Speaking of Precision Blog

Speaking of Precision

Speaking of Precision is a knowledge preservation and thought leadership blog covering the precision machining industry, its materials and services. With over 36 years of hands on experience in steelmaking, manufacturing, quality, and management, Miles Free (Milo) Director of Industry Research and Technology at PMPA helps answer "How?" "With what?" and occasionally "Really?"

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Most Important Job- Take 2

Posted February 15, 2013 12:00 AM by Milo

Training assures our shops will be sustainable and that all are operating at their highest and best use. Scheduling does that for all the resources in our shops in light of market demand.

Last August we ran a post asking what was a company's most important job?

Ford says Quality is Job 1…

It caused quite a stir on the many LinkedIn Forums and attracted a number of thoughtful comments.

The economy and markets for our precision machined products have changed since then, thanks to all the shenanigans in Washington D.C. involving the election and the fiscal cliff. Not to mention whatever is going on with the currencies and economies affecting imports and exports all around the world.

Based on comments from recent visits with members I think it is time to reconsider that question in light of circumstances today.

What is the most important job in our shops- today?

Today we do not seem to have the flexibility to grow our way out of our limits by adding new technology ( takes new employees ) or adding people ( we can't find skilled people and with housing still underwater, even we did find them they won't move). So we have to maximize (not just optimize) what we can produce with what we have. Adding more of either just doesn't seem to be in the cards.

To me that means two things-

  1. We need to upgrade cross training for our people,
  2. We need our schedulers to do the impossible.

Cross training increases our teams' ability to be agile, flexibile, and competent.

To meet challenges after a key team member is lost due to illness, retirement or accident. Cross training upgrades the value of each employee. It makes our shop more sustainable, by increasing the odds that our equipment will be operating. So the trainers and mentors play a key role in keeping our production and talent aligned. How is that going in your shop?

Scheduling is how we assure the greatest return for the resources deployed in our shop.

Scheduling is where all the assets and tools that we have can be applied to meet the market's needs for our services and products. Assuring that all of our equipment and people are operating at their highest and best use is what the savvy scheduler is doing- to maximize the dollar throughput collected for each hour of shoptime from our customers.

You can rely on software for scheduling- if you are, I sure hope that someone has done some reality checking recently on the factors that your program uses for availability, prtoductivity and cost.

You can rely on the inside sales department to schedule your shop. If so I hope that "my inside sales rep" is the loudest and most obnoxious to assure that "my job" gets to the fron t of the line. I hope that is not the system at your company.

Or you can rely on a professional who works as part of a team- to understand the demands of the market, the limits of the equipment, and the abilities of the folks on the floor to assure that every thing is running at its "highest and best use" to assure the flow of product out the door and cash reciepts from the customers is a steady and growing stream.

Once the right folks have been hired, I'm thinking the most important job is having a schedule that assures that they and the equipment resources at their disposal are operating at their highest and best use.

What do you think?

Job 1 Clock

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank Milo for sharing this blog entry, which originally appeared here.

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Re: Most Important Job- Take 2

02/15/2013 8:13 AM

What I experience is, adhering to a schedule does have immense benefits, but the people in charge of scheduling, have to think of it as more then a job with an overall view, otherwise there is no flexiblity.

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Re: Most Important Job- Take 2

02/15/2013 8:38 AM


How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life. --CAPTAIN KIRK, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
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Re: Most Important Job- Take 2

02/16/2013 4:40 PM

Cook, Chef, Canteen Manager.

This is why the Italians/Spanish do so well with limited resources.

This is why the Germans do so well.

This is why we struggle in the UK!

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Re: Most Important Job- Take 2

02/19/2013 6:44 AM

So maybe forget such stuff as a paint-balling junket, and have people do a once a year (or whatever deemed apt) job swap. Maybe not totally practical, but working alongside somebody doing a totally different task might enable understanding and communication. Who knows, it might even result in new ideas being swapped and increased moral across the workplace. Have the MD wear a toupee for the day and see how it works thesedays on the shopfloor, and have some youngster shadow a 'power that be' for the day. Oh, I think that's already partly done in a TV format.

Cross-training may be a bit ambitious (in terms of cost) for smaller companies, but gaining knowledge of other peoples daily job function doesn't have to cost too much.

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Re: Most Important Job- Take 2

02/19/2013 8:24 AM

Quality is still the most important. If you are not making a quality product, you are not going to sell anything. If you can't sell, you don't need to cross train or schedule.

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Re: Most Important Job- Take 2

02/21/2013 7:18 PM

It would be difficult to pick any one job as being the most important. Every job really depends on every other job. If one fails, they are all affected.

Mr.Ron from South Ms.
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