Manufacture Smarter Blog

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Adopting Technology: Automated Material Movers

11/11/2022 - BY: CHUCK WERNER
As educators to small and medium-sized businesses on manufacturing technologies, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center’s (The Center) Industry 4.0 team participates in trade shows, expositions and technology events, allowing us to interact with experts, suppliers and adopters of technology. We are fortunate to experience current technologies, hear about implementation successes and failures, and get to see the upcoming developments in technology. While some of these new products may never mature into “game-changers” for manufacturing, the fact is that some, if not many, go on to revolutionize the processes and producers of products and services alike.


What to Consider While Costs Are Rising

10/7/2022 - BY: ROB STAUFFER
Most manufacturers are facing inflation, which drives up the cost of just about everything they buy. At the same time, the price of petroleum has risen, increasing the cost of transporting items to and from their factories. The current talent and workforce shortage, particularly in manufacturing, has caused an upward pressure on wages. And to make things even more challenging, many economic indicators are predicting a looming recession, which tends to shrink consumption and slow down production.


Is Your Plant Designed for Success?

9/23/2022 - BY: ROGER TOMLINSON
Take a look at your facility. Are there ways you could improve the layout of your plant? Are employees walking far between jobs? Does the arrangement of equipment make the most sense for optimum efficiency? Plant layout is a great way to minimize operating costs by ensuring efficient workflow throughout the shop floor.


Your Lean Journey: The Path to Greatness

7/22/2022 - BY: JERED TYACK
What if I told you I recently had a conversation with a company who decided it wasn’t worth the cost of implementing Lean in their facility? They believed their employees did not have time for training and the overall investment, including temporary loss of production, was too expensive. This company believed it would cost too much to dedicate 10 minutes of clean-up time at the end of their shift. Sounds crazy, right? However, many companies think this way when they don’t fully understand Lean manufacturing and its benefits.


Walking to Eliminate Waste

7/8/2022 - BY: MIKE BEELS
When running a successful business, it is important to continuously work on process improvements. This is where Lean manufacturing can help. At the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center), we offer free Waste Walks to gather information about the work process, the work areas and any instances of observed waste.


The Root Cause of Most Project Failures: Not Using a Work Breakdown Structure

6/10/2022 - BY: ROB STAUFFER
When I advise my clients or teach a project management course, the first question I ask is what types of problems they experience when managing projects. As with most problems, the first step is to assume they are likely symptoms with some underlying root causes. If you or your organization does not follow a project management methodology (meaning everyone manages projects their own way), then you should expect these types of systemic problems. A variable process will always yield variable outcomes no matter how hard you try.


Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast!

2/18/2022 - BY: MIKE BEELS
What the phrase aims to describe is that culture determines the success in an organization regardless of how effective your strategy might be. In other words, if the people in an organization aren’t passionate about your organization’s mission, vision and brand, it affects their ability to work together, solve problems and come up with new ideas for improvement. Their lack of enthusiasm could mean they are unwilling to give their time and energy which leads to disengagement.


Improve Your Bottom (Line). Take the Stairs.

1/21/2022 - BY: DAVE NELSON
Improving your company’s or your department’s bottom line can be a challenging journey. I suggest taking the stairs. The stairs I am talking about refers to Value Stream Mapping (VSM). Value Stream Mapping is the “steps” leading into the “House of Lean.”


How Lean Can Attract & Retain Younger Members of the Workforce

6/11/2021 - BY: JOHN SPILLSON
Understanding how all generations learn and thrive is vital to optimizing the efficiency of a team. Lean can be the answer to keeping new hires engaged and excited about their work.


Smart Solutions Series Recap: Go Lean to Solve Your Labor Shortage

2/26/2021 - BY: PETE SCHMIDT
When I ask manufacturers about their biggest challenges, nearly all mention the lack of available skilled workers. With so many companies looking to hire, this added competition only further compounds the challenge. In our most recent Smart Solutions Series webinar, we explored how Lean manufacturing principles can be applied to an organization to maximize productivity – effectively filling these critical gaps in production using existing resources and talent.


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