Category: Leadership

Reduce Cycle Counts

Software Enforcement of Procedures

Whether your Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is paper-based or a partially-implemented software system, you can waste a lot in Supervisor-level salaries performing constant cycle counts on your raw material coil inventory.  This is normal for most companies because they lack an automated, systematized process for capturing coil inventory data as coils are loaded onto machines.

Everyone wants to say, “My guys are really diligent about writing down their coils.”  Those same people have production paperwork showing coils that are 60,000′ long!  Those are some impressive coils. Continue reading “Reduce Cycle Counts”

Re-implement Your Eclipse MES to Stave Off Economic Downturn

Eclipse Manufacturing Execution Software

It’s possible a tough recession is just around the corner.  As a roll forming manufacturer, you’re thinking about ways to avoid the pain.  If you’re an Eclipse user, you can help your company by finally doing a full implementation of a system that allows you to improve capacity and margins without a lot of up-front costs.  In fact, you’ve already paid the biggest cost when you bought the software. Continue reading “Re-implement Your Eclipse MES to Stave Off Economic Downturn”

Downtime Tracking and Data Bias

Data Presentation Bias

You’ve implemented your new ERP with your state-of-the-art MES, and now you’re tracking problems on the shop floor!  The MES has some cool reporting features, like built-in Pareto charts and drill-down capability.

After a few months, you check in with the Plant Manager.  Are they using the new systems to get a better handle on issues?  Well…it turns out the reports aren’t that helpful.  Operators don’t like the system.  The reports are full of charts and numbers, but the data isn’t meaningful to what’s happening day-to-day.

You know other companies use this system, and the word in the industry is that it’s really powerful.  Trusted associates swear by the functionality.  What could have gone wrong?  I’ll tell you the three major areas where manufacturing companies fall down. Continue reading “Downtime Tracking and Data Bias”

The Cost of Poor Quality

Unacceptable Part Length Quality

The title of this post comes from a concept within Lean Six Sigma.  It is a reflection of costs associated with scrap parts, wasted production time, and all the time, materials, and labor required to reproduce scrap in order to make enough good parts to satisfy a customer order, as well as the lost opportunities that come from the inefficiency and re-work.  It encompasses all of the business processes that touch the manufacturing process, as well.  From the order-taking and scheduling systems, to the method by which you bill your customers. Continue reading “The Cost of Poor Quality”

Downtime – The More Expensive Scrap


If you are a big manufacturer with a dominant place in the market – if you have hundreds of production lines – and if you have more capacity than you know what to do with, then this article isn’t for you.  You can afford to be wasteful and sloppy.  Improving margins might not be on your radar.

But if you are a small and scrappy manufacturer who’s looking for every edge you can get – keep reading… Continue reading “Downtime – The More Expensive Scrap”

We Don’t Know What Our Margins Are – How Do We Take Decisions?

During my time in the Roll Forming Industry, I have been in dozens of companies across the United States and around the world.  Frequently, I have found myself in conference rooms with C-level groups trying to implement a new ERP system.  Since I worked for a company that made MRP scheduling software for manufacturers, we were a critical vendor and typically brought in early in the process to consult.

In these meetings, I have heard the same conversation over-and-over.  The first time I heard it, I was shocked, but since then I realize most companies must operate the same way.  It usually comes from someone in Accounting, and it goes something like this, “We don’t even look at the paperwork that comes off the floor anymore.  It’s usually meaningless.  Every time we’ve tried to reconcile what the Operators write down with what we measure coming off the line, it’s either wildly inaccurate, or there’s so much error it doesn’t matter.  We know what we spent last month to purchase things.  We know what we shipped out.  The rest must be waste.  We just have no idea where all the waste is coming from.”

Continue reading “We Don’t Know What Our Margins Are – How Do We Take Decisions?”