB mentioned, we still wasted at least 2-hours a night, walking all over the shop looking for tooling. Buying some spare tooling, some nice cabinet, and turning a guy loose with a label-maker, and then creating some accountability so that everyone followed along would have been huge. 2-hours a day saved on a 10-hour shift is a 40% improvement - in efficiency, productivity, or billable hours - however you want to put it... x 2 shifts a day, x # of employees....

    Anyway, I saw the writing on the wall and got out of there shortly after. Fast-forward about 5-years and I hear they've just gone out of business...

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    5S is the stupidest thing I have seen yet in manufacturing. Period. There is absolutely no logic. None. At least not the way I have seen it applied.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelieking71 View Post
    5S is the stupidest thing I have seen yet in manufacturing. Period.
    .
    5S taken to extremes can waste a lot of time and money. but from my experience a moderate amount of 5S helps to better organized and more efficient at a job. anybody for example with 10 partial allen wrench sets all over the place is a example where a little 5S would help save time by having 2 complete allen wrench sets in easy to find locations.
    .
    just saying in moderate 5S is a good thing. having hundreds of small fixtures all labeled in drawers labeled so easy to find and never get lost i can easily say the effort saved far more time than it took to get it 5S organized.
    .
    putting lines on the floor for every item sometimes is a waste but little things like a broom location marked out saves wasting time finding where a broom is kept all the time.
    .
    some sloppy disorganized people truly do need a little help on how to be better organized

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    Quote Originally Posted by Atomkinder View Post
    We use 6S and I have no idea how it goes for the fab guys or assembly (I presume just fine since it means they're generally assembling one thing at a time anyway), but for the machine shop it blows. I frequently run one part, then run it again the next week, then again the next week, when the setup takes 20 minutes, and the cycle time is four. We stock some parts, but not many, and many more parts are stock ordered cut to length, so if one gets scrapped, it has to be made up later, repaired, whatever.

    I'm getting real sick of it.
    Not looking to pick a fight.....I agree with the scenario you described as being shitty and inefficient. Most organizations do not take the next step which IN MY OPINION is to figure out how (if possible) to make that 20 minute setup into a 3, or 5 minute setup. This may require an investment in equipment / tools. Where i work we are a midsize manufacturer of our own product line, so some things we do would not work for a job shop or similar. We have lathes with dedicated tooling, mills with dedicated tooling and maybe one or 2 stations that get changed out. We have fixturing that either stays on the machine or is quickly interchangeable. Once this is all set in place.....the problem gets pushed out of the shop and into engineering. It is their job to figure out which dedicated piece of equipment they are going to design their part to fit into. Now, obviously not EVERY part fits that scenario and that is where a more flexible department gets created to do all those little jobs that do not work in an existing cell. I have a chart I use when I program with different zero locations on the machine.....known zero point for vise #2 in the Mazak 510 with a set of vjaws or flat jaws ...parellels or none....my guys dont indicate or edge find to setup, they load the fixturing,jaws etc as shown on the setup sheet and the setup is done. (they still need to take the normal machining precautions on the first part). Even the tooling that we swap out stays in a holder.....how many minutes does a guy spend looking for a holder....then a collet....nope coolant through collet.....nope this onr looks like someone was driving nails with it.....damn no collets.....
    I have actually been quite surprised at our ability to figure out ways to make a 20 minute setup into a 12 minute setup....into a 7 minute setup.....then a 4 minute setup. It can happen, but not without "buy in" at the shop level or without financial "buy in " from the management level. My .02 cents

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    on many 1 hour jobs i can spend over 2 hours just locating things from a big tool crib that does not do a good job at maintaining inventory levels and having to ask around where a tool or fixture is so i can use it.
    .
    sometimes small labeled and organized stored fixtures and tooling that is replenished automatically and kept near cnc machines can save considerable time over big tool cribs and big fixture storage warehouses
    .
    quite literally it can mean the difference in 2 hour setup time and 5 minute setup time for many 1 hour jobs.


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