The Three Pillars of Reliable Machine Shop Productivity

This shop looks for a systematic convergence of three disciplines in production management.

How To Audit Your Machine Shop Improvements

Here are a few practical approaches for auditing your manufacturing initiatives.

Continuous Improvement Must Be Continuous

It’s easy to do the work to improve your facility and then want to sit back to see how things go. Unfortunately, this leads to complacency, which is hard to overcome.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Lean Manufacturing

For as long as lean manufacturing concepts have been around, there are some who still do not understand what lean is and why it’s an important part of a continuous-improvement strategy.

10 Lean Manufacturing Ideas for Machine Shops

In addition to the right mix of traditional strategies, a new lean manufacturing toolkit can make high-mix, low-volume machining faster, more predictable and less expensive.

Data-Driven Manufacturing

Lean and Data-Driven Manufacturing Go Hand in Hand

Lean manufacturing is a never-ending quest to remove waste from processes. This pursuit should put a shop on the path to data-driven manufacturing.

Lean Manufacturing Begins With Layout, Commitment

Sustainably streamlining production of a varied mix of low-volume work depends not only on a strategy tailored for job shops, but also on human drive and enthusiasm.

Shop Management Software

Shops Cite Their One Big Technology Addition

Here are three technologies that participants in our Top Shops benchmarking survey say have been particularly impactful on their machining businesses.

5S in a Box

Based on this shop’s experience, industrial vending systems and lockers can help kick-start and sustain lean manufacturing initiatives.


Inventory Systems Boost Lean Manufacturing Efforts

Computerized, point-of-use storage and dispensing systems help this shop target waste that is difficult to measure and often labor-intensive to eliminate.

Lean Manufacturing Is No Less Important

There are a variety of new production technologies coming onto the scene, but lean manufacturing should remain a shop’s underpinning.

Lean No Less Important

Lean manufacturing shouldn’t become lost in the shuffle of today’s emerging part-production technologies, strategies and approaches.

Data-Driven Manufacturing

Improvement Is Not Optional

No matter how busy this shop gets, it continues to pull teams of employees out of production so they can focus on solving problems to make incremental process changes. The advances add up. Today, this is a very different shop than it once was.

Turning Machines

Human Capital

This shop’s attention to process improvement led it to recognize and appreciate the largest source of unrealized potential in the company: the employees. Now, employee improvement is a priority in the plant manager’s role, and training has become a systemized part of the process.


A Robotic (R)evolution

This shop’s evolving approach to automation has led it to streamline processes, challenge preconceived notions about robotics and embrace the notion that a manufacturing sequence is greater than the sum of its parts.

Video: A Job Shop’s Lean Transformation

For shops considering a move to lean manufacturing—or a recommitment to lean manufacturing—this video is a great encouragement.


Lean from the Beginning

How would you design a new plant if you could begin today? Rolls-Royce Crosspointe is a major manufacturing site that was planned from the outset with the expectation that continuous improvement would always be part of its culture.

What Does Lean Actually Mean?

It's important to make sure your employees are on the same page if you are considering a move to lean. Watch this presentation by BlueSwarf CEO Greg Eckerman for an introduction to lean's core principles.


Upon Further (A3) Review

Using lean manufacturing’s A3 problem-solving process, Genesis Attachments found that magnetic workholding could provide greater benefits than simply getting parts on and off machines faster.

For Manufacturers, a Little Inventory is Healthy

It turns out that too much efficiency is inefficient.


Going Lean in Order to Grow

This shop has a plan for dramatically expanding its contract machining business in high-value markets.

What is Your Cost Model Costing You?

Our new expert in our Lean Machining Zone cautions manufacturers against using an activity-based costing method. This line of thinking makes it hard to justify needed improvements.

What is Your Cost Model Costing You?

Some savings are hard to measure precisely, particularly on a per-part basis. That doesn’t mean those savings don’t exist.

From Job Shop Chaos To Lean Order

Classic lean manufacturing principles are practically taken as gospel, but benefits can be elusive for manufacturers that produce a variety of parts in low volumes. This shop took a different approach to lean—one aided by software that helped identify a more efficient machine layout based patterns in part routings.

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