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Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 1:59 PM

Hi there,

We are in the process of improving the efficiency of our paint line. We manufacture hydraulic cylinders which we then do our own painting on. Our paint line consists of hooks hanging down and spaced three feet apart. Our line can move at 4 feet per second, but we typically run at 3 feet per second. We employ four workers on the line, one person hangs the parts, another person primes the parts, a third person paints the parts, and the fourth person takes the parts off the line and packs them. The parts range in size from 12 inch cylinders with a 2 inch diameter to 6 feet cylinders with a 12 inch diameter. We also do small log splitter valves which we hang three to a hook to increase part density.

So, to begin improving our process we are trying to come up with a tool to measure current throughput so that we can tell how much we improve and to give our employees a goal/measurable achievement.

The initial thought is to do parts/hour. Well, given the varying sizes of parts, which can cause the painter to have to spend more time painting or a heavier part will require the crane to put on the hooks, and carefulness is required to take off large parts without scratching paint. So that won't work. The second thought is to give each part a parts/hour, this could work, though certainly not ideal.

The second idea is part density of sorts. You could do this via a combination of part weight and part surface area. The weight affects the time of the people putting parts on and off, and the surface area affects the painters. This still doesn't take into account nooks and crannies on parts that really make it difficult for the painters and adds process time for them.

Does anyone have ideas on how to quantify productivity in this area effectively so that both the employees and employers can measure it?

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#1

Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 3:28 PM

Have you considered powder coating?

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 4:16 PM

We tested it out once but our painters didn't like it, so it's kind of sitting on the back burner for now.

Although this would be a good way to speed up the process.

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#3
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 4:22 PM

It is understandable that the painters would not like it. And you have some exceptional talented painters, to be able to follow a part at three feet per second.

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#4
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 5:10 PM

Hah, wow, sorry. I meant three and four feet per minute. I apologize.

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#9
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 6:08 PM

Sounds like baseball school.

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#25
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

08/16/2015 9:05 AM

Haha, true!

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#5

Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 5:12 PM

If you want to know how hard the workers are working, test the workers...I would measure the heart rate of the workers...an ideal elevated heart rate that is sustainable for a period of time...You're only looking at one side of the equation...This will take some testing and observation to acquire target rate for each worker....First a baseline of worker at rest, then heart rate at speed...After all, your productivity depends ultimately on the workers...once the workers are maximized, then you can experiment with how you can increase the speed of production with line manipulation/redesign without further stressing the workers...

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#6
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 5:17 PM

You just had to add "without further stressing the workers..." I was about to suggest electroincentive technology.

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#7
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 5:22 PM
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#8
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 6:05 PM

Really?

Heart rate?

I hope you are joking.

Are you going to stick a probe up their butts too?

That's an outrageous idea and no self respecting painter worker human would EVER submit to such indignities!

At least you recognize that the workers ultimately dictate productivity.

If the workers don't buy into the effort to increase productivity it will never happen, even if you hold a gun to their head.

_________________________________________________________________________

OP, ask the workers for HELP. Then listen to them.

Let them suggest ways to increase productivity by making their jobs easier, not more stressful.

Give them the tools to do their jobs better.

Lets them own the processes and give them the power to change them, at least temporarily, to see the impact of their creative ideas.

Employees want to "do good". Give them a chance to show you.

Treat them as partners, not tools.

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#10
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 6:16 PM

What you say below the line should be emblazoned into the mind of every manager.

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#11
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 6:29 PM

I have always practiced it.

Given the tools, the empowerment and the opportunity, your people will make you look good.

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#12
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 6:38 PM

I have experienced that. I even think that prospective managers should give references from former underlings. The work world would be so much better.

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#13
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 6:43 PM

Wow, I agree! That approach really works too. It's incredible then why so few managers use those principles.

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#14
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 7:12 PM

I don't see any problem monitoring the heart rate of workers, this is a step in keeping them healthy....You don't want to over stress your workers which can lead to all sorts of problems ranging from mistakes to accidents and health related issues...Increasing the work load is a touchy thing, and heart rate is a direct feedback....

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/monitoring_workers.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18475017

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2008/01/17/microsoft-system-may-monitor-workers-brains-bodies.html

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#15
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 9:07 PM

What a crock.

First site: "monitoring of workers at hot worksites" Paint booths are not hot.

Second site: "autonomic nervous function" Patients, Patients, not workplace environments.

Third site: "Microsoft is developing Big Brother-style software" It's the "Brave New World" of worker motivation.

How did you motivate your workers?

With this?

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#16
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/27/2015 11:22 PM

Paid them well and bought them all the beer they could drink...

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#17
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/28/2015 12:13 AM

Not too healthy.

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#18
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/28/2015 12:32 AM

What's that--a cat o' one tail?

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#19
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/28/2015 8:29 AM

GA. The actual worker's "should" have some ideas (along with some asinine ones as well-they are bound to arise) as they do the work every day. Unless you have a very antagonistic workforce (or management) then they should be partners, after all, it's everyone's job on the line.

I always listen to my employees. I don't always act immediately on their suggestions(usually because of the $ involved in capital expenditure), but at least I explain what is involved so they have an idea of what is required.

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#24
In reply to #8

Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/29/2015 3:30 AM

Damn................................................................Thank you!

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#20

Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/28/2015 10:19 AM

I totally agree with asking the workers what they think would help and putting them in charge of improving their own system similar to focus improvement events, value stream mapping, and all of those fun kaizen tools. However, my company is old fashioned, was purchased by a new parent company who is just trying to milk us like a cash cow, and our employee morale is low due in part to this. So it is difficult to try and implement these systems as much as I would love to.

At this point, I am mainly looking for a good measurement of productivity to show the employees as well as the employers so that we can begin improving.

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#21
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/28/2015 10:47 AM

As a "old fashioned" company, I would suspect that your employees are not really familiar with all the buzz words and their related tools, so keep it simple. I am kind of old fashioned as well, but I am finding out that a lot of the "tools" I have used for years are now in someone's named systems and vernacular.

Your revealing that you were just bought out will make your task a difficult one until you can get some information from the new parent on what they are planning on(continuing and improving operations or looting for cash only). If it's the latter, you will likely never be informed until it's over. If it's the former, there must be some kind of records around that can be used as a basis of what you need to improve. There should be some sort of job costing system as well, another place to measure your efficiency, IE., is the company actually making a profit. You will likely have to get internal help to dig out any records and make your case.

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#22
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Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/28/2015 11:02 AM

The way you put it, it sounds like the parent company is going to leave the milking machine on until the cow implodes.

Do the workers have a visual of the finished product(s) accumulated?

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#23

Re: Paint Line Continuous Improvement

07/28/2015 3:40 PM

Figure out a points total for your smallest and lightest unit, then use multipuls of that for larger and heavier units.

Smallest unit gets a points value of 1, so each one finished gets 1 point. A cylinder twice as large (and assuming twice as heavy) gets a point value of 2 and so on.

Award points based on completion of units and use that aggregate number to gauge your efforts. As in... youe awarded 1000 points in weeks 1, 2 and 3, then 1200 points in weeks 4,5 and 6 after tweaking your line.

I have seen this method used used often enough times to know it works.

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