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Transitioning Your Die Shop  Part 4-Sustainability
Transitioning Your Die Shop Part 4-Sustainability By: Jim Szumera - MACOR Published on: 10/13/2014
Transitioning Your Die Shop- Part 4, Sustainability

In the previous parts we discussed the needed parameters to have in place. This is simplicity, documentation and people. The last piece in the transition is sustainability. How do we maintain a successful transition now and in the future? As we all know, change can be difficult. This is especially true on an individual basis.

A good foundation begins with a strong team and team effort. There are four ingredients to building good teams, forming, storming, norming and performing. The forming is the actual naming of team members, which we have done in part 3. Storming is a team building process that happens shortly after the team is formed. This is where there is usually no agreement, consensus or sense of accomplishment. Personalities and individualism take over. It may take several weeks for the team to become focused at the task at hand. Norming is a team process whereby everyone starts to understand the team goals and expectations. They now start to learn to work together. Performing is the final phase of successful team building. Now we can realize results.

To create a continuum, the team must meet once a day for a ½ hour to discuss the daily agenda. These meeting are intended to strictly focus on the issues and productivity. Once a month the team should meet with management for 1 hour to discuss processes, possible improvements, and production issues. After several months the daily team meetings can be substituted for a weekly meeting for 1 hour. The meetings should be formal and focused.

Training consistent with your operations is necessary. The training should focus on die maintenance, Kaizen and team skills. The training should also be continuous.

Kaizen is a critical component for success, especially 5S. The new environment for die maintenance should be organized and equipped to meet any demand.
The availability of tools, instructions, prints and materials is necessary in preventing lost time and frustration. A visual workplace plays an important role. Public checklists, signs, reminders and direction should be available and seen. Think of this as a system of checks and balances or error proofing.

Good Administration is also an important ingredient to success. Remember that we are to enable our workforce in every possible manner. This includes the administration. Purchasing, HR, Engineering are all considered services to die maintenance. Die maintenance cannot be stalled by waiting for a service. A designee can act as a liaison for these services. I like to draw the analogy to driving a car. Which takes longer to fix, running out of gas on the highway or stopping at a station to fill up?

Transitioning your die maintenance area away from the strict reliance upon skilled craftsman will result in substantial cost savings and create a productive streamlined process which can adapt to most any environment. Of course, it won’t happen overnight. It will take dedication and commitment from all management levels. Economic times will drive the rethinking of your business. This is change. Are you ready for it?

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Transitioning Your Die Shop  Part 3-Choosing the Right People
Transitioning Your Die Shop Part 3-Choosing the Right People By: Jim Szumera - MACOR Published on: 09/30/2014
Transitioning Your Die Shop- Part 3, Choosing the Right People

In part one and two we discussed the needed parameters to have in place or at least a start in the right direction. Basically it was simplification of product (or how to simplify it) and documentation (who, what, where, when, why and How). The next part of the successful transition is choosing the right people.

The transition staffing of the die shop does not mean hiring new people or hiring die makers. It does not mean testing for the right candidates. What we are looking for are people who are familiar with the products being manufactured or the process used in manufacture. There are some basic requirements such as the ability to read micrometers and calipers and an understanding and comprehension of tooling and part specifications. These people can come from any area of your plant including quality, production, or maintenance. The important thing is to have some “skin in the game”. This means we are looking for people who have been with you at least 1 year or more. They have already demonstrated reliability, attendance and the ability to work in teams. This serves as a foundation for loyalty and a desire to improve one’s job skills. I found that language is really not a barrier to progress. Nor is gender, race, or religion. Most of the time, the right people are already in plain sight. These new positions must be billed as a positive direction in career path and treated as such. There should be a job description thoroughly defining short and long term goals and be explicit in expectations, duties and responsibilities. New candidates should be encouraged to participate and training provided to enhance their skills. You may have accomplished die makers already working in the shop. If so, these guys can be instrumental in providing a certain type of hands on the job training. All training must be job specific, according to written work instruction. As supervisors and managers our job is to enable people not to direct them. Understand that mistakes will occur. Good leaders make people believe in them. Great leaders make people believe in themselves. Many of you can remember the great sports teams and what made them great. Some of you may remember the Miami Dolphins’ “No Name Defense”. Nobody knew their names but everyone remembers that they became the greatest defensive team ever assembled. It was not any one player but rather an interaction that produced one goal or endeavor.

In our next discussion we will explore sustainability and how to build a lasting process.
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ArtOct 3, 2014 - 9:15 am
You can disagree with this man but if you do you are living in a fantasy world.
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Transitioning Your Die Shop  Part 2-Building on the Basics
Transitioning Your Die Shop Part 2-Building on the Basics By: Jim Szumera - MACOR Published on: 09/16/2014
Transitioning Your Die Shop- Part 2, Building on the Basics?

In part one we discussed the first parameters needed in transition. Preferably, your production parts are similar and not too complicated or requiring special pre or post treatments of one kind or another. We will also assume that you have the titled necessary documentation in place. It may or may not be complete but nonetheless it’s there.

Documentation is the foundation for every successful business. The level of completeness determines how the company functions. For instance, you may have a production plan and process FMEA in place but it may lack the detail needed to troubleshoot successfully. It may not contain all the information affecting the process. The lack of complete data will cause disruptions, downtime, and impact quality. The same holds true for die maintenance. Does the tool have supporting documentation to service all aspects of maintenance. This may include, but not be limited to, detail prints with the latest revisions recorded, and a thorough process FMEA describing every known problem, root cause and solution. It may also be advantageous to have spare parts ready or replacement kits. This step eliminates down time by facilitating a changeover instead of a sharpening. Are the check lists complete and accurate? Is there a work instruction complete with pictures and illustrations? Are quality documents in place describing patterns and compliance? If the answers are yes, the transition becomes a lot easier. However, the magic question now is about the completeness and availability and access to the data.

Another element to success is a visual 5S workplace. Are all the tools ready and easily accessible? Are the instructions and checklists publicly posted. Is all the necessary equipment and inspection tools useable and quickly accessible. Is the maintenance area properly equipped and ergonomically functional?

In our next posting we will discuss the staffing process and what this encompasses.
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ArtOct 3, 2014 - 9:15 am
You can disagree with this man but if you do you are living in a fantasy world.
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