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Most Recent Articles

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: Manufacturing Lean Manufacturing Process Improvement

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

If you’re like many small manufacturers, you started your business in one of the following ways:

  1. You saw a gap and had an inspired idea that you turned into a successful product
  2. You worked for another manufacturer and saw a better opportunity to become their supplier.
  3. You cashed out of your first career success to fund your dream startup.

And if you are a 2nd or 3rd generation business owner, then your family likely started one of those ways too, and they did well enough to make it successful for over a full generation.

Regardless of how you started and what you started with, everyone has the same problem:

Topics: Predictions Process Improvement Planning

Investing in Staff Retention Takes Many Forms – Including Big Ass Fans

(Or, we just wanted  to use the word “Big Ass” in a serious business article.)

While we’ve seen the topic of staff retention in warehouses and manufacturing plants  come up more frequently than ever, most of the discussion until now has been focused on compensation and skill training. While there are legitimate needs to address stagnant pay, lack of career paths and insufficient training, in many cases retention is much more about creating a great work environment.

Topics: ROI Trends Process Improvement Staffing

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: Manufacturing receiving 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: Manufacturing Lean Manufacturing Mobile Power Process Improvement Staffing

How to Prioritize New Technology Acquisition

Whether you are in a manufacturing environment or a distribution center, there is a long list of technologies that may be on your wish list, ranging from “must-have ten years ago” to “nice to have someday”. But when budgets become available for upgrades, getting everything you want isn’t always a good idea. For example, bringing in a new software tool might be a good idea, but upgrading two or more of them that are linked together or through another system (like your ERP) could be a recipe for disaster. Troubleshooting and debugging may be plagued by the potential conflicts between two new systems instead of one.

Topics: Warehouse Management Process Improvement Cost Reduction

How A Single Dimensional Scanner Can Change Every Process in Your Warehouse

Receiving, Put-away, Picking, Packing, and Shipping. Actually, there are more, but we’ll use the limited space in our blog post today to share five processes that can be transformed by deploying a single workstation with a dimensional scanner.

Topics: Warehouse Management Process Improvement Dimensioning

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: Manufacturing Lean Manufacturing Process Improvement Efficiency

An Introduction to Warehouse and Logistics Software – Part I

We recently ran a short series of articles (See parts One, Two and Three here) on Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) a key software solution essential in the Manufacturing world. We had some excellent feedback on the articles and realized that while prolific with sharing our thoughts on the warehouse and logistics space where equipment, process, and people are concerned, we never really spent much time talking about software solutions that help connect it all together and make it work. This week we are going to dive a little deeper in the topic and will offer more information during the coming year.

Here is Part I of a sampling of the basic software systems everyone should be aware of if you are looking to do more automation or in-process KPI tracking:

Topics: Warehouse Process Improvement ERP

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: Manufacturing Process Improvement Cost Reduction