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Down and dirty vs. Slow and elegant…

Down and dirty vs. Slow and elegant…

Aim, Aim, Aim, Fire!

You have been shot 3 times and you don’t even know it.  Just ask your kids playing Xbox in your basement.

My mind goes back to the TBM and Mark Oakeson 3P workshops we did decades ago where we held workshops to fabricate, trial, and improve several different fixtures, methods, and basic designs.  Right sizing the capital was the goal, but I never forgot the down and dirty approach and how satisfying it was. Always go back to nature and the use of gravity…………….



Managing Change on the Shopfloor:

Often times, our leadership wants the one-time, well-engineered solution to resolve and fix our shopfloor opportunities.   That means they are looking for the perfect solution.  We don’t need a perfect solution; we need an effective solution that our team members have created themselves. There is a much bigger buy-in this way from the operations group.

Shoot for 80-90% completion – then get the improvement in place and trial the method improvement.

Remember this: “Ideas” are not “improvements” until they are in place and being used.

Don’t settle for our emerging culture of “having conversations”.



Capital vs. Expense:

Capital is easier to spend once approved, because it usually comes from a completely different bucket of spending.  The capital bucket is easier on our monthly performance, and sometimes the manhours, expense is tough for us to swallow when we close the month. 

If you can find a way to build a little bit of everything all the time, then that’s the way to go.  We even have clients of ours sending out drawings with their maintenance guys, and they build our CI stuff at home and bring it to the plant when they are done.

Capital means you are trading speed and effectiveness for the spend bucket.  3 quotes?  Purchasing placing your order for you?  Local vs. distant suppliers?

When you send that kind of work out, you always get something bigger, less effective and more expensive than you really want.   



Operations wants you to work with and for them:

You don’t need to shut down the production line for a long time to try and prove out the solution.  Get your new method in place and work out the bugs with the actual shopfloor customers.  You may have to add a head to maintain your sacred shop floor production flow but get real and figure it out with your team.

There is nothing wrong with communicating to the team what is coming and what time this change will impact them.

I can think about home-made turntables that take care of primary / secondary part presentation to the operator.   Flow racks supported from the backside by the water spider.   New fixture kickers that pick up and dump the part in front of the load cell.  Error proofing relocations.  Conveyor modifications. 

All of them – great opportunities to improve our production rates and our operator rhyme and routine.


We build people – not just product:

Having the ability to respond quickly and make our own improvements is invaluable to your shopfloor organization.  Push your teams to work together and make your Continuous Improvement an active live part of your culture. 

Sometimes your T1-T3 board meetings can get stale.  Jazz it up with some method drawings, and improvements to pass around.  Get some good feedback from your team.  Even a mounted white board can get the juices flowing.

Get er done………………….

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