Manufacture Smarter Blog

QMS True North

11/18/2016 When navigating by map and compass, it is important to be aware of magnetic declination. The magnetic north is not located at the North Pole, so more than likely, your compass is not truly pointing north. You need to adjust your compass reading and account for the difference to find True North. Knowing where true north is can make a big difference in getting to where you want to be. True North in Lean Manufacturing In the world of Lean Manufacturing, True North is also important.  As you start out your lean journey, you will begin with a Value Stream Map of your current state.


Small & Medium Sized Manufacturers: Take Advantage of Process Improvement Programs

10/28/2016 For small businesses in today’s global and technologically advanced market, it is crucial to maintain competitiveness and stay aligned with larger organizations. Generally speaking, small and medium sized manufacturers, those categorized with less than 250 employees, are as much in need of process improvement programs to enhance and develop their business as those of larger firms. In general, smaller organizations lose much more compared to larger firms when practices and operations are not constantly improved on.


Standard Work: The Key to Optimizing Operational Activity

9/30/2016 Standardized work is perhaps one of the most powerful lean tools that will have the most impact on your organization’s daily operational activities ─ yet, it is the least used lean tool of the Lean Manufacturing concept. Why? Well, most people get confused about the difference between standardized work and work standards. Work Standard: A work standard is a written description of how a process should be done from start to finish. It guides consistent execution. Standard (Standardized) Work: Standardized work is a process whose goal is kaizen.


It’s Great to be Part of the Food and Agriculture Industry in Michigan

2/12/2016 Where does nearly 22% of the state’s employment come from? What generates over $101.2 billion in economic activity? What is responsible for $3.1 billion in export activity? Michigan’s Food and Agriculture Industry, that’s what. Michigan is an extremely diverse agriculture system which truly grows from the ground up with 93% of our 51,600 farms being family owned. Michigan’s production of more than 300 commodities is second only to California in diversity. Michigan stands alone as the #1 producer of blueberries, pickling cucumbers, squash, tart cherries, four varieties of dry beans, and 12 different varieties of flowers.


Innovation By Problem Solving

10/23/2015 It’s easy to make the innovation process out to be something far more complicated than it needs to be. Case in point:  Almon Strowger, who patented the automatic telephone exchange in 1891. His idea came about in order to solve a problem:  he was losing business due to his small-town telephone operator. During its infancy, telephone calls were routed to an operator, a live person who after asking callers who they wanted to talk with, connected the caller’s line physically to the line of the person to whom they wished to speak.


Succession Planning Strategies: What You Need to Know

8/28/2015 In the next seven years, the U.S. Census Bureau is calling for a significant population change in the 55 and older segment. What does this mean? Business leaders and executives are committed to remaining in business longer. Because of an inability to envision leaving their business, older leaders delay conversations regarding succession planning. Don’t Leave Your Company Vulnerable Now, more than ever before, it is important for an organization to plan for the future. With no succession plan in place, the continuation of the business is threatened.


Lighten the Load With Lightweight Materials

6/12/2015 If you’ve ever taken a physics class or rearranged your furniture, you know the heavier an object is, the more energy it requires to move it. The same principle applies to automobiles and other types of transportation. This is great news for consumers! This means the lighter a vehicle, the less energy it takes to accelerate, and the better its fuel economy will ultimately be. Major Changes on the Horizon Lightweight vehicles. Lower MPG. Aggressive EPA and CAFÉ standards. These major changes are on the horizon for how cars and vehicles, in general, will be produced, ultimately impacting the manufacturing community at all levels of the supply chain.


Looking Ahead to 2015

12/31/2014 Manufacturing has been in the news frequently in the last few months and 2014 has seen intense scrutiny and support for the industry. The Manufacturing Innovation blog posted a Retrospective on U.S. Manufacturing today that highlighted key trends for this year.  We're hopeful that as Michigan's economy strengthens and opportunities expand that manufacturing will continue to benefit from these and other technology breakthroughs that seem to be hovering just around the next corner.  Michigan recorded a fourth consecutive year of employment expansion in 2014, following four straight years of sharp job losses in 2007 through 2010.