The Curious Thing about Capacity
July 26, 2013 ETM Manufacturing Blog http://etmmfg.com/blog
Several of our suppliers have reported that local sheet metal fabricators are getting busy and that feels right as we are winning more orders based on our available capacity. Dave just placed 17 quick turn jobs with us and more appear to be coming (thanks Dave!). The curious thing about sheet metal fabrication is that, just like politics, all capacity is local. What I mean by that is 17 quick turn jobs will swamp engineering but fly through laser, timesave and forming. One production job will fly through engineering but swamp the punches and brakes. The mix of parts make all the difference.
Here at ETM, we use common industry MRP software called JobBOSS which allows us to track capacity curves over a given day, given week or given month. For example, at the beginning of the month, I run the capacity curves for that month to verify we have enough staff in the right areas of our shop.
When a big job hits the floor or a large order is postponed, we run the capacity curves first to see if we need to make a change with our part time folks, then to see what capacity is available to move jobs around in the schedule. This is a common practice most sheet metal fabricators use, but it takes a while to set this up and maintain it. And customers like Dave don’t have that time. Dave needs to know can we make these 17 prototypes quickly or not...
Boat Lift Buoys Minnesota Manufacturer's Fortunes
July 22, 2013 Star Tribune www.startribune.com
Manufacturer Vanpro is enjoying surging sales thanks to its sister company’s modular dock-and-lift system for small boats and water bikes.
The Swift Lift, a modular, portable lift for small boats and water bikes, has given a boost to inventor/entrepreneur Brian Varsoke’s contract-manufacturing company, Vanpro Inc. in Cambridge, Minn.
The Swift Lift’s success has been a boon to Vanpro, which produces precision-machined components and subassemblies for the medical device, defense and communications industries. The company’s expertise in working with specialized metals such as magnesium is a key differentiator, Varsoke said...
Delivering Car Washers, Fuel Tanks, and More - Champ Industries produces components on both sides of the border
July 12, 2013 CIM Canadian Industrial Machinery http://www.cimindustry.com/
Components and assemblies create Magikist® car wash units, and a wide variety of parts for the transportation, agriculture, aerospace, food service, and commercial manufacturing industries.
Lise Baker, general manager of Champ Industries, Winnipeg, Man., entered the world of metal fabricating at the urging of David Bridges, then owner and her stepfather. He had purchased a small, 5,000-sq.-ft., five-employee company in 1992 and expanded it to 55,000 sq. ft. and 60 employees in only six years.
“The company was rapidly growing and I was asked to help manage,” said Baker, whose nursing background is augmented by management experience. “I joined the company in 2004.”
Baker focuses on accessing the skills of the company’s workforce. Employees contribute to decisions that move the company forward. “It’s not my style to micromanage. I ask what I can do to help get a job done and give the employees the autonomy to do what is needed. Our employees determine how to do a job and make it their own”...
Continuous Improvement Efforts Lead to New Tooling
June 12, 2013 Modern Machine Shop http://www.mmsonline.com/
G&G Machine’s continuous improvement journey led it to adopt a lean philosophy as well as add new
In 2007, G&G Machine ran out of space in its 40-plus-employee shop in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. Turning to the Wisconsin Manufacturer’s Extension Partnership (WMEP) for consultation, the company learned that a new plant layout along with a lean manufacturing philosophy and 5S workplace organization would be key to making more space. The company also realized that it needed to take a critical look at its overall machining strategy, specifically its tooling, to enable continuous improvement in its production efforts.
“After all the analysis, we discovered 150 tons of material we didn’t need,” explains Mark Stumpf, president. “We also found room to add a weld shop and install larger, more efficient machines in space we didn’t know we had,” he says. Once G&G made it past the initial 5S push, the company implemented other lean tools, such as value stream maps, to reduce lead time and improve overall equipment effectiveness measures to keep spindles turning. “We wanted to see just how much we could wring out of our current shop before building a new one,” he says...