What Can I Do Today That Will Make The Most Money For My Company?

Those of you who have heard me speak at district programs know that the above question is the fifth point of my internal compass. Taking a look at this question in light of your shop’s situation will be time well spent, I assure you. Here are some ways to make your company money by improving overall performance.


Those of you who have heard me speak at district programs know that the above question is the fifth point of my internal compass. Taking a look at this question in light of your shop’s situation will be time well spent, I assure you. Here are some ways to make your company money by improving overall performance.

Reinvigorate Your Shop’s Safety Program

No one can afford the wasted money and lost time associated with accidents and injuries at work. A vigorous safety program will reduce accidents and subsequently lower rates for workers’ compensation.

If you are a manager or supervisor, you know the areas in which your employees need additional safety training. Make a sincere commitment to retrain your people. Your goal should be having the safest crew in your department, company and industry. If you are an operator, you need to know that no one wants to see you injured. Work smart, not hurt.

Keep Production Equipment Running Productively

It’s my impression that there are a lot of production machines sitting idle on shop floors. Here is my challenge to you: Make sure that every machine scheduled for operation has actual production uptime greater than 50 percent. It should be measured, reported, documented and reviewed.

You are paying your workers to operate your equipment. If your machines aren’t running, collect the most frequent and most severe causes of machine downtime. Assign your people to investigate, and then eliminate the causes of that downtime.

Identify Quality Problems And Solve Them

What are your three or four largest recurring quality issues? How much do they cost you in lost opportunity, reduced efficiency and additional expenses? These costs can be for containment, inspection or even management’s attention, which is diverted from other business.

Quality improvement is something that can pay huge dividends. Assign a cross-functional team to address these issues and review the team’s progress weekly. Get outside assistance if needed. Make certain that the team gets to root causes of the problems and then eliminates those problems through corrective action.

Spend More Face Time With Your Customers

When was the last time you visited your customers for no particular reason at all? Without your customers, you have no business, so it makes good sense to spend some face time with them. Find out what’s on their minds, even if it’s just over lunch.

Studies show that it costs more to get new customers than it does to maintain existing relationships. Face time with your customers is an area that can’t be delegated. The commitment to a business relationship comes from the top.

Reduce Setup Time With Lean Setup Practices

Reducing setup time should be near the top of everyone’s short list for the coming year. Do you know how many production hours are lost because of long setups? If you can achieve a reduction of just 1 or 2 hours per setup, you will see the results in your productivity and cash flow.

The PMPA offers a variety of resources on lean setups, including the Lean Setup DVD from the 2003 National Technical Conference. It is available for a $500 donation to the PMPA’s Educational Foundation. Having your people watch this video is a good way to jump start your company’s setup time reduction efforts.

Upgrade Your Company’s Computer Security

Even the most basic shops rely on secure computers for payroll, purchasing, e-mail, and Internet applications. Shops with computer-based quality systems, engineering processes and production systems are even more dependent on computer security.

It’s easy to ignore security issues or to presume that the IT department has everything under control. But worms, viruses and spyware are real problems. Get professional help. Some wag once said you can never be too rich or too thin. I would add that your computer can never be too secure.

Send In Your Own Suggestions

We all fall victim to doing the things that we always do. We focus on the minutiae and the trivial. It is our comfort zone. However, we need to understand that the true value of our time is in increasing the power and profitability of our businesses.

“What can I do today that will make the most money for my company?” might just be the most important question you ask, and the most important action plan you execute, in the coming year. Did I miss anything? What else should have been included? Send your ideas to me. mfree@pmpa.org