Imagine this scenario: Altimax Manufacturer, founded 20 years ago, operates out of rented warehouse space in a large industrial complex. The warehouse is a metal building and has had three additions, all of different size, shape and roof height over the past 15 years. Business is good and Altimax expands, hiring more people, renting additional space, adding new products, and using new technologies. Rather than reorganizing space to incorporate each new operational segment, however, the plant layout has evolved irrationally as the company has grown. Top management realizes it's got a problem, but the cost of removing walls, cleaning up old stock and moving equipment inhibits the adoption of a more rational plant layout. Sound familiar?
Written by Mary Hallock, IMEC Technical Specialist
In lean we talk about “seeing the waste” and using visual tools. Many of us that use these terms have had a lot of training in engineering, manufacturing and other highly technical areas. However, the skills needed to “see” problems may lie more firmly in the study of art.
Written by Mary Hallock, IMEC Technical Specialist and OSHA Authorized Trainer
UPDATE (12/1/17) – OSHA has extended the deadline to December 15 for electronic reporting of injuries and illnesses.
ATTENTION: The OSHA electronic reporting of injury and illness records has gone into effect!
Certain employers are required to submit information from their completed 2016 Form 300A electronically from July 1, 2017 to December 1, 2017. Establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and establishments with 20-249 employees that are classified in certain industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses. Most manufacturers fall into those certain industries.
Written by Andrea Olson, MSC and CEO of Prag’madik
We all know change is inevitable. There's also been a lot of talk, especially in the manufacturing sector, about impending disruptions, or creating disruption to transform the industry. No one wants to be disrupted, or caught off guard when something new comes along and upends your business. You can't predict the future, but you can protect your organization from disruption through change.
What do we mean by change? Change doesn't have to be massive. Change can be small. Incremental. Change is the basis for which every successful business operates. Finding new ways to do things simpler, faster, and easier. Identifying and acting upon new customer and market needs. Modernizing the way you do business. Staying open to new ideas.
Written by Scott Czysz, IMEC Technical Specialist
Over the last couple months, I've observed a recurring theme with a few of the companies I am working with: a frustration with "them" (co-workers, factory workers, etc.) not doing what they are supposed to be doing. As I dig deeper, I have found the problem lies within:
- Poorly designed (or never designed) processes,
- Poor or no process documentation,
- Poor or no training for the people that are doing the process every day, and, not surprisingly,
- Poor results.
Antuanet Sanchez has joined the IMEC team bringing a strong background in project management and customer service skills to Illinois organizations. As a Technical Specialist with more than 15 years of experience working in a Fortune 500 project management office, Antuanet has a passion for continuous improvement and prides herself on leading cross-functional and remote teams.
Written by Mary Hallock, IMEC Technical Specialist
October is National Fire Prevention Month -- a great time to ensure your workforce is prepared for all types of emergencies. Start by reviewing any emergency procedures and documentation you have for the organization. Are they up-to-date? Do your staff know how to respond in the event of an emergency?
Fire in a business setting can cause an interruption in production, loss of revenue, and even worse, it could put your team at great risk. Understanding a few simple preparedness techniques may save you from a future catastrophe.
Written by Lawrence Bouvier, CMRP
Vice President – Fuss & O’Neill Manufacturing Solutions
Is equipment downtime holding you back from achieving Lean Manufacturing success?
We all have heard of the seven wastes addressed in Lean Manufacturing, but did you ever consider that if you applied similar principles to equipment health, you’d want a discipline to create Lean Maintenance?
Overproduction, Inventory and Waiting are three of the seven lean wastes that can come as a result of equipment failures. A good maintenance process will keep these to minimum levels. So, how can we achieve this? The only way is to minimize the amount of maintenance and repair that we perform on machines!
Written by Jim Dunbar, IMEC Marketing Coordinator
IMEC is very pleased to announce that Doran Scales, Inc. of Batavia, IL has completed the ISO 9001:2015 registration, demonstrating their on-going commitment to total customer satisfaction and quality improvement. The single most instrumental factor which has established Doran’s strong position in the market is a straight forward desire to “Provide the best customer service in the industry."
Written by Roger Shrum, IMEC Regional Manager
Recently in conversation with manufacturers I have fielded questions about Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) and what it might do for their business. It is eye opening for me to realize many manufacturing leaders are unclear about TPM and how it serves as a strategic element of the robust Lean program many clients believe they have deployed. Several key reasons exist for this disconnect. The following explores those reasons and offers suggestions to overcome the misconceptions.