The Journey to Success

Welcome!  Thank you for visiting!  I hope this will be the first of many visits to our website.  It is my goal to blog periodically on issues that are relevant to all of us who work in melting technology and indeed in any kind of manufacturing.  Principles and practices that lead to success are universal, and that is what I plan to explore.

You will note in my Philosophy page that I discuss the three ingredients to achieve superior results – the optimum process, high level manufacturing execution, and proper engagement of the workforce.  Educators will tell you that for your students to truly understand a concept that you need to explain and review it a number of times before it really is understood and comprehended.  The first time you hear a message, it is usually in one ear and out the other. So, I would like to use an analogy to help everyone understand the concept better.

One way to think about the optimized process, manufacturing execution and an engaged workforce is the analogy of taking a trip from one location to another.  First, think of the ideal process as the optimum route on your phone map app to get from here to there.  It usually gives you two or three routes from which to choose.  Which one do you choose?  The long roundabout one?  No!  You select the most efficient one!  It gives you a step by step series of turns to make that get you from A to B in the most efficient manner – no wrong destinations, no wrong turns, and you get to the proper destination every time if you follow it. The optimum route is representative of the optimum process.  It is your step by step procedure.  It contains no detours, no loops, and gets you to the optimum outcome every time you follow it.

Next, think of your vehicle as your equipment and facilities.  When you go on a trip, you want your vehicle to function without malfunction or breaking down along the way.  You want it to be equipped with the right options so you can get there efficiently.  If you are pulling your camper to the mountains, do you use your 4-cylinder car or your V8 pickup truck?  If you are taking a July road trip, do you make sure the AC is working before you leave?  If not, you are in for a miserable trip.  You want to choose the right vehicle.  So it is with your process.  You want your equipment to execute the process properly and reliably.  You don’t want your car to break down.  You don’t want your furnace to break down either.  If you want your car to perform, you need to do proper maintenance.  It’s the same deal with your melting/manufacturing equipment.  It needs to be maintained properly just like a car.

Finally, you need a driver.  We don’t have self-driving cars just yet.  So, what do you want your driver to do?  Be reliable, operate the car properly, don’t abuse it, avoid the wrong turns and make all the correct turns at the proper time, avoid accidents, stay focused, don’t get distracted.  That’s also what you want out of your workforce.  If you ignore the driver and neglect his/her contribution, you can have the best process and best equipment/process control strategy and come up woefully short on the execution.

So, let’s review:

  1. Does your process have the proper road map?  Are the directions clear and do they get you to the right destination every time?
  2. What is the condition of your process “vehicle”?  Is it in proper condition for the journey?  Does it have the necessary maintenance so that it won’t malfunction or break down along the way?
  3. What is the condition of your “drivers”? Are they ready to go or are they tired, indifferent and distracted?

What adjustments do you need to make?

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