Continuous improvement is an ongoing investment into identifying opportunities for boosting efficiency and reducing waste. This article shares advice from machine shop managers to other machine shop managers about continuous improvement plans that have worked for their companies and the benefits they are enjoying as the fruits of their labor.
Each day, organizations face challenges to become lean within their shops. Often, the focus of these lean activities is not extended to our management practices. Problem-solving methodology is one such management practice where simplicity is sometimes ignored.
Visual management has been and will continue to be a key driver in the manufacturing world. Lean principles are predicated on visual activities. 5S — the building block of all lean activities — is based on the motto, "A place for everything and everything in its place." Cellular manufacturing focuses on isolating machinery and tools within an area of the plant in order to increase efficiency. Alarms, flashing lights and other poka-yoke techniques are visual assurances of compliance in work cells.