The global response to the Coronavirus has impacted all of us. The need for continuous improvement persists, and one may argue is even more important during challenging times. How can we use lean tools during this time?
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward.
Maintaining adequate cash flow is a major factor when operating a healthy business in times of growth and prosperity. During tough times it takes on an amplified role. The fundamentals of collecting on receivables, reducing expenses, reducing inventory investment, and the like are still in play, but these and different strategies need to be examined in difficult economic times.
It is no secret that manufacturers play a critical role in the state’s economy. Manufacturing alone contributes the largest amount per industry to the state’s output with 12% Gross State product. It is the state’s powerhouse industry that is responsible for 93% of its exports, pays $52 billion in wages and benefits to 592,000 people – that’s about 9.2% of the state’s workforce.
Who is Fuss & O’Neill?
Fuss and O’Neill Manufacturing Solutions provides mentoring, training, and engineering services for industrial and municipal clients to help them achieve safer, more cost effective productivity. In a recent interview with Larry Bouvier, Vice President and Partner at Fuss & O’Neill, IMEC got a deeper look into how they work with manufacturers and set themselves apart from the competition – one of many reasons they are one of IMEC’s top Third Party Resource partners.
This is an original article written by Tim Crosby, Communication and Marketing Strategist.
The latest batch of incoming students, along with the upper classmen, will again demonstrate this approach next week when they help a company reorganize part of its Chicago-area facility to improve efficiency and profitability.
What can you accomplish with the time saved on machine or product setup? A quick changeover plan or Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) is a lean manufacturing technique intended to improve process efficiencies. Let’s take a look at how quick changeover is applied on the racetrack.
Written by Roger Shrum, IMEC Regional Manager
In my work with manufacturers, I’ll encounter leaders who are frustrated with the slow pace of implementation of their continuous improvement programs. They are concerned that they are not seeing the payback they were hoping for. What I share with them is sometimes unsettling: Many enterprise-wide lean deployment programs become stalled because the top manager in the company has not clearly articulated his/her personal vision and committed to making it successful.
In one example, a company I was advising faced chronic late delivery problems, which jeopardized its reputation with longstanding customers and opened the door for its competitors to take business away. The company was forced to work significant overtime and expedite production just to stay in the game. This company had a history of waiting for a downturn in business to shore up its delivery performance. Along the way, they “dabbled” in implementing lean methods, but as orders increased, a full lean implementation was shelved. In retrospect, these well-meaning, busy leaders now realize that they may have missed an opportunity for significant growth by not positioning the company to adequately meet customer needs during the upside of the cycle.
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.
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!
As you plan strategies for launching or revitalizing your lean implementation, don’t forget to include maintenance in the mix.
“Maintenance is a key contributor to a continuous improvement or lean initiative,” said John Kravontka, president of Fuss & O’Neill Manufacturing Solutions. “Many times, they are the last function to receive lean overview training, and they do not fully understand what is happening in their facility. This can lead to confusion and negative thoughts, taking away from the initiative’s progress. Good lean overview training per all personnel, including maintenance, can support a smoother transition.”