Patty Schwieger, a longtime employee at Fuchs Machinery (Omaha, Nebraska), is currently the manager for the territory that includes Oilgear Company in Fremont, Nebraska.
On the Oilgear project Patty was teamed with Mauri Turner, Machine Tool Consultant at Fuchs and a fixture in Nebraska's machine tool industry for many years.
As good as both Patty and Mauri are, they are but two equal members of the "TeamKey" approach that Oilgear has implemented to resolve its manufacturing bottleneck. You will recall that last month we discussed how Tony Geoff, plant manager at Oilgear, had recognized his manufacturing process problem and joined with Cincinnati Machine to organize a team to help him correct the problem.
"TeamKey" is the name given to the joint effort by members of all the specialties needed to manufacture a product in addition to the core machine tools.
It is important to note that Tony, at Oilgear, and Steve Leiding, at Cincinnati Machine, are individually responsible for the success of this project to their own organizations, but both sit at the TeamKey table equal to the other members.
There is no manager in this process. A team leader was chosen at the initial meeting to be the "keeper of the records." It was up to the group to establish the needs, provide the solution and implement the process. The initial meeting included discussions on the following topics:
Goals and Objectives
- Managed Risk
- Part and Process Quality
- Transfer of Knowledge
Scope of Work
- Parts to be considered in process design
- Specific parts to be processed
- Distribution of work
- Part Programming
- Machine Operation
- Part Inspection
- Engineering Changes
- Casting Changes
- Machines and Cells
- Fixtures and Tools
- Process Development
- Acceptance of Criteria
- Part Inspection
- Data Evaluation
- Quality of Parts
- Points of Contact
- Resolution of Issues
- Review of Meetings
- Travel Expenses
- Purchase Orders
- Billing and Invoicing
Because of the complexity of the project and the physical distance between various members of the team, it was decided to take advantage of video conferencing after the first couple of face-to-face meetings. However, without personal contact, it can become easy to withdraw yourself from the team mentality.
Being disenfranchised was not in the cards for this group of professionals. Remember Patty Schwieger? Her tenacity demanded that each accepted assignment by an individual team member was completed on a timely basis within the schedule set by the group. It is obvious that the discussions became lively at times, but because all goals were written and good minutes kept of all meetings, the team was always able to "keep its eye on the ball."
To supply the needs of this power actuated, on-board, hydraulic pump manufacturer, the team chose two 630 Maxim horizontal machining centers serviced by a ten-pallet pool with two load-unload stations. Each machine has a 120-tool storage capacity supported by tool management software. A third machine should be added soon, and plans call for the project to double the impact (three more machines/ten pallets/ two load-unload stations) in the near future. The total operation also includes an 800 psi coolant system and serialization of each tool. All tool offsets are coded and recorded.
I am not here to suggest that it is necessary to spend a lot of money to improve your manufacturing process, but rather to encourage you to use the personnel resources at your disposal. If you know where you want to go, why not call a couple of your supplier/friends to have coffee with one or two of your key people. No one person has all the answers, but the smartest of us are capable of asking the right questions.