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The ‘notty’ list for OEMs

Dec. 6, 2018
Sometimes the girls and boys need to be told what not to do

Well, it's that time of year where, in the workshop, someone is making plans and there had better be no pouting or crying due to the results. I'll tell you why. He made a list and checked it twice, and it will make it real clear who on the plant floor is being naughty or nice. There are some best practices of note first, and then we'll get to the list of what not to do—the “notty” list.

With Christmas and other holidays coming and all the excitement of actual orders to be filled in the new year, Gary H. Lucas, director of design and innovation at Innovative Treatment Products in Owings Mills, Maryland, thought it might be a good time to go over the notty list with me. This is a list you do not want to be on. It's a list of what not to do to get jobs out the door. It's provided to avoid getting a skid full of loot all tied up on the manufacturing floor and missing delivery dates.

It is extremely important to establish an equipment delivery date for each job and make sure everyone is 100% aware of the that date. "How you pick the date is unimportant in reality, but it's clearly marked on the calendar," says a jolly Lucas in his bright red suit. "It is however the benchmark we need to judge how we are doing. It’s a simple thing; every day you finish early goes right to the profit side of the ledger. Every day you are late is a day of costs for things you haven’t planned for, and it's lost forever."

To meet the dates, every job requires one project manager—the person seeing that all tasks are getting done; but many personnel are needed to complete the project on the customer's schedule.

"The customer will need to submit mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and civil designs all at the same time," says Lucas. "So we must complete all of those major tasks concurrently and deliver as a complete package. It is the project manager’s job to see that this happens. Our projects are small, so one or more tasks will be done by the project manager, but he must have help. The project manager for each job must be identified immediately. I don’t believe it should be the same person for all jobs, and it will be important going forward to see who has the right approach to this task for the future."

With the date, tasks and manager identified, be sure to follow this notty list for each job, and we'll have a jubilee:

  • Do not order any materials until all materials have been specified for the entire job, so the ordering bill of materials (BOM) accurately reflects the whole job. This task must be finished completely first, or you are definitely being naughty.

  • Do not order any materials until all the pick lists (for on-hand parts) are completed by the shop, or you will hear some annoying rooty toot toots and rummy tum tums.

  • Do not order materials before the scheduled order date. Determine the order date by using the delivery times documented on the schedule or on quotes plus one week for problems, or the parts may be coming to town at the wrong time.

  • Do not order the materials, or curly-haired dolls that toddle and coo, on the scheduled order date, unless the previous job and this job are both on schedule. Adjust order date accordingly.

  • Do not make more parts than are required for this one job except as a hedge against a failed or damaged part. Making 10 when nine are required is acceptable when there is risk the project will be held up by a missing part, or if more stocking stuffers are needed. Account for any extra parts and reduce the next work order accordingly and consider re-gifting. This is not elf production work this is build to order.

  • Do not use up our very small inventory of excess material on parts for another job that is not current. We may need it, and that would cause delays resulting in unhappy girls and boys.

  • Do not place on the floor, or in the sleigh, any process skid that cannot be completed in its entirety. Check every the BOM in every subassembly before placing a skid on the floor.

  • Do not place more than one skid on the floor at one time. This is a team effort not a production line, everyone works to get this one skid (job) done every time. Make every mistake happen exactly one time.

  • Do not let materials sit waiting to be checked in. All mistakes must be discovered instantly.

  • Do not use a vendor packing list as evidence of the correct number of parts; count them.

  • Do not use a vendor packing list to check part numbers; use the part numbers or features on the actual part to determine correctness.

  • We do not receive materials to inventory. Materials are received to a job subassembly bin, the work-in-process area or directly to Santa's sled. Excess materials then go, down the chimney, to the inventory bins immediately.

  • We will not ship anything incomplete just to make the delivery date.

  • We will not do in the field what should have been done in the shop.

  • We will not send our most skilled people out to the field to deal with problems while our less skilled people continue to manufacture those problems; plus they will eat all the cookies.

  • We will not be busy just being busy, except when wrapping presents.

Well then, with the toyland built, ship it for goodness sake.

ALSO READ: Step up the technology in machine control

About the author: Dave Perkon
About the Author

Dave Perkon | Technical Editor

Dave Perkon is contributing editor for Control Design. He has engineered and managed automation projects for Fortune 500 companies in the medical, automotive, semiconductor, defense and solar industries.

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