Clean Feedback

I’ve visited shops that I thought were as clean as they realistically could be. Others, well not so much.

Columns From: 7/1/2007 Modern Machine Shop, ,

I’ve visited shops that I thought were as clean as they realistically could be. Others, well not so much. Although machining is inherently messy and clean-up requires time and concerted effort, there are many benefits to maintaining a tidy workplace.

I recently asked readers of our MMS Extra e-mail newsletter to talk about their experiences in keeping their shop shipshape. Consider some of the respondents’ feedback capsulated below.

Shop cleanliness is a direct reflection on a business, so the perceptions of outsiders are important. The degree of cleanliness may affect whether visiting customers ultimately award additional work or reduce current workload levels. Right or wrong, customers may think a disorderly facility is representative of other phases of a shop’s operation. And they are likely able to tell if a hasty, superficial cleaning was performed just for the sake of their visit. Similarly, quality auditors visiting a dirty shop might dig deeper into systems and documentation thinking they may find the same neglectful conditions there.

Some shops are lucky enough to have employees who are self-driven to keep the facility and equipment clean. Pride may be the prime motivator. These employees are proud of their shop’s appearance, and they thrive on positive comments received from visitors who may have been expecting to encounter a dingy shop environment.

There must, however, be complete buy-in from both shop floor employees and management for a clean workplace culture to take root. This is similar to implementing a lean manufacturing mindset. To reap the benefits of lean manufacturing, everyone must continually focus on eliminating manufacturing waste and follow through on those efforts. The same goes for maintaining cleanliness; it must become the norm. And management should not only drive such an initiative, it should also lead by example while providing the means to keep clean.

So where does maintaining shop cleanliness rank on your list of priorities? If it ranks high, let me know why that’s the case and how you’ve benefited. Drop me an e-mail at dkorn@mmsonline.com.

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