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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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Shop Best Practice- Housekeeping and Lean

Posted June 21, 2013 12:00 AM by Milo
Pathfinder Tags: lean manufacturing shop floor

You can tell a lot about a shop by what you don't see…

I had the privilege to attend Technology Days at Paul Horn GmbH in Tubingen, Germany.

Horn USA is a PMPA Technical Member.

While we know this company as a supplier of tools to the precision machining industry, what many of us did not know is that over half of their revenues are for "specials-" custom engineered tools not carried in their general catalog.

So with over half their production classified as "specials" their shop faces many of the same demands as we do in our make to order shops.

Here are some views I saw in my 10 hours of shop touring; what don't you see here that you see in your shops?

(Click on the photos to see full size.)

OK, I'll give you a more literal view.

What do you not see here, that you see in your own shop?

Tools as Jewels…

In my extensive time on the shop floor I didn't see any clutter, rags, materials or spills on the floor, dunnage, used inserts.

The difference between what we see in our shops and what we don't see in this make to order shop is our opportunity to improve.

I saw best practices- at work!

Thanks to the team at Paul Horn GmbH for sharing a glimpse of what best practice in custom manufacturing can look like.

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

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#1

Re: Shop Best Practice- Housekeeping and Lean

06/21/2013 9:37 PM

I don't get it.

My OCD meds must be working like they are supposed to.

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#2

Re: Shop Best Practice- Housekeeping and Lean

06/21/2013 11:43 PM

Mess.

I can attest to it, in any fashion, shape or form you prefer.

Mess.

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#3

Re: Shop Best Practice- Housekeeping and Lean

06/22/2013 7:31 AM

Shop looks very clean, neat and beautiful.Well maintained. Normally any workshop will look dirty.

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#4

Re: Shop Best Practice- Housekeeping and Lean

06/22/2013 9:45 PM

To me any workplace that neat and tidy is a solid sign that too much cleaning and not enough work is being done for the customers money.

They won't be getting my business any time soon.

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#5

Re: Shop Best Practice- Housekeeping and Lean

06/24/2013 2:58 AM

Having been through automative industry "lean" and "housekeeping" it is obvious that they have significantly succeded in those programs.

I can understand the scheptics who want to see clutter, rags and such and I feel truly sorry for them.

For the implementation of true "lean" concept of "waste" in all its forms must be agressively eliminated from the facility. There is another concept that was also probably in place if so many of their jobs were "specials", and that would be ZMED. The concept of zero minute exchange of dies where each piece produced requires no disruption to production flow.

We only managed to get to SMED (Single minute exchanged) but were working towards that ultimate goal.

Congratulations to them on achieving that wonderful situation and congratulations to you on having the insight to recognise the achievements they have made.

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#7
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Re: Shop Best Practice- Housekeeping and Lean

06/24/2013 2:03 PM

That may be true to a point but every single shop or similar facility I have been around I have seen that what lean manufacturing and super neat and tidy work process may save them financially in a years can as easily been offset by taking the pay scale of one or two upper executives down to the same pay as the top guy on the shop floor, provided they too put in the same hours as him, as well.

Sorry but my experience with manufacturing and money saving is top down pay scale management will save far more than any bottom up facilities cleaning and organizing ever will.

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Re: Shop Best Practice- Housekeeping and Lean

06/24/2013 5:29 PM

My experiences with lean and housekeeping were apparently much more favourable than yours. Lean was the tool used to drive improvement at all levels of the organisation and the difference in pay scales was not significant.

Most senior execs worked at least 55 hour weeks on salary with no "overtime" while the wages staff were on 36 hour week.

EVERYONE participated in housekeeping, every section was scored weekly, including exec offices and the results were published openly.

Lean is only one of the tools, but I've seen multiple good results in other places also.

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#11
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Re: Shop Best Practice- Housekeeping and Lean

06/27/2013 8:57 AM

For me, a good chunk of the revenues in these companies lay in those 55 hour weeks with no overtime... also, what I didn't see in the pictures is people.

There is a remarkable trend on loading the lean doctrines on the shoulders of all (low rank enployees), they're expected to know it beforehand and give results immediately.

They save money not hiring professionals for this purpose anymore.

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Re: Shop Best Practice- Housekeeping and Lean

06/26/2013 10:03 AM

Many of us grew up around and learned our craft in cluttered shops, garages, basements etc.. When I first heard about 5-S, I thought well that's an American concept- think about a racing team pit stop. And some of the organized shops I had seen with shadow boards for tools etc.

Having the opportunity to travel and tour leading shop's in Europe- Horn, Tornos, Index all come to mind, I got a view of yet another level of shop professionalism - "Only have what you need on the job on the job- nothing else."

Scarcity of (meaningless unneeded tools and materials) as a competitive advantage.

Especially compared to US shops where there are so many measuring instruments on the table that the operator actually has to pause to figure out which he is trying to pick up...

Seeing craftsmen work by self issuing only the tools that the job requires was an awakening into another world.

Thanks for the thoughtful comments

Milo

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#6

Re: Shop Best Practice- Housekeeping and Lean

06/24/2013 12:46 PM

How is an honest German worker supposed to get a Workman's Comp claim if there's nothing to cause a slip or a fall? And with no mess to push around and search through between each job, how are you going to justify not hitting your numbers for the shift? And with nothing to obscure his view of the rack holding the incoming work, how is Fritz going to be able to explain to the supervisor that "Werner didn't tell me when he delivered it, so how was I supposed to know it was ready?"

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#9
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Re: Shop Best Practice- Housekeeping and Lean

06/26/2013 9:55 AM

You see more than many...

Milo

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