At a Monday morning session at this year's FABTECH expo in Chicago, Rob McCann made a good point. A business development specialist at the Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center (IMEC) recalled how plant managers often call his organization (which receives funding from NIST) to increase efficiencies—that is, to keep their machines running. They felt that their myriad problems—late deliveries, quality problems, and so on—stem from those infuriating, unplanned downtimes, when machines break, when operators are late for work, when scheduling mishaps require extra setup times, and so on.
“So many call on us to help them out with their equipment,” McCann said, adding that this thinking comes from that traditional manufacturing mindset: If machines and people are busy, all is well. But busy machines and people actually don't make money. Completed parts do.
“You want the product to be busy,” he said. “That's how you make money.”