You Know, Sometimes you really should sweat the small stuff




 

 

Our World Class Process Audit is designed to identify the small stuff and put the sustainable systems in place to keep those things in control so the big things don't happen and waste and wasteful activity is minimized.  If your interested in learning more about our WCPA, following the link.

World Class Performance Audit

Re-thinking the allocation of your Skilled Resources


We were working with a client who was struggling with a problem that’s far too common in todays manufacturing sector.  

 

Another one of their key maintenance guys was retiring and they were extremely concerned about how they were going to replace him. 

 

 

Production was at record levels, they were introducing new product lines, but their ability to maintain their equipment and keep their OEE within acceptable limits was becoming a real challenge.   



They were getting behind on their % Pm compliance and more and more overtime hours were required to hit their targets.

The plant was suffering from what a large number of manufacturers are experiencing today.  

 

An aging work force, a low unemployment rate, high turn over and no time or systems to develop the necessary skills in new workers to meet all the needs of a world class facility.  

 

He wasn’t sure what to do, they had been trying to hire someone with the right credentials for a number of months.  

 

Giving up on the idea of finding a “replacement” candidate, we decided to take a different approach to address the problem. 

 

By treating the entire department as a whole, we were able to come up with a skills vs function matrix.

 

By categorizing tasks based on Skill required, level of urgency, potential impact on OEE and impact on cost, we were able to map out the functions that could be completely removed from that departments responsibility.  

 

This freed up a significant amount of their time, making the replacement of the individual no longer necessary.  

 

It also allowed their highly skilled resources more time to focus on the tasks they were uniquely skilled to address like process improvement and innovation.

 

By re-thinking how everyone was spending their time and aligning core capabilities with the task at hand, the facility moved from a reactive environment to one of continual improvement.  

 

If you are interested in getting a copy of our Skills vs Function Assessment Matrix, please put the word matrix in the comments below.      

 

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Mistaken Identity Leads to excessive costs and Poor OEE


Using KPI data to manage any process is essential if the goal is to improve OEE while optimizing cost.  The problem happens when you are using incorrect data to make decisions.  In this video we tell the story of an Automotive Parts manufacturer that was using RI to manage the concentration in their sumps.  Operators had strict SOP's, with their corrective actions clearly defined.   The problem is, what they were measuring as concentration was really contamination, so no fluid additions were being made.  Fluid Performance degraded, OEE dropped and the facility was struggling to meet their production and quality targets.  



Data Verification and Validation is a critical step in the Plan-Do-Check-Act Management process.  There can be many reasons why the data a plant uses can be wrong, however its critical to know that the information being used to make critical decisions in both accurate and timely. 

 

This facility spent time, money and critical resources managing to an incorrect metric.  Regular data validation together with the interpretation of supporting/related data, is the only way to be sure that the process performance and operating costs are optimized. 

 

Built into the Z-TPM Process, data verification and validation is performed and measured daily.   


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Watch out for this Manufacturing Trap!


When there's a  customer detected quality event, all hell can break loose.  There's missed customer commitments, potential penalties, a loss of reputation and trust that can hurt your relationship with your client, etc.  This story is about a facility that had such an event, and was looking to make a change to ensure the problem never happened again.  Unfortunately they fell into an all too common trap.  In the absence of data, they made some assumptions.  They formed an opinion about what the problem actually was.  And that opinion had them spending money, time and resources while increasing their cost per part that didn't necessarily address the root cause.  



Containing a problem is completely different than solving it.  Containment tries to keep the problem from happening vs identifying the true root cause and controlling the variables that lead to the condition.  Often containment just delays or masks the event, but either way it drives up the cost of the manufacturing process while still leaving the system at risk.    When a process has been running well for several years and then runs into an issue, the process is capable, however something has changed that has caused the issue.  Identifying that change and then putting in the controls to ensure it doesn't re-occur has to be part of a World Class Manufacturing mind set.  To be competitive globally, we need to eliminate waste and wasteful activity from our manufacturing processes and continue to improve over time.  Containing problems vs fixing them, introduces waste and waste-ful activity and tend to stack on themselves over time.  

 

How to contain a problem is really just an opinion of what to do to address the issue, while true process optimization is understanding your KPI's measuring them at an appropriate frequency and then continuing to  adjust the process to reduce the total cost.  

 

Containment is quick and easy in that it doesn't require the rigor of data collection and interpretation, however its often very wrong, and that's why it's a trap we spring on ourselves when we don't ask all the right questions or take the time necessary to collect the relevant information.   

 

 “Without data, you're just another person with an opinion.”.  Dr. Deming 

 

What's you opinion or have you got some data to share?

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Are your CI projects Containment Actions or True Process Capability Improvements?


Manufacturing at World Class levels is a relentless pursuit of 100% quality, 100% on time, at the lowest cost possible.  Its about increasing efficiency, while eliminating waste and wasteful activity. 

 

Plants and plant managers are always on the lookout for how to reduce costs while at the same time improving OEE and keeping their resources focused on high value activities.Unfortunately sometimes, cost reduction efforts can miss the big picture, especially when these initiatives are solely focused on reducing unit costs.

 


 

In this video I offer an example where the team was excited about implementing a cost reduction opportunity however it was clearly a containment action vs true process improvement that supported the overall objectives of the facility.  

 

 

 


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Is the Ugly Girlfriend keeping you from reaching your Productivity and Cost Reduction Goals?


Tribal knowledge

Most times, its just wrong.





If Tribal Knowledge has its grip on your non-core processes, its time to see if there is a better way.  Zimmark's World Class Performance Variability Assessment, sniffs out tribal knowledge and looks for ways to build the data driven decision making and SOP's necessary to truly improve and optimize your processes.  

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Is a heavy reliance on tribal knowledge the reason you are stuck in a state of reaction?


Tribal knowledge

the unwritten information that is not commonly known by others within a company.





If Tribal Knowledge has its grip on your non-core processes, its time to see if there is a better way.  Zimmark's World Class Performance Variability Assessment, sniffs out tribal knowledge and looks for ways to build the data driven decision making and SOP's necessary to truly improve and optimize your processes.  

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"Everything in Manufacturing is a Process, Everything" but it does beg the question, is it a good Process?




At Zimmark we like Data and try not to assume anything.  We suspect before we know and then use data and time to confirm.

 

That said, we do have two real knowns:

  1. Everything in Manufacturing is a process, 
  2. The best way to optimize any process is to identify the inputs that affect the outputs and establish robust process controls to ensure timely corrective actions are occurring to deliver world class process performance.  

Zimmark's Technical Process Management system is built around executing to a plan, a plan that changes based on the data as we work to balance performance and cost.  Designed to maximize available resources, Z-TPM helps clients looking to move from a reactive/preventative maintenance culture to one where data drives day to day activity.

 

Doing more with less can not be an arbitrary reduction in resources, it needs to be a planned and controlled strategy.  Z-TPM helps you get there.  

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Which one of these lines is longer?


 

In his brilliant and high energy Ted Talk, Eddie Obeng challenges us to question everything we think we know.  He argues that the pace of information and data has flipped everything we "know" on its ear.  Because the rate of change has out paced the rate of our ability to learn, conclusions or truths we believed about in the past, don't hold up in today's world.  Things that were impossible once, are no longer impossible,  Cause and effect that existed not so long ago, no longer holds true as new rules, technologies and insights change the game.  


How does that relate to these lines? Well, which one is longer?  I bet you would have said they are the same because it was what we were taught in grade school to show us Parallax

 

We said it without thinking or evaluating.  We did it without data and we did it without any real thought, we already "knew" the answer.

 

But what if the rules had changed?  what if instead of using this as an example to illustrate Parallax, this is an example to illustrate that knowns are not always knowns, in a world where the pace of change out strips our ability to learn and keep up?

 


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Reacting vs Using Data to Manage Change


 

I visited a client last week that was living the all too common reality that seems to currently exist in the parts Manufacturing Industry.   Due to a shortage in skilled trades, and record setting production levels, their maintenance department was in a constant state of reaction.  

Touring through the facility, they had over 100 stand alone machining applications with dozens of wash processes.  In my half hour tour, more than 3 different operators approached my Maintenance Lead-Hand-Tour-Guide requesting that something be filled, changed or adjusted.  As confirmed by my contact, the facility was just getting by with their existing maintenance team.  They recently had 4 of their more senior staff members retire and due to a combination of head count restrictions from corporate together with trouble finding qualified candidates, the maintenance department was stuck in reactive mode with little hope of getting out.   They were reacting to the squeakiest wheel, trying hard to keep up with productions demands.  


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Poor Emulsion Stability Leads to Excessive Coolant Consumption


We were contacted earlier this month by a client that suspected that the high volumes of waste being generated by their tramp oil skimmer systems was in fact coolant product oil. This technicians concern was that coolant he was adding to the system wasn't having the chance to emulsify and as a result, it was floating on top and being removed by their skimmer systems.    He asked us to investigate. 

 

 

Now this facility has a big challenge on their hands, over 100 stand alone machining centers and no central coolant delivery system.  Each system is managed independently, which can lead to "huge" variability in the condition of the coolant in each over time.   They are only using RI to measure and manage their coolant, and as we know, though RI is great for virgin products, it gets extremely inaccurate once the fluid gets contaminated with tramp oils and particulate, and when the emulsion stability starts to weaken.  


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Preventative Maintenance is not Always the Answer


Any time there's a quality event and the customer is involved, the problem needs to be contained, it needs to be fixed...ASAP.  The problem is, in the absence of good data, it's difficult to know what really happened that led to the quality event.  The containment action tends to be an all encompassing "re-set" of the process as we try to bring everything back to its original state when everything was working well (ie a machine clean-out).  If the problem goes away, everyone celebrates and gets back to business.  If the quality event was big enough, a new Preventative Maintenance schedule gets established, and now the system is being re-set at a higher frequency.  The problem is, every re-set is expensive, requires down-time and hurts productivity.  AND it might not even address the real problem that's causing the quality issue to begin with. 

 

Attached is a case study we did for one of our clients.  They struggled constantly meeting a new cleanliness specification imposed by a new client.  The initial reaction was to increase the target concentration of the chemical cleaner and increase the dump & Recharge frequency.  Both would have resulted in higher operating costs.  Since they didn't have the time or resources to do a true 5-Why study to determine the KPI's that were impacting their cleanliness, we were asked to help.  The case study below outlines the steps we took to isolate the variables that were having a direct impact on part cleanliness.  By understanding the specific KPI's that were affecting cleanliness we were able to use condition based management vs time based preventative measures to keep the process in control and costs optimized.   

Download
CI-220 Part Cleanliness Process Capabili
Adobe Acrobat Document 313.2 KB
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Shocking News From Alabama, fortunately no one was hurt.


INCIDENT:

Zimmark Service Technician Micheal Burgess received a minor shock on April 11th 2018 when he reached down to test a tether float in the Gravity Filter Tank at our PRA site in Alabama.  Micheal immediately informed his supervisor (Ken Attard).  The customer was informed of the incident and the incident was recorded under their HSE Requirements.  Micheal was not injured and did not require any medical attention.

 

 

 

ZIMMARK CAUSAL NUMBER:        PRA-184-359

 

DESCRIPTION:

Treated, recycled Wash Water gravity drains from a 3000G into a 75G filter tank and circulates back to the tank via additional filtration.  Floats were recently installed on the filter tank to shut off the gravity follow automatically.   Michael was demonstrating the float operation to a new employee when he felt the shock.  Power was immediately disconnected from the floats following the incident.  The system is being operated manually pending an on site investigation to be conducted by David Nelson during week of April 23. 

 

The floats were installed 2 weeks prior.  A new model tether float had been used as it permitted operation within a shorter operating range.   The float has not been used in any other Zimmark application.

 

CAUSE:

NOT YET DETERMINED. 

 

IMMEDIATE CONTAINMENT:

Power was from float was disconnected.

Pending further investigation, Zimmark’s equipment department has suspended use of Dayton Float Switch, Mechanical, Normally Closed, Zoro part no G1845313.

 

NEW INSTALLATION:

Yes

 

APPLICATION COMPATIBILITY CHECKED:

Yes

The 115VAC 10A float was used in a non hazardous fluid (pH 9.1) at approx 120˚F.  The max temp for the unit is listed as 140˚F.

 

WAS IT FULLY TESTED:

Yes.  The floats were tested repeatedly by David Nelson following initial installation

 

WHAT WE LEARNED:

An incident like this has never happened before.  Zimmark uses commercially available control systems.

 

The investigation may identify preventative measures we can take following the install to ensure there is never any risk of electrical exposure. 

How KPI driven execution translates into increased OEE and overall cost reduction



Background:

With over 40 CNC machining sumps, our client had used a chemical management company to take care of all their coolant sumps, coolant recycling and machine PM clean outs. The program relied primarily on Time-Based checks and corrective actions to keep the fluids operating. Their goal was to move to a more data driven program where analyzing process KPI’s allowed for tighter process controls while identifying opportunities for continual process improvement. They selected Zimmark’s Technical Process Management Service due to our focus on data driven execution as well as the strong compliance systems and specialized expertise we provide for Metal working fluid applications.

 

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Using KPI Data To Drive Improvement



Sharing a quick story of a customer who decided to use our condition based coolant management program to achieve sustainable cost savings.

 

Background:

With over 110 stand alone coolant applications, our customer was using regular system clean-outs as a strategy to minimize risk that fluid condition would be the cause of any operational or H&S related issue. With a contract clean-out labor force in place, operators would make the judgement of when their systems needed to be adjusted or emptied. 

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Our Technicians are busy conducting fluid testing and machine TPM services in North Carolina.



Process control and machine maintenance are important aspects to be managed when companies are looking to ensure high performing processes are being maintained cost effectively. Zimmark’s Technical Process Management services are helping our client in North Carolina improve their process control and TPM compliance by taking on responsibility for the condition of their metal working fluids, washer fluids and equipment hydraulic systems.

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Would you eat that hot dog that was dropped on the floor in a public bathroom?



No, most of us don’t want to put contaminated food into our body. Then why would you use contaminated equipment when handling and topping up your machine’s hydraulic systems? The same logic applies with proper equipment lubrication methods. Machines don’t like contaminated oil in their hydraulic systems.

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Change the oil or change the culture?  (Chapter 1- Defining the Real Problem)



We heard a great line the other day. “It took us 30 years to get here; if we can lay out a plan to get us where we want in just 6 months, I’m all for it!” This statement came from one of our clients, an Engineering Manager who was talking about the state of his facility’s oiling and lubrication program. 

 

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LOTO - Lock-Out Tag Out

Lock Out - Tag Out, reviewing LOTO training with Tim in Greeneville TN

Safety is Zimmark’s #1 priority. As contracted guests in our client’s facilities, all Zimmark employees must be both trained and certified in customer, Zimmark and OSHA requirements. 


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Rusty Parts!

Do we really focus on finding the root cause?

Having spent over 11 years in the automotive industry, working in a cast iron machining environment, I was no stranger to rust. Whether it was found in WIP inventory, at the customer or heaven forbid in our part inventory bank, controlling corrosion was an ongoing challenge.  Rust always seemed to be that uninvited guest that would occasionally show up even though you swore you did everything you could to prevent him from coming, and by “everything” I mean all the containment and corrective actions you had every tried after having a rust event.


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A story about how layered audits helped identify the impact of CI initiatives at site

Layered Audits, a short story about my ZQ Audit last week with Nick and the effectiveness of fluid decontamination

I was recently visiting a customer facility to conduct a ZQ audit with our Account Supervisor Nick reviewing Zimmark’s onsite Technicians and equipment, focused on our safety & quality systems. During our audit we selected to review a small sump side coalescer that was removing tramp oil from a small machining sump. 


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Sustaining RO Water System

Our Fluid Tech Tayler is sampling and inspecting our RO Unit to ensure water quality performance is being maintained.

Are you spending top dollar on your industrial chemistry but unaware of the water quality it is blended with?  The water likely makes up >90% of the solution in your systems.   Does your facility have hard water which negatively impacts your manufacturing processes’ chemical performance leading to rust, high chemical consumption and excessive PMs?  Do you know how your water quality is impacting the performance of you coolants and wash chemistries?


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Centrifuge used to manage contamination levels in a large central system

Tom and Daryl are installing a portable centrifuge to decontaminate a large central system.

Have a major hydraulic leak contaminating your central coolant system? Not a problem, no need to dump and recharge the system. As part of our technical service solutions, Zimmark provided a mobile centrifuge to connect to a large central coolant system to remove the contaminated oil avoiding fluid waste costs, coolant cost and unplanned downtime. To ensure centrifuge effectiveness, Zimmark monitors the KPI's that effect fluid quality over time.

Interested in learning more about our other solutions?


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Part 2 of 2 - 6 Process Types that are holding you back from Reaching World Class Manufacturing Standards

everything is a process

This post is based on one key premise.  Every aspect of manufacturing is a process, every one. 


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Reviewing Alerts is a critical piece to keeping the process in control and to identify CI opportunities

Lisa is thoroughly reviewing her morning Limit Alert Reports for our client in KY

Ensuring process compliance and reviewing corrective actions is a standard practice with every Zimmark Technical Process Management service.


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Data and Analytics, the keys to Continual Improvement

Preparing monthly performance reports for our client in South Bend, IN.


Every Zimmark technical process management service includes monthly performance reports. Each month, reports are generated from our Z-TPM.com system and reviewed by our technical managers to ensure process compliance, allowing us to use KPI data collected by our technicians every day and make data driven decision such as control plan adjustments, corrective actions or identify continual improvement opportunities that help improve our client’s process performance and reduce their overall costs.

Click here to learn more : DATA DRIVEN DECISION MAKING

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Controlling Coolant Concentration in Ancaster

Mike is hard at work testing and topping up in Ancaster, ON.

Mike is a Zimmark Fluid Technician trained to perform onsite testing and corrective actions to maintain our customer’s process compliance. Mike is responsible for maintaining 59 machines daily, monitoring machining coolant, washer chemistry, hydraulic oil analysis and oily waste water performance.

 

To learn more , click here:  How it Works


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Part 1 of 2 - 6 Types of Processes that are holding you back from Reaching World Class Manufacturing Standards

everything is a process-part 1

W. Edwards Deming extolled a philosophy of continual optimization.  It focused on delivering the highest quality products at the maximum yield, requiring minimal effort, generating the lowest waste possible.   In order to do that, he made a very important and critical distinction:  EVERYTHING that a business does, is a process, EVERYTHING.  It can be measured, it can be compared, it can be quantified, and it can be improved.  


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In search of the very best coolant

Lisa and Rachel are busy in our lab this week wrapping up an independent coolant evaluation.

Product independence and complete commercial objectivity gives Zimmark a unique unbiased perspective.  Our Independent Fluid Evaluations are designed to test the KPI's that drive cost and impact performance to help our customer’s determine what the optimum product is for their facility.  The goal is to reduce their overall operating costs while improving fluid performance, by applying science and data to determine a decision.

 

Click Here to Learn More


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Wow, look what a little focused elbow grease can do!

Our technicians Nick & Tayler hard at work this week in Tillsonburg, ON


Cleaning our Client's part washers as part of their equipment maintenance program to sustain process performance. Great job guys!

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Reliableplant 2016

zimmark presents 6 key elements for world class manufacturers at reliableplant 2016 in Louisville


 

 

 

 

 

 

Zimmark is presenting the "6 Keys Elements for World Class Manufacturing" at the Reliable Plant Conference in Louisville KY during the week of April 5.  

The focus of the presentation will be to highlight that the World Class manufacturing ideal (ie 100% quality, 100% On-Time at the lowest cost possible), is a relentlessly iterative process where companies need to be evaluating all the processes that exist within their facility to identify the ones that are not optimized and/or poorly integrated with their core operations.  Since a "chain is only as strong as its weakest Link" many facilities are letting non-core processes limit their profitability and throughput.  The challenge with non-core processes is that what makes them non-core is the lack of in-house expertise and/or sustainable robust systems and/or a focused data driven accountable labor force required to ensure the process stays in a controlled and improving state.  

 

In the presentation we identify 6 different process symptoms that need to be  assessed to determine if a step change in profitability/availability is possible,  Technology is changing so quickly that unless plants are updating their processes to take advantage of these technological improvements, they will have trouble keeping up with world class productivity levels.  

 

We will be presenting on Tuesday April 5, 2016 in Room 101, at 1:30 in the afternoon.  Hope to see you there!

 

 

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Variability: The Root of All Evil

how kpi variability drives costs and impacts productivity


 

Un-managed variability of the Key Performance indicators that impact cost, process performance and quality is the root of all evil in a parts manufacturing environment.

In a parts manufacturing environment, variability is the bane of everyone's existence.  As acceptable product specifications get tighter and tighter, the degree of allowable variation continues to shrink.  However as companies try and "Lean-out" their process, they realize even variation that exists within acceptable limits can be a significant source of waste or wasteful activity.  Variability therefore is either the source of significant manufacturing events requiring urgent containment actions, or it is a source of wasteful activity that needs to be addressed in order to compete in a global market where every cost has to be closely scrutinized and evaluated.  

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Rust Season?  "Just Raise the Concentration"

the impact of higher concentration on coolant performance and cost


I was visiting a plant last week and heard a familiar tale.  We had just completed a Non-Core Process Audit, (where we measure the Key Performance Indicators that drive cost and impact process performance to identify wasteful activity and process risk), and we were reporting our findings.  Across the board their coolant concentrations were significantly higher than their posted targets. 


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Einstein's Definition of Insanity:  "Preventative Maintenance"....well sort of....

time based preventative maintenance generates waste while still leaving the process at risk and no room for ci


Einstein's quote "The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result"  can describe many Preventative Maintenance programs today.  Every company is under tremendous pressure to reduce costs. They are looking for a different result, a better bottom line, but they are using the same old strategies to try and deliver it. 


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