Friday, September 22, 2017

Path to Plant Layout Optimization

Reconsidering your facility’s layout will enable your business to reduce material handling costs, minimize space requirements, and reduce energy bills. Whether you’re relocating completely or simply re-arranging your current set-up, there are several goals to keep in mind:

  1. Improve work flow by becoming more organized
  2. Eliminate waste
  3. Maximize effectiveness
  4. Save time and money
  5. Reduce risks

To successfully optimize your plant’s layout, both spatial and process-related concepts must be taken into consideration, as well as those ideas that are tied to a human element.

Many plants in modern times follow a plan known as “lean manufacturing” combined with a concept known as “Six Sigma.” The concepts were developed in the late 1980s and early 90s and aim to enhance the successes of any manufacturer. Here are some general rules created by these combined concepts that will help optimize your manufacturing layout:

  • Optimize the macro-flow of the entire facility first, allowing you to avoid sub-optimization within narrow departments or functional areas.
  • Create spatial relationships while keeping a linear flow in the back of your mind. The influx of raw materials should flow seamlessly with the outflux of goods.  By maximizing this efficiency, you also will reduce waste!
  • Design for the lateral receipt, inspection, prep and just-in-time (JIT) insertion of auxiliary materials.
  • Integrate supervisory staff offices and support functions with the production.
  • Simplify, combine and automate the sequence of operations to reduce variation, shorten cycle times and minimize handling of materials, repetitive motion issues and employee fatigue.
  • Optimize the environment to create easily cleaned, well-lit work areas utilizing daylight where possible, adding color where appropriate and using ventilation systems to keep dust, dirt and other contaminants away from workers and finished products.

These steps take several important concerns into account: guaranteeing a high quality of goods, securing the safety and well-being of your workers, and allowing for the most effective production schedule possible.

The combination of these concepts proves successful because they take the entire plant into consideration when it comes to creating the best design. It allows for all moving parts to flow seamlessly ensuring an efficient use of equipment, material, people and energy.


MEET OUR EXPERT
Russ Mason
Lean Program Manager

Russell Mason is a Lean Program Manager for the Business Solutions Team. His areas of expertise include change leadership and management development, sales and operations planning, management operating systems, supply chain effectiveness, and a range of continuous improvement approaches focusing on lean and agile methodologies such as finite capacity scheduling, demand pull systems, and related management processes that optimize operational throughput. To read Russ' full bio, visit the-center.org



Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.the-center.org.

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Year to Go...

If your organization is certified to ISO 9001:2008 (or ISO/TS 16949 or AS9100C) you have approximately 365 days left to upgrade your Quality Management System (QMS) and have your Registrar audit it. In fact, you should aim to be done and have your certificate in hand by the end of August 2018 at the latest.

Meeting the Deadline
To be exact, ISO 9001:2008 expires at midnight on September 14, 2018. A question I am often asked is: What if an organization wasn’t able to prepare and successfully complete their audit? The simple answer is that the Registrar would request their certificate be returned, the organization would not be able to post their certificate on their website (for example) and they would not be able to use the Registrar’s logos, etc. Simply put, you'll have to start again.

New Audit Process Certification
For organizations that received their ISO 9001 certification before 2011, the new audit process according to ISO/IEC 17021 involves:

  1. Submitting an application to a Registrar
  2. Scheduling a “Stage 1” Audit
  3. Scheduling the “Stage 2” Audit
  4. Responding to Any Non-Conformities
  5. Obtaining a New ISO 9001:2015 Certificate

Costs of a New Certification
Significant consideration should be given to the cost of going through the certification process. If you miss the September 14, 2018 deadline, it will not matter that you had a fully functioning and compliant QMS the day before expiration. The Registrar is required to treat it as a new certification. This new certification will cost you:

  • Money - At an industry average of $1,300-$1,400 per audit day for your organization (view details of audit duration), plus various additional fees, travel costs, etc., certification can get costly. It makes better sense to do what it takes to maintain your certification.
  • Delays - From start to certification in hand, the whole process could take 150 days (or more). During this period, the organization is at risk of losing existing customers and missing out on acquiring new business. 
  • Availability of Auditors - If a significant majority of organizations leave their upgrade audits until 2018, there may not be sufficient, qualified auditors to do the work. Schedules come under pressure, and this can trickle down to clients seeking to squeak in their audit before the September 2018 deadline.

Preparation is Key - Contact The Center 
Upgrading from ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015 does not need to be a difficult task. Contact the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center at ISO@the-center.org for assistance. Our ISO 9001:2015 Transition program can be accomplished in four visits and will expertly guide companies through the process. One recent participant shared the following with us after their audit:

“The auditor was particularly impressed with the way we rolled our SWOT analysis into our strategic plan. She went on to describe it as a best practice and commented that overall we were very well prepared.” 

Clearly, as with most things in life, proper preparation makes all the difference in the world.

MEET OUR EXPERT
Andy Nichols, Quality Program Manager

Andy has 40 years of expertise in a wide variety of roles and industries, with a focus on quality management systems in manufacturing organizations. In addition to his ISO 9000 Management Systems experience, he has worked extensively with ISO/TS16949, ISO/IEC 17024 and ISO/IEC 17025. His broad practical knowledge of ‘Quality Tools’ includes: SPC, FMEA, Quality Circles, Problem Solving, Internal Auditing and Process Mapping. He has also been an IRCA and RABQSA accredited Lead Auditor. To read Andy's full bio, visit click here.


Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.the-center.org.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Low Unemployment Means it’s Time to Get LEAN!

A low unemployment rate is favorable for the economy and the general public. But, what if you’re an employer struggling to find additional staff and resources to produce and deliver a large influx of new orders? How do you fulfill your obligations with a dwindling candidate pool?

You get lean!

With a lean transformation, you could easily increase your output by as much as 20%. Do you know that 5S is often considered the foundation of implementing a lean program? That’s right. Creating a clean, safe, organized work environment is essential when crafting a lean strategy. It’s often said, “If you can’t do 5S, you can’t do lean.” 5S is a proven method used to systematically organize, clean and standardize the workplace that maximizes efficiency in all phases of the business.

What’s the true benefit of 5S for your business?
Ben Franklin said: “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”

Time wasted looking for tools, parts, utensils, notepads, brooms, pans or cleaners should be eliminated. Let’s look at the following scenario: The average worker may spend about 10 minutes per day looking for things. He or she may look for a tool or a part or even just walk to a storage location that’s not nearby. The worker may even be walking around clutter or piles of inventory just to get to something—which adds up to 50 minutes per week! If that employee works 50 weeks per year, the total amount of time he or she might spend walking, looking and retrieving items they need would equal more than 41 hours. That’s an entire week by the end of the year—for just one employee!

5S is only the first step in a lean transformation. There are many more tools available to improve efficiencies and drive waste from the system, none of which ask workers to work harder, faster or longer. Other successful lean tools include:

  • Standard Work: One of the most powerful but least used lean tools, Standard Work allows the task to get done using best practices and performed the same way to yield consistent results. 
  • Poka Yoke: Often done in conjunction with Standard Work so the ability to make errors is not allowed, Poka Yoke is a Japanese term that means “mistake-proofing” or “inadvertent error prevention.” The key word is “inadvertent,” as Poka Yoke is any mechanism in a lean manufacturing process that helps an equipment operator avoid (yokeru) mistakes (poka).
  • Visual Management System: The implementation of a visual management system is also important when streamlining operations since visual cues are used to communicate messages, check inventory levels and re-order points—often taking the guesswork out of operational decisions.  

Do More... with Less!
By implementing lean strategies, you can eliminate waste, maximize efficiency, and work smarter. Isn’t it time for a lean transformation?

The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center) has helped Michigan’s manufacturers for more than 25 years with lean implementation strategies. The food and agriculture industry in Michigan is exploding and many food processors are realizing that food processing IS manufacturing. For additional information, contact me at jspillson@the-center.org.


MEET OUR EXPERT
John Spillson
Food Business Development Manager

John Spillson is a member of The Center’s Food Team. For more than 20 years, John owned and operated his own food processing company, taking a family recipe of rice pudding into five states. This experience has given him extensive knowledge in production, sales, food safety, marketing, warehousing and logistics. To read John’s full bio, visit the-center.org.





Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.the-center.org.