Uniting Office and Shop

In this shop, employees recognize that both office workers and machine operators are valued—without each department, progress cannot be made.


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I snapped this photo near the end of my visit to Adex Machining Technologies earlier this year. The photo continues to be a favorite of mine, illustrating something about what the culture of a manufacturing business ought to be.
When I worked in a manufacturing facility, I remember what it was like to leave the production area to walk into the office. The effect was like stepping through an airlock. With a whoosh, the door would shut behind me and there would be relative quiet. In the office, the air was different and the vibe was different. All of the people at cubicles shared one world, and all of the people with toolboxes shared another.
Adex deliberately sought to overcome that sense of separation in the design of its facility. The company installed these huge windows between the office and the shop floor, so that people in the office see the shop floor constantly, and people in the shop know they are seen.

The message seems of this seems clear. Adex is a manufacturing business, and everything that happens in the office has no value unless it contributes to good parts being produced on the shop floor.