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  1. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by anht View Post
    That's an often seen thing. In between 5s, six sigma and whatnot to "boost" productivity someone decides on an expected "norm" be it 10 parts/day or 2 minutes for an op and this norm happens to be in the neighborhood of at least 30 to 50% faster than anyone can do it. Seen this one before, welders stopped getting their monthly based bonuses and were deprived of overtime, next thing you know productivity goes to a record low and the factory falls flat on it's face, same thing with lathe machinists at another place, etc, etc. This is why these approaches are called fads and are looked upon more like an obstacle rather than helping efficiency.
    And then they send the work to Mexico, China, whatever because it "can't be done economically here".

  2. #142
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    Is hiring consultants considered a fad? The last big company I worked for, through the early 90's which was a connector manufacturer hired the long since defunct Thomas Group. Odd that they got a $1 million contract yet had no previous experience in anything closely related to any manufacturing that involved machining. As the hands on department lead I was told to cooperate with them any way possible. After the first meeting the group of a half dozen of them had with all the department leads I had trouble containing my laughter and figured they were hired because of either a kick back or one of their higher ups was a friend or family to someone in upper management.

    In the meeting I learned of all their so called accomplishments. How improving efficiency at a chain of pizza restaurants and a commercial bakery applied to us was beyond me.

    They put one of their nimrods in every department and they just poked around asking the same questions you would get if giving a bunch of High School kids a plant tour. I honestly did not treat them well and was constantly warned by my direct supervisor that upper level management found them impressive. My department had high efficiency numbers on my shift so I was allowed more leeway to talk back to my superiors, even though I was constantly warned I was playing with 5 fouls by my boss.

    I figured I would give the idiots all the rope they needed to hang themselves, I actually kept a notebook listing counterpoints to all the feedback I got from the consultants assigned to my area. As some background I worked in contact primary with a blend of cam machines and CNCs. Everything was bar fed, some machines had multi-bar loaders and ran dedicated brass jobs and could run a shift plus without attention. We had Escomatics where a spool of stock would last a week also running brass. I also staggered lunches so no machine ran out of stock unattended.

    I figured if our local Goober didn't realize we weren't hand assembling pizzas, so a person could still make parts while on the crapper, I would explain it to him once. I noticed him observing everyone for weeks while holding a stop watch and taking notes. I got called into a meeting with our local idiot, his boss and my boss.

    As I figured he was timing bathroom breaks, people going to break early, coming back late, cleaning up early, etc,etc. He had everything figured out how one guy washing up two minutes early before breaks, lunch and quitting time cost the company $4576 a year at our $88 an hour burden rate. Since that seemed the norm in my department of 30 people that costs the company $137,280 yearly. He had numbers for everything similar, what the occasional one hour lunches I allowed cost, blah,blah,blah. As my rebuttal I asked him if he realized the machines made parts whether someone was pushing the buttons or not, and that was pretty obvious, so his making people wash up on their own time saves the company nothing and neither do any of his other ideas.

    The guy's boss angrily stood up and accused me of sabotaging the consulting firm by not telling the idiot the machines were automatic and could run unattended. I said I did and I have witnesses to prove it. I also told him if you get dirty on company time you wash up on company time, anyway. A cleanup on your own time policy would make people find work elsewhere because no company does that.

    I figured I finally had rid myself of the clowns but they brought in a different group and started filming people doing set-ups on cam machines, that went about as well. It seemed the consultants lacked certain observational skills and common sense. They thought they had found the Holy Grail when they compared the extra time people took walking back and forth to their tool boxes compared to someone parking a roll away next to the machine, they said if all employees had roll aways it would save the company x amount of dollars a year. They failed to realize in certain areas the space was too crampt for a roll away or it would have blocked an electrical panel or a path to a fire exit. I never explained that one, maybe if they asked what the yellow strips and lines on the floor were for I would have.

    Finally after a month of their one year million dollar contract they were gone along with the upper level manger that hired them.

  3. Likes digger doug, Ox, Jashley73, anht liked this post
  4. #143
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    Ill chime in to this ancient thread since this has been on my mind lately. Common sense and a open mind are the only ones needed. Very few really understand 5s, Lean, or any of these ones mentioned. I see managers that dont understand whatever the "fad" and just try to jam it into the shop, eventhough they dont know how to properly implement it, or explain it. I see it as this, each "fad" is a tool, like a wrench. It has times to be used, But when you need a screwdriver, you would not use a wrench. Ive grown very weary of people that think they are an expert because some company SOLD them a "black belt".

  5. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    I respectfully disagree. That statement is part of a reason why so many people look at lean (whether from a friend or foe viewpoint) as a "labor savings" tool (not saying your statement is directly correlated to that, but it goes down that road). ANY "continuous improvement" tool, should be looked at with one primary intent in mind: to make the best possible delivery (in terms of price, quality and timeliness) to your customer. This definition leaves open the option of running at different price points (i.e. you're not trying to sell a Ferrari at the cost of a Kia). Nobody, including most "practitioners" really understand this. It's all about the customer and this is a major reason why many machine shops don't practice lean (they hate their customers). You can practice lean with different goals/intentions but, if you get everyone on board with satisfying the customer, you will have much better results.

    The Dude
    An excellent, point, but I would ask "Who is the customer?" That could be the next operation machine, or that could be the guy hitting the "Pay Now" button on your eBay ad. To look at only the end user ignores every internal customer along the way.

  6. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    How can you tell us we are all wrong, when you don't do machining in a shop
    that has implemented all these fads ?
    What you thought was a "gotcha" is actually going to underline my point. I DO THIS STUFF IN MY GARAGE. You know, I never have to make a special trip to the parts store to change oil in my car. I use a Kanban system for oil and filters, and I have a work cell for all the tools. It takes a lot less time and effort than it did ten years ago.

  7. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Finsta View Post
    An excellent, point, but I would ask "Who is the customer?" That could be the next operation machine, or that could be the guy hitting the "Pay Now" button on your eBay ad. To look at only the end user ignores every internal customer along the way.
    I'll clarify my point by stating that, ultimately, lean (or, again, any continuous improvement program), has to be done with the end customer in mind. That doesn't mean that you should ignore the internal customer, but to optimize one internal operation for any reason (whether it's to make that operation or to improve a down-stream operation) that ignores the ultimate customer (or distributor, etc.) is asking for trouble. It's almost like any change should have a "customer impact statement" which could be spread to include internal and external customers.

    I'm not a huge book fan, but one story I remember from "The Toyota Way" is there was some IT guy who wanted to do something like make a new program or some kind of change and I think it was the plant manager who said something to the effect of "Make me a diagram on how this will allow us to make cars better for our customers". While Toyota's customers are distributors/dealers, I'm sure what that plant manager had in mind was a family driving a Toyota mini-van down the road. How can we make it better for that family to get into one of our cars? At some point, you lose control over what the dealer does (there are some lousy Toyota dealers out there) but you still have to make sure that, at the very least, you're not harming the process. And you have to make sure that everyone in your organization understands this.

    Here's a more realistic example. Lots of operations like to batch based on size or some other material characteristic. This batching can ultimately lead to orders getting "spread out" at the shipping end (we got these done, but we're waiting for these so we can't ship). This either leads to back orders or longer lead times. The optimizing can be carried through the whole plant and everyone thinks they're doing best for their "internal" customer (except shipping, that no one ever cares about anyway). The real solution could be to look at reducing everyone's change-over time (setup), so that smaller batches (ideally one order at a time) can pass through the system.

    The Dude


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