Have you tried Google Instant? It’s an eye-opener. You visit the site, start typing and Google immediately spits back results based just on what you typed. Type “the” and I get listings for a thesaurus. Type “The Fab,” and you get results for The Fabulous Fox Theatres in Atlanta, St. Louis, and elsewhere. Type “The Fabri” and I get www.thefabricator.com. Thing is, you may get something different when you type in these same letters. It depends on your location and your search history. The information is based on conditions of not a few minutes or seconds ago--but now.
Google happened to introduce the service while I was on the road last week in Columbus, Ohio, at a job shop conference organized by Shahrukh Irani at The Ohio State University’s Department of Integrated Systems Engineering. The conference’s overarching theme: There is no one “right” way to improve job shop operations. Low-volume, high-mix operations may use elements of lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, theory of constraints, and other strategies to get the most out of their shop floors.
I noticed one common thread throughout, though. Like Google, metal fabricators today focus on the now, the current shop floor conditions and current orders. Some recent conversations I’ve had with shop managers support that statement.