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Most Recent Articles

Building a Sound Product Development Process for Small Manufacturers – Part II

Last month, we published Part I of this article, where we talked about making that transition from “freewheeling inventor” to “process-driven listener”. Basically, it is about being more systematic in how you collect the data and insights that lead to more relevance in your new products. This is hardest for the business which was started from a single brilliant idea that succeeded, because it is not uncommon for the small manufacturer to not really understand WHY their initial product succeeded. Play-Doh, the ubiquitous colorful molding clay of everyone’s youth, was originally created in the 1930’s as a wallpaper cleaner. Success is great, but if you started out intending to be an innovator in the cleaning products business but all of your customers are under five years old, where do you go next?

Topics: Planning Process Improvement Manufacturing

Practicing What We Preach – Meet Jason Williams, Operations Director

Over the years you’ve seen a lot of material coming from us about using “Lean” Manufacturing and using Lean techniques in other areas like distribution and logistics. As a manufacturer ourselves, we have always strived to take our own advice, but like many of you, we also learned in the process that while the reward is great, the work to get there can be HARD.

Topics: Lean Manufacturing Efficiency Manufacturing

Water Spider: Tiny Insect or Production Floor Game Changer?

With heightened competition from the global economy, a dwindling workforce as a result of the labor shortage and increasing demands from customers—it’s never been more important for manufacturing facilities to focus on efficiency. Of course, many operations managers turn to lean techniques in an effort to streamline and increase production, but how can facilities take things a step further? 

Topics: Process Improvement Manufacturing Lean Manufacturing

How to Streamline Material Handling During Receiving

Receiving in a manufacturing environment is an overlooked process area that can be the start of numerous bottlenecks, accuracy errors and wasted motion. A few simple tools that have transformed receiving in the logistics world can be leveraged in a manufacturing environment to radically change the outcomes and improve your metrics in this critical process area while achieving a positive ROI in less than 12 months.

Topics: receiving Manufacturing Process Improvement

How to Reduce Turnover and Improve Productivity on the Manufacturing Floor

There’s no doubt—manufacturing is a tough industry to work in. With tight turnaround times, increasing shipping demands and the need for immaculate quality, it’s a challenging space for a business to grow and thrive. To further complicate things—administrators are finding it difficult to attract and retain talent.

Topics: Staffing Process Improvement Mobile Power Manufacturing Lean Manufacturing

Water Spider or Whirligig? The Entomology of Lean Manufacturing

Lean practitioners are probably aware of the “Water Spider” which is an important role on the floor of the manufacturing shop. And you may also know that it, like many other lean terms like “Kanban,” “Gemba” and “Kaizen,” it originates from the Japanese language, where lean got its start.

Topics: Lean Manufacturing Efficiency Process Improvement Manufacturing

How Automation and Mobility Improves Quality and Safety in Manufacturing

Do you know how to improve quality and safety in manufacturing with automation and mobility? In the last article, we talked about quality control. Today we want to share with you how automation and mobility impacts manufacturing.

Topics: Manufacturing Automation Mobility

An Introduction to Quality Control in Manufacturing

“Quality is Everyone’s Responsibility”

Edward Deming, considered to be a “God” in the eyes of the Japanese business community for his influence on their manufacturing sector after WWII is attributed as the source of the now somewhat obvious quote above. His philosophy was one that wanted us to see manufacturing as a “system,” not a series of bits and pieces of additive work.

Topics: Cost Reduction Process Improvement Manufacturing

5 Excellent Reasons to Adopt MES - Manufacturing Execution Systems

In this final part of the series, we conclude the look into the deeper levels of MES functionality that enables final production to work effectively. We then look at different types of MES and summarize the key aspects of MES to consider when starting out or when upgrading an existing basic MES to a system with the latest IIoT digitalized technology.

Topics: Manufacturing ERP Process Improvement

Understanding MES - Manufacturing Execution Systems

In the first article of this series, we saw how the top level of Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) work in the factory to deliver benefits against business goals and requirements, managing the flow of production for final products and sub-assemblies. Now it is time to delve into deeper levels of MES, looking at other areas within the factory that MES manages, that enable the final production flow to work smoothly and effectively.

Topics: Manufacturing ERP Supply Chain