MMS Blog

Keeping Good Habits Takes Constant Attention

As every serious dieter knows, taking the pounds off is hard enough. Keeping them off can be another matter. At Richards Industrials, a leading supplier of specialty valves for chemical, pharmaceutical and food processing customers, staying “lean” has been a constant objective for well over a decade, ever since the Cincinnati, Ohio, manufacturer began its earnest effort to implement the techniques of lean manufacturing. “We have good habits in place,” says Bill Metz, vice president of operations and engineering at Richards Industrials (formerly Richards Industries leading up to the acquisition of the company by an equity firm in 2019), “but we have to watch ourselves carefully. It can be easy to slip and let excess setup time or work in process start weighing you down. It can catch you by surprise.”

As the 2017 Top Shops Honors Program winner in the shopfloor practices category, this shop’s focus on lean manufacturing is not surprising. Nor is it surprising that Richards recently honed its lean manufacturing skills, especially in the area of operations and process improvement, by sending 30 members of its 70-person shop force to a three-day training session with Definity Partners, a Cincinnati-based training and consulting firm.

4 Lessons To Learn Before Transitioning Ownership of Your Business

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “If tomorrow I were gone, what would happen to my business?” For those of us who own a business, it’s a daunting question that most would rather not think about. But it’s an important question to answer.

Your business provides great value to the customers who rely on you to help them succeed. Your team members depend on your business to support their lives and their families. The economy grows and expands when your business thrives and you manage it well. Wouldn’t you want to have a plan in place that protects and nurtures all of these things? Tossing the keys to your business over your shoulder on the way out the door isn’t a good plan; yet this could happen if life takes a curve and we’ve forgotten to plan ahead.

By: Mike Lynch 5/13/2020

Which Kind of "More So" Are You?

Which Kind of

Sorry, but this is not a normal “CNC Tech Talk” column.

I have never felt such a loss for words in over 30 years of contributing to Modern Machine Shop. Ideas have always come easily to me, commonly stemming from some CNC problem I encounter. A question asked and answered often translates into an easy-to-write column.

By: Wayne Chaneski 5/12/2020

Meet "Al"


A number of years ago, I wrote a “Competing Ideas” column called “Sooner or Later We All Run Into ‘Ed.’” The point of that column was that in almost any business, we are likely to encounter people who may not be as open-minded as they ought to be. I chose the fictitious “Ed” as a symbol for such a person.

All these years later, I feel the need to give equal time to those people who are open-minded and often responsible for many of the improvements that help companies grow and prosper. Let’s call this person “Al.” 

The Manufacturing Process Is All About the People Who Make It Work

We think of the manufacturing “process” as the system for making the end product. That’s not quite right.

Instead, the process is the system by which people make that end product. The significance of that distinction has come into focus for me as I’ve read back through the writings of Wayne Chaneski, the Modern Machine Shop columnist who has written our “Competing Ideas” column for 25 years. Wayne retires his regular column after this month’s entry.