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Before You Make Any Technology Investments, Let’s Visit the Dungeon

28. June 2019 11:45

By: Joe Baggett,  Innovative Wood Process Solutions              

Editor's Note: This is the first blog in a series by engineering consultant Joe Baggett

After years of leading engineering and technical service operations at major cabinetry and wood products firms, I determined that I would like to take what I had learned and use it as the basis for starting an engineering and consulting firm. So I began by thinking back on my career so far. In setting up this consultancy, I wanted to do something – and create something - new and different. 

On the equipment side, I did a quick survey of the machinery, infrastructure, and information technology for which I had been responsible. It shocked me when I realized that I had specified, acquired, installed and commissioned over 100 million dollars worth of equipment.

Then I asked myself what I had learned from all this. That’s what I plan to share with you in this series of articles about plant operations.

A question that has long plagued me was why the average shop or factory floor doesn’t look more like the show floor from IWF, AWFS or Ligna? I used to think it was for lack of funds or financing. So I asked myself if each wood manufacturer that attended these shows had a blank check, with no obligation funding to buy machines each year, would it really make a big difference in our industry’s operations overall?

The more I thought about it, the more I concluded, it would not. Yes, more machines may be bought and installed; but would it result in the average woodshop/factory being more profitable, stronger organizations, etc.? I would have to say no. Let’s explore why.

First, just ask and answer some blue-sky hypothetical

  • If the organization you are currently leading had 10 million in obligation free capital to invest in equipment, could you increase profitability by 5 to 10%, or more?
  • Would such investment strengthen your organization?
  • Would it bring health to the culture of the organization?
  • Would it fit with a holistic company-wide strategy?

I’ll go deeper into what’s behind my opinion on why investment is not the magic bullet in later articles. But suffice it to say for now, that after giving it a lot of thought, I determined that the most valuable contribution I could make to the woodworking industry through a consulting engineering practice wouldn’t be merely offering technical expertise, but to address, instead, the strategy – in regards to strategic thinking or what I call “holistic organizational thinking” - in which to apply it.

In re-engineering or green-fielding a plant, asking the right questions and in the right context is everything - especially as increased specialization and the creation of worlds within the industry such as Finishing, Bar Code Scanning, Shop Floor Control Software, etc. , come into play.

Let’s return to our questions about that hypothetical ten million dollar investment. One thing I noticed is that most wood manufacturing companies have a “dungeon” – the place where equipment that is not in use, or is obsolete, is stored. Sometimes that equipment isn’t very old, and not infrequently, there is a lot of it. Also sometimes it hadn’t been in service long enough to pay itself off. (Just think about what that $10 million in potential investment could buy.)

During this same time, I was beginning to take note of this phenomenon: the downturn in the economy was beginning. At first, I thought this accounted for the growing inventory of machines in those dungeons.

But there was another force at play. So let me ask another non-rhetorical question: What’s in your dungeon? If we had to write a report about the equipment not in use or obsolete what story would it tell? The story usually has less to do with the equipment itself and more to do with the organization, strategy, permitting and the market life of the product it was purchased to produce. If we did a postmortem on the equipment in the dungeon what story would it tell us?

Now, this where I would suggest that the obligation free investment in equipment wouldn’t have that big of an impact on the average woodworking organization if it was available. I would suggest that it would proportionately grow our dungeons.

I can’t tell you how many times we have resurrected a piece of equipment from the dungeon but in the context of making it work for the current application and needs. Always with the “it doesn’t work” as the starting place. This reaction is the anecdotal verbalization of this phenomena from “what to think” instead of “how to think.” The downturn in the economy only exacerbated the underlying problem. Holistic Strategy is the key to changing how we approach equipment acquisition and application.

Will Peterson says it best in his book, Strategic Learning:

“As strategic leaders, we have to derive increasing simplicity from increasing complexity. Information is universally accessible and becoming free to all. The internet offers it to us on a plate. No longer does the world belong to the ones with the most information, but to those with the highest ability to make sense of it; no longer to those who know more but to those who understand it better.”

Next time we’ll look at the idea of “asking the right questions," and why that is so hard to do.

 Joe Baggett is President of Innovative Wood Process   Solutions. Reach him at iwpsolutions19@gmail.com,    817-682-3631. www.iwps.biz


Hardwood Edging - Part 4

25. June 2019 10:48

By: Scott Grove, Furniture Design: ScottGrove.com

Adding curves to any project substantially increases complexity; applying curved inlay compounds the process. Scott Grove has been teaching these techniques for over ten years, perfecting every step and nuance along the way. He then spent three additional years writing a book Hardwood Edging and Inlay for Curved Tables publish by Schiffer Publishing and has refined this process to a fine and simple art.

During this time, he also developed The Ultimate Router Base System available at ImagineWoodworking.com that gives you more control and increases safety and stability on any handheld routing operation.

Scott will demonstrate how to use this system that helps you produce accurate, perfectly-matched curved joinery, large inlays, and dead-centered inlays over a seam easily and every time. It’s perfect for any professional or hobbyist woodworker who wants to add new dimensions to their creations simply and safely.

With this one router base system, complex shapes, circles, curves, and inlays can be quickly and accurately made, saving you time and money. It is the only offset router base that accepts a standard 1-3/16” PC template guide and includes the only extra-large template guide bushing set that allows you to offset a ½” router bit to either side of the cutting seam.

The design adds surface area to your router base for greater stability, safer operation and more controlled cutting. Its high machining tolerance avoids slop or wiggle that is sometimes found between a router base and standard template guides, too.

Learn more about this topic by viewing the "Curved Joinery, Edges and Inlays" session from IWF 2018 that is available in the IWF Education Portal.


Trends at Ligna 2019: Will We See Felder or Festool Safety Saws at IWF 2020?

31. May 2019 17:41

Watching the reports filter in from Ligna 2019, the big global woodworking show that ran in  Hannover, Germany last week, we're beginning to pick up on some exciting technology revelations. 

Owing to the lead time in market channels, some of these developments could make their first North American debut at the August 2020 International Woodworking Fair.  In particular, we are intrigued by developments in table saws, with Woodworking Network reporting this morning on Ligna trends in safety saws - specifically Felder's new PCS (Preventive Contact System), and a possible development by Altendorf of a similar saw. Here's how Felder describes its development (shown in the video below):

  • Safety environment recognition with early approach detection 
    Upon detection of unexpected, fast approaches within the saw blade area, PCS triggers its safety lowering system. The safety environment encloses the saw blade and protects against access from all directions by lowering of the saw blade under the saw table at the speed of light. The functionality based on electromagnetic repulsion, which allows for an all-time extremely short response time of a few milliseconds. The PCS safety lowering works damage free and there are no reset costs. The sliding table panel saw is immediately ready for use at the push of a button. PCS works without consumable parts and therefore completely adjustment and maintenance free. 

The technology is contrasted with both the U.S.-based SawStop - now owned by Germany's Festool - and which uses a brake to instantly stop the sawblade; and Bosch, also in Germany, which uses a piston to drop the blade below the cutting level before it can do damage. Bosch lost a trade dispute that led it to discontinue import to the U.S., but the saw may be available in other markets.  

Festool showed visitors to Ligna its Festool tablesaw with flesh sensing technology (below). Festool showcased this version of its bench-mounted circular saw complete with SawStop technology to prevent operators from suffering serious cuts.



If Altendordf enters the safety saw market, it would be a natural step in its evolution since its acquisition, in 2017,  by the investor Avedon. Soon after Stiles Machinery ended its distribution agreement for Altendorf saws.  The Altendorf Group says it aims to become a supplier of high-quality machines forthe international craft businesses in the field of panel-based furniture manufacturing. In addition to its classical sliding table saws, it now sells edgebanders made by Hebrock, a company based in eastern Westphalia, Germany, whose edge-banding
machines have made an international name for themselves, and further acquisitions are planned. The Altendorf Group America was established in Mooresville, North Carolina at the beginning of 2019.

The Ligna show producers also provide their own summary of trends at the show - here's an excerpt:  

Manufacturers of wood processing machinery for solid and engineered wood concentrated on automation and integrated systems, especially on modular technologies as a gateway to digitization. The approach here is one of end-to-end digitization – with concepts spanning everything from planning and design to production and monitoring – as opposed to island solutions. The other notable feature of these new digitization technologies is that they are as easy and intuitive to use as smartphones.

Five axis aggregate

Meanwhile, robotics technology is increasingly becoming the norm across all areas of industrial manufacturing, from materials handing to collaborative processing by humans and machines, right through to surface finishing. The surface-finishing link in the value chain is becoming increasingly integrated into the overall production system. Automated guided vehicle systems are optimizing materials flows. And advanced central system control modules are intelligently managing the associated data and aggregating it quickly and efficiently for even the most demanding of single-batch production scenarios.

IMA Schelling Ligna

From the cloud technologies on show, it was abundantly clear that cloud-based data management has now fully made the transition from proprietary systems to digital ecosystems. Thanks to a growing array of digital assistance solutions, the use of production data for preventive maintenance and production planning is getting more efficient all the time. At this rate, the vision – presented at this year's LIGNA – of end-to-end cloud-based material and tool management may soon be a reality.


Another vision that is getting closer and closer to becoming a reality relates to networking based on standardized communication protocols for all machines. On that score, the European Federation of Woodworking Machinery Manufacturers (EUMABOIS) and the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) used LIGNA to present a framework for a new P&W (Plug & Work) standard. The framework is a joint project by eight leading European manufacturers of woodworking machinery.

Another key trend in the woodworking and wood processing industry is augmented reality – most notably the use of VR headsets and tablets to visualize work-steps and machine states.

LIGNA 2019 also presented "all-in-one" solutions that can efficiently bring together multiple standalone machines to create integrated process flows. The show likewise featured new developments in saw technology that deliver industrial safety benefits. These involve high-performance sensor systems for material detection – a new generation of self-learning scanner technology that represents an exciting initial implementation of AI in woodworking.

The highlights of the wood-based construction area of the show included the world premiere of a six-axis aggregate that can process work-pieces on all sides without repositioning. There was also a newly developed membrane press that can handle curved and uneven surfaces. And in the digital printing part of the LIGNA surface technology showcase, visitors witnessed a new software that can generate even extremely challenging decorative laminate layers, such as stone-look, in a single pass while maintaining an extremely high level of quality.

In the forestry technology section of this year's show the spotlight was on climate change, Forestry 4.0, digital machine integration, supply chain tracking, timber flow management, the use of VR headsets for machine control, and apps for various in-forest operations. Other key themes related to the development of forest access routes and new approaches to forest logistics.

The program also included an array of special zones and events that generated a great deal of visitor interest, among them the LIGNA.Forum, the LIGNA Campus, and, of course, the LIGNA Training Workshops for equipment users from the joinery, cabinetmaking, carpentry and assembly trades. And then there were the absolute visitor magnets, chief among them the Crane Driving Championships and the German Logging Championship.

The next LIGNA will run from 10 to 14 May 2021 in Hannover, Germany.



Keep Your Cool

12. August 2018 17:58

By: Ralph Bagnall, Woodworking Consultant, Author and TV Host: Consulting Woodworker.com

There are many factors that need to be accounted for when cutting or milling plastics, but your over-arching concern should always be keeping things cool. With wood products, heat is an issue, but is secondary to vibration. With plastics it is the other way around; vibrations need to be controlled, but heat build-up is really the major concern. Too much heat begins to melt the plastic rather than cutting it, and this not only produces a poor edge, but the softened material can actually cool back in the kerf and weld itself together.
The heat we are concerned with is from friction. Every tooth cutting into the plastic generates heat, so generally, fewer teeth is better. Good gullet distance between teeth gives some chance for cooling between impacts. The diameter of a 10” saw blade generally lets the teeth cool between cuts, but if there are too many teeth, heat will build up along the cut line of the material.
With softer plastics like polycarbonates or nylons, a bandsaw blade removes heat from the cut line well but, again, large gullets and a healthy set to the teeth are recommended. Reciprocating blades like those on a jigsaw should not be used; the blade generates even more heat on the return as on the cutting stroke and allows no time for cooling. When cutting plastics, watch for galling around the kerf line, little bits of melted material clinging to the edges means the friction is excessive.


Natural Woodgrains Reign

12. August 2018 17:49

By: Michele Weitzel, Northern Contours

Spotted widely at the 2018 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) and NeoCon 2018, natural woodgrains are in growing demand for cabinet doors. This trend continues to build traction from 2017, where embracing the natural character of woodgrains was a consistent theme in interior design and at international tradeshows. Trending woodgrains with a natural, low-sheen finish like light oak, maple, and rich, vibrant walnut make an eye-catching statement on modern slab doors and exude contemporary elegance in two-tone combination with painted-look neutrals.

Showing off the natural beauty of real wood veneer is now easier than ever with Clear Coat UV finishing from Northern Contours. UV-cured finishing is one of the most efficient and environmentally friendly processes in use today, resulting in significant reduction or complete elimination of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). UV-cured coatings consist of two main parts: a catalyst that initiates the curing process when exposed to ultraviolet light, and resins that cure very hard and are solvent and scratch resistant. Northern Contours offers a wide array of classic, exotic, and reconstituted wood veneer species. Reconstituted species help replicate the patterns of endangered hardwood species and offer a very consistent grain pattern.

Designing home organization spaces like media centers, home offices, wet bars, and closet spaces with natural woodgrains can give spaces warm, welcoming vibes. Woodgrains like oak and walnut pair effortlessly with white in sheens from matte and satin to high gloss. Neutral grey in warm or cool tones as well as modern matte black are also easily paired with oaks and other light Reconstituted veneer species. Looking to add a little color to your design? Try pairing light, Scandi-inspired woodgrains with muted, matte pastels like blues and greens. For extra style points and a flowing luxe look, wood veneer can be grain matched on cabinet fronts horizontally or vertically.

Join Michele Weitzel for her presentation “What’s Trending in Colors and Textures” at the IWF 2018 Closets Symposium to learn more about Wood Veneer & Clear Coat UV finishing from Northern Contours.

About Northern Contours

Northern Contours is a cabinet door and components manufacturer with over 25 years of industry experience. We serve a variety of customers on a custom and volume basis in Kitchen & Bath, Home Organization, Commercial Furniture, and Refacing markets. Manufacturing expertise in membrane pressing, miter folding, laminating & edgebanding, machining & routing, and 5-piece door assembly. We operate six facilities throughout the US and Canada for full coverage of North America.



Give More, Get More

9. August 2018 07:02

 By: Ralph Bagnall, Woodworking Consultant, Author, TV Host: Consulting Woodworker.com

Today’s audience is bombarded with messaging, and email is no exception. It’s easy to fall into the trap of promoting your products and services and telling everyone just how wonderful you are without providing any value relevant to your subscribers. All the little things you bring to the table beyond your basic business offerings are what keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.

We all know about the 80/20 rule. I like to apply it to email marketing content too. I believe you should give away 80% of your knowledge base and save 20% for your best customers.  Wait, what? Give away some of my best information? Don’t be afraid of giving your audience insight that will help them solve some of their biggest headaches.

The people on your email lists subscribed because they were looking to learn about your areas of expertise or solve a problem that is right up your alley. When you give them the knowledge they seek, your audience learns to trust you as an expert, a thought-leader in the field; doing it consistently keeps you top of mind. Will this convert them all to customers? Unlikely, but many already need your help and will know to turn to you because you’ve earned their trust. And do-it-yourselfers will love your content, share it, and just might become your biggest ambassadors!

Learn more about this during Ralph's session, "Effective Email for Small Businesses" at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.


Effective Estimating that leads to Bullet Proof Proposals - Part 6

9. August 2018 07:01

By: Bobbo Buckley, Software Developer: Cabinotch Innovative Solutions

Effective Estimating that leads to Bullet Proof Proposals - BMG10

In our last Effective Estimating post of this series, we talked about our Estimate and Proposal ACCURACY. In this final post of the series, I want to remind all cabinetmakers (me included), that when it comes to manufacturing cabinets, "The end depends upon the beginning." No matter how effective we design, engineer, machine, assemble, finish, hardware, deliver and install a project, if our Estimate was bad, then there is a good chance our Proposal was bad, and if they were exorbitantly high, we just might earn a reputation that is not conducive to future projects, and if they were too low, we may lose money on the project, and just a few of these can break even a strong company.
We need to know out costs, and we need to know them well. We need an Estimating System that can take Material and Labor costs and build upon them the appropriate markups that will cover our overhead. Our overhead must include things that we don't think of on a day-to-day basis, but we must force ourselves to do so.

  • If you want to retire one day, you have to build in the cost of funding your retirement.
  • If there is any chance you might cut off a useful part of your body, you need to insure for that (Disability Insurance).
  • If you own a building, you have to build in the cost to own, insure and maintain that building.
  • Whether you own your building or rent your building, you have to build in costs for utilities.
  • If you own equipment (and what cabinetmaker doesn't), you have to build in the maintenance and replacement cost for that equipment, and the cost to keep it insured. Keeping in mind that the new breeds of CNC and/or NC equipment lives in dog years (1 year is the equivalent to 7 years).
  • If you own tools (and what cabinetmaker doesn't), you have to build in the maintenance and replacement cost for those tools, and the cost to keep them insured.
  • If you own vehicles, you have to build in the maintenance and replacement cost for those vehicles, and the cost to keep them insured.
  • In additional to covering your labor, you need to cover the cost of labor (i.e., paid vacations and holidays, workers comp insurance and taxes).
  • If you own and use computers, you have to build in the maintenance and replacement cost for those computers, and the cost to keep them insured.
  • If you own and use software, you have to build in the upgrade and support costs for all those software programs.
  • In addition to the direct labor that is part of your cost-of-sales, you must build in indirect administrative labor costs (some portion of your pay might fit right here).
  • If you want to continue your business over many years, and who doesn't, you must build in your cost of sales (advertising, commissions, etc., some portion of your pay might fit here)
  • If you are operating on borrowed money, you must build in the cost of operating on borrowed money.
  • If you breath oxygen and/or have a pulse, you must build in the cost of taxes, lots and lots of taxes.
  • If you breath oxygen and/or have a pulse, you must build in the cost of complying with regulations, lots and lots of regulations.
  • If you want to survive long enough to quote another project, you must build in a healthy profit margin.

I know, it can feel overwhelming to think about, and then you have to think, what if the market won't bear all of this material and labor cost, overhead and profit? AND, how to I apply overhead to a single Project?
Well, back to my earlier quote from an unknown author, "The end depends upon the beginning." Our Estimating System has to be rock solid so we are not guessing at what to charge our customers, and we know that EVERY job is not only covering our costs, but is PROFITABLE.
We will cover these things and so much more during the Effective Estimating session at IWF-2018 in Atlanta, have you signed up yet? You can do that by clicking on the link at the beginning of this post!


IWF 2018: Engaging Specifiers and Building Strong Media Relationships through Trade Show Events

9. August 2018 06:58

By: Amanda Eden, Stoner Bunting Advertising
Public relations is a complex strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between companies and organizations and the publics they serve. Bored yet? We don’t blame you. This basic definition of PR is why nobody really understands what public relations practitioners do on a day-to-day basis. The truth is, PR is an often-intangible world that inhabits a unique space amongst traditional marketing and advertising activities.
PR is Changing, and That’s Okay
In the past few years, the formula for building a winning marketing plan has changed. The rise of modern public relations, driven by digital engagement and social media has also shifted. As more and more building product brands struggle to bridge the gap between traditional advertising and media relationships, you have to focus on strategizing, developing and executing PR plans that do both.
Publishers and editors were once the gatekeepers who supplied the A&D community with engaging content that informed and persuaded them, but don’t forget about mediated interpersonal communication, owned media assets and social channels to complement and bolster your work.
One way we achieve this is by capitalizing on trade shows and industry gatherings that bring all key players to the same city or region. From NeoCon, the world’s largest commercial interior design show, to the AIA Conference on Architecture, a gathering of 17,000+ architects, designers and manufacturers, to IWF, one of the top woodworking trade shows in the world (which we look forward to seeing you in Atlanta!), the possibilities for strategic engagement are endless.
Without the proper strategy, however, your chances of standing out and earning your keep are slim to none. In fact, recent figures show that out of the average 400 booths at a trade show, the typical attendee plans to visit – drumroll please – 21. That means your booth has about a 5% chance of being visited by any given attendee. Rather than wait for 5 percent of a particular show’s attendees to visit your booth, take this opportunity to be proactive and
go beyond the booth to engage with the A&D community on a more personal, face-to-face level away from the trade show floor.


Influencer Events Are Important Relationship Builders
In recent years, our clients have capitalized on trade shows by hosting influencer events. Whether it is a dinner or a behind-the-scenes manufacturing tour, pairing clients with architects, designers and trade publications.
This face-to-face meeting of minds helps build relationships with key audiences and target media. As many of the attendees are well known on social media and run blogs, forums, podcasts and more, it also helps keep our clients at the forefront, building special connections and engaging continued conversations and relationships.
Events like this can also result in a high level of interaction and engagement on social media, raising awareness in a subtle and organic way. This helps demonstrate the brand’s message and personality, humanizing it and putting faces with a corporate logo or brand name.
Bringing together the A&D community in the happiest place on earth
At a national conference located in Orlando last year, our team began brainstorming off-site events and influencer engagement opportunities early in the planning process. A few months before the show we devised a plan that would bring together our clients, influential architects and the A&D community in the most magical place on earth.Each client has a rich collective history that spans several continents. Not only that, but their products are used by international architecture and design firms around the world. What better way to celebrate this global heritage and presence than in EPCOT, Disney’s experimental prototype city of tomorrow that is home to the “World Showcase.”
Bringing together more than 40 architects, editors and publishers, the group met a special tour guide from Disney, who escorted us through the international pavilions in EPCOT’s World Showcase. The event featured a progressive course of drinks and bites followed by a private dinner along EPCOT’s lake as we toasted to “Architecture Around the World.”
Along the way, guests learned about our clients’ unique products, commitment to manufacturing and design excellence, and had valuable conversations with architects, designers, editors, publishers, brand representatives and important decision makers. These are the relaxed, organic conversations that are impossible to have on a show floor.
After fireworks on the lagoon, we ended the evening with a private, behind-the-scenes journey through the sky, flying high from one extraordinary landmark to the next on Soarin’ Around the World. Not only did the event allow clients to engage with architects, designers and the media, it was the perfect opportunity to create lasting relationships and deeper connections.
Putting the “R” in Public Relations
So what does successful PR look like? It’s creating value out of relationships, feelings and other intangibles. It’s connecting great minds and thinkers from different backgrounds and fields. It’s figuring out a strategic way to create lasting, positive memories at a trade show where brands get lost like a needle in a haystack.
Want to Know More?
If you want to learn how to invest in public relations and modern marketing and IMC planning, attend the Closets Symposium at IWF Atlanta, Tuesday, August 21.
Stoner Bunting has been building relationships in the home and building products industry since 1984. Our insights into what excites audiences at every stage of the design and construction process – and our access to the people and publications that influence them – make your marketing smarter, so it w


Two component polyurethane, plural component polyesters to be covered at IWF finishing event

8. August 2018 07:42

ATLANTA -- The IWF Finishing Symposium is set for August 21, 2018 in the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, the day before IWF exhibits open.

The full-day event will look at new technologies and best methods that finishers could use in their business. This symposium includes a number of presentations and an opportunity to talk to suppliers and finishing experts face-to-face with your questions.

David Jackson of Gemini Coatings will discuss finishes that many shops may not have adopted, such as two component polyurethane, plural component polyesters, and some UV finishes.

Two Component Polyurethane (2K PU) coatings are gaining in popularity due to their ability to provide the various aesthetics with great durability, Jackson said. They can be used for high gloss to the “natural look” dead flat. 2K PU are also used to create durable faux finishes. Both the “natural look” and faux finishes usually create durability issues in many other commonly used wood finishes, but 2K PU’s great durability can often make up for this. Many 2K PUs are very flexible and can be applied at higher dry film thicknesses without cracking versus some other commonly used wood finishes. Also, some 2K PUs have exterior durability.

Plural Component Polyesters (PE) are used in niche applications for closed pore high build appearance. PE sealers are capable of high application rates of 10-12 wet mils per coat. Two coats like this typically provides a closed pore even with substrates such as oak. This with their durability leads to their use in many high end closed pore applications.

UV coatings unique chemistry allows them to be cured by light. This rapid film formation leads to many uses for wood substrates. Add this to UV’s exceptional durability and UV finishes popularity is growing quickly.

Learn about these wood finishes and more at the IWF 2018 Finishing Symposium.


The IWF Finishing Symposium is sponsored by Fuji Spray, Gemini Industries and Milesi Wood Coatings.



Lean Manufacturing is More Than Just Tools - Top Management’s Role in a Lean Manufacturing Transformation

8. August 2018 07:39

“The best approach is to dig out and eliminate problems where they are assumed not to exist.”  Shigeo Shingo

This quote struck a chord with one of my recently. Early in our work I had asked that they measure performance of two automated processes within the value stream which was the main focus of our work. The client believed this was unnecessary since the process is automated, manual time is less than the automatic cycle time (internal to cycle) and the equipment is reliable. They were surprised to find the average output was less than 60% to target!

It wasn’t until I shared the quote many months later than he explained that he felt there was no need to look for waste in this process and now understands the need to look for waste in all processes. He explained to his team that they cannot assume that automation alone will meet their needs. There is a strong need to measure performance to target and to problem solve in order to meet the targets.

Learn more on this topic at Larry's session "Leading Change, Top Management's role in a Lean Manufacturing Transformation" at the IWF 2018  Education Conference.