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By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 16 August 2011.

Our customers require us to send the product they need in a specific sequence and quantity. Our equipment doesn’t always agree with this need due to complex changeovers, so we build large batches of parts to cover the customer’s demand. This inventory is “tied up cash flow” that could be used to generate income, but instead it burdens us with excess carrying cost. However, our best course of action is to attack the root cause, which is the actual changeover time. This allows us to reduce inventory, increase production capacity, provide greater flexibility, reduce lead-time, and level production. Ultimately, it allows us to be more profitable.


By Drive, Inc. on Friday 15 July 2011.

On any given day, Carol would end her day by throwing away $1,200. As a team leader, she was responsible for tagging and documenting scrap that had been generated by her team that day. She followed a standardized process given to her by the Quality Assurance Department, so that all the material cost could be captured, and so that the scrapped product would not accidentally be used to make product.


By Drive, Inc. on Wednesday 15 June 2011.

As companies begin their Lean journey, they learn early in the process from books, training or consultants that a key component of “Lean” is to build an engaged workforce. We hear about how many improvement ideas are generated by team members at Toyota and the savings that result and we want that kind of “engagement” in our plants. Many countermeasures are tried: Quality Circles, Kaizen Events (which, by the way, is an oxymoron...more on that in a future newsletter), Suggestion Boxes, Self-Directed Work Teams, Surveys (to assess the level of operator engagement) and others, all making the attempt to “engage” the workforce. Typically, the results fall pitifully short of expectations.

Metrics: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 14 May 2011.

I fly a lot. Not that I want to. In fact, my driving radius is constantly increasing because airline service levels are so poor. Just in my last three consecutive flights on two different airlines (names withheld to protect the guilty) I have experienced the following:  An originating flight delayed for an hour, but the connecting flight not delayed so that I could fly to the hub city, but not to my final destination  A two hour delay for unplanned maintenance  A two hour delay for planned maintenance (obviously not very well planned)

Spring Training

By Drive, Inc. on Friday 15 April 2011.

The Boys of Summer are busy practicing now in the Florida Grapefruit League and the Arizona Cactus League. Major League baseball season openers are just weeks away. This is the perfect time to talk about Spring Training and how the concept applies to manufacturing.

TPM (Total Productive Maintenance)

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 15 March 2011.

We have experienced many companies that desire to improve their business and financial results, but struggle with implementing an improvement process due to a lack of stability. A large source of this instability is equipment uptime. Our machines must be available to run product when we need them and produce quality parts at an efficient rate. A common approach to achieving this maximum effectiveness is Total Productive Maintenance (TPM).

TPM (Total Productive Maintenance)

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 15 February 2011.

In last month’s newsletter, we defined TPM, its impact on business metrics and how to measure OEE. In this issue we will dive into the practical application of TPM.

TPM (Total Productive Maintenance)

By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 15 January 2011.

In the last issued newsletter, we discussed the first seven steps of the TPM process. In this last issue, we will focus on the final and most crucial step, Continuous Improvement.

Getting a Handle on Cost

By Drive, Inc. on Wednesday 15 December 2010.

The poorest performance measure any manager could be judged by is variance to budget. Here’s why: Budgets are collections of guesses. Some simple statistical analysis shows that a budget isn’t worth the paper it’s written on (as a performance measure, anyway). Let’s be conservative and say that there are 20 separate accounts that you budget. And let’s be optimistic and say that you have 95% confidence that the amount you budgeted in each account is correct. The probability that your budget is correct is 100x (.95)20 = 35.85%. Furthermore, you only have that level of accuracy if your revenue forecast is exactly on the money. What happens if demand for your product increases or decreases?

Understanding Value

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 16 November 2010.

Last month, we reviewed the common ways of understanding costs that are used in traditional accounting and business planning methods. Breaking down costs by category or by organizational function leaves out the most important consideration…value. And leaving out value almost always means leaving out the voice of the customer.

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