PM Blog

Young Leader Focuses on Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement for operational efficiency and company culture is top of mind for Jerry Eighmy, business team leader at American Turned Products (ATP) in Erie, Pennsylvania. In his five years in that role, Eighmy, a 2020 Production Machining Emerging Leader, has educated himself about continuous improvement and lean initiatives, and how to implement them at both ATP’s Erie and Fairview, Pennsylvania, locations. He has received training in Kaizen events and Kata, and by using Paul Akers’ 2-Second Lean initiative, he says the company has dramatically improved its culture and will continue to do so by engaging its employees. 

Eighmy, son of co-owner Scott Eighmy, supervises about 40 employees who cover all shifts for manufacturing operations, making components for electric vehicles, hydraulic valve assemblies, engine timing, ammunition and more.    

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Opportunity for More Efficient Productivity

While tragic events can bring much sadness and can negatively affect many aspects of people’s lives, if we pay enough attention to these situations, we can find a light – something good – resulting from them. If nothing else, these experiences make us stronger.

The coronavirus pandemic has had disastrous effects on countless lives in the U.S., including an economic slowdown. However, from a different viewpoint, it has given individuals opportunities that would not have presented themselves if it were not for the virus outbreak. For businesses and industries, the crisis has brought about ingenuity, creativity and collaboration, as professionals navigate new ways to work together toward a common goal.

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Index Gains 3 Points to Register First Expansionary Reading Since COVID-19

The Gardner Business Index (GBI): Precision Machining crossed above the ‘50’ line to register 51.4 for August, marking the Index’s first expansionary reading since 2019. (Readings above a level of ‘50’ signal expanding business activity and are generally associated with a growing economy. See last month’s Index here.) The improvement in the index was broad-based as all components reported improving conditions. However, production and new orders led the move higher with both reporting their first expansionary readings since before the COVID-19 crisis. A small decline in the supplier delivery reading indicated a modest improvement in supply chain operations.

Dissimilar to the textbook example of a recession, COVID-19’s economic impact on manufacturing has been unique because of its shock to both demand and supply. While in a classic recession there is a reduction in the demand for goods which lowers sales, COVID-19 has further reduced sales because even when there is willing demand for a product, disruptions in the supply chain mean there may not be product to sell. Whether lost sales are due to a shift in demand or a lack of available supply, the impact to the economy is the same. As supplier delivery readings continue to normalize and new orders readings continue to move higher, it appears that the industry is taking the right and necessary steps for a successful recovery.

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Organized, Driven Leader Transforms Her Organization

While only working for C&A Tool (Churubusco, Indiana) for about a year, Morgan Miller has not wasted time as the company’s continuous improvement coordinator. From machining processes in medical, automotive and aerospace, to the health and well-being of almost 700 employees, Miller, a 2020 Production Machining Emerging Leader, has organized the necessary groups to make projects successful at this 700-employee company that spans over three facilities within a 20-mile radius.

“In her short amount of time with the company, she has made the largest positive impact that I have seen in 12 years here,” says her nominator, Ryan Miller, an engineer at C&A Tool. “I have never seen her falter under the stress of all she has to keep track of, and she is the most organized person I have ever had the pleasure to work with.”

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Shining Light on New Machining Technology

Every other year in September, the spotlight on new machining equipment, software and concepts seems to shine a bit brighter as many people like you and me find our way to Chicago to attend the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). But, as you likely know, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means there is to be no in-person IMTS for us to experience this month.

Traditionally, Production Machining’s August and September issues in even-numbered years include a number of blurbs describing new technology IMTS exhibitors plan to unveil at the show. Admittedly (and I’m getting into some media “inside baseball” here), prior to this year’s show cancellation, publications like ours were sent only a fraction of the number of new product press releases we’d typically receive from exhibiting companies.

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