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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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Transitioning the Die Shop- Can I Do It Successfully?
Transitioning the Die Shop- Can I Do It Successfully? By: Jim Szumera - MACOR Published on: 08/26/2014
Transitioning Your Die Shop- Can I Do It Successfully?

The reasoning for making such a transition must be based on necessity. That necessity is the lack of expertise remaining in the marketplace coupled with the need to be more competitive. Do I need tool and diemakers to keep my shop functioning from a die maintenance and production standpoint? What do they actually do that cannot be done by others not in the trade? Do I need to pay someone $25-$30 an hour to stand by a surface grinder and watch it go back and forth. Do I need special expertise to drill a 1/16 diameter hole through a 1 inch block of steel? If I have qualified tradesmen, why am I still working overtime? A good example of transition are the medical offices throughout the country. They have transitioned their practices completely and successfully, utilizing medical technicians and assistants. The technicians and assistants carry out many of the daily tasks required. In fact many medical outlets rely solely on technicians.

The main focus in a manufacturing transition should be your production expertise. Are your production parts complicated. If so, what makes it complicated? Is the majority of parts symmetrical? Are they round? Is there a great variation in part geometry? What are the tolerances required? These conditions need to be analyzed to determine what degree of competency is needed to facilitate maintenance and production.

The next critical area is control. What controls do I have in place now? Do I have the proper documentation covering all processes, both production and die maintenance. Many companies only go as far as meeting there customer requirements for traceability and documentation that they totally overlook controlling the in house processes such as die maintenance. Is quality engaged in all facets of production?

If these 2 topics, control and complication, meet criteria, you are probably in a very good position to move forward in the transition. Change is never easy. Through the past, many of us have come to completely depend on the expertise of the Tool and Diemaker, but the fact is that expertise is now running on empty. Our next articles will cover the actual tasks, choosing the right people and enabling them to perform to their optimum consistently. We will also address sustainability for the future and how that is enforced.
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Dona VincentSep 4, 2014 - 11:36 am
Great intro to this question many of us are struggling with.
ArtOct 3, 2014 - 9:13 am
You can disagree with this man but if you do you are living in a fantasy world.
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