I started this year with a spurt of shop visits-- a sorry excuse for my lack of blogging, but there it is. One high-mix, low-volume job shop is beginning the process of reorganizing its machines into cells: a sheet metal cutting machine next to a brake, next to hardware insertion. In a bold move, the company has eliminated its cutting, bending, and hardware insertion departments. Managers made sure that workers are cross trained, so they can follow piece parts through all three processes before sending a batch--a small one, as close to single-piece-part-flow as practical--to operations downstream.
Here’s the kicker: The shop did it all with no holiday shutdown.