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By Drive, Inc. on Thursday 15 December 2011.

I’m in St. Louis today, and there is a reason why I can’t see the Statue of Liberty from the top of the Gateway Arch. As it turns out, the earth is spherical in shape and due to the curvature of the earth our line of sight is limited to only a few miles – at best. Even from an airplane we can see very little of the earth. When I fly home tomorrow and the jet is approaching Greenville, SC, I will not even be able to see Asheville, NC, only about 60 miles away. Of course, this is a surprise to no one reading this article. When we discuss this concept in manufacturing many find True North statements to be surprising and daunting. “True North” is a position from which it is impossible to improve. Some example True North statements are: •100% Value-added time •Zero opportunities for defects (100% of potential failure modes error-proofed) •Zero risks for injury


By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 15 November 2011.

In previous publications on TPM, we focused on enlisting the operators of the equipment to be more involved in the process of maintaining it. We also discussed implementing systems to monitor and continuously improve the equipment’s Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). TPM allows us to address the low hanging fruit that keeps the equipment from producing as it is intended. Assuming you have instituted TPM, you are now ready to address the other, more difficult aspects of maintenance, which can be addressed with a Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) program.


By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 15 October 2011.

A call from a client stating their machine would not run to the stated capacity. They had tried everything to increase the output. The machine was currently running less than 150ft/sec, which was a far cry from the needed 300ft/s. This client didn’t have the luxury of excess capacity in other presses, so they were hiding this problem with overtime. The amount of overtime was putting a strain on both the hourly associates and management.


By Drive, Inc. on Thursday 15 September 2011.

Once upon a time there was a man (we’ll call him Bill) who decided that he wanted to become a craftsman of fine furniture. Not only did he desire to make it his trade, he wanted to become known as the finest furniture craftsman in the world. To this end, he set out to benchmark the best craftsman in the world. After doing extensive research, he determined exactly who the best furniture craftsman in the world was. This man (we’ll call him Tom) made furniture of incredible quality and durability at a competitive price. What was especially outstanding was that Tom made huge profits, to the point that not only were his products considered the best, but he was also by far the most wealthy furniture craftsman in the world.


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).

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