Production Machining

AUG 2018

Production Machining - Your access to the precision machining industrial buyer.

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Page 18 of 91 :: 17 Helping Precision Machine Shops Be More ProducƟve and Proftable PMPA's latest "Business Trends Report" shows that shops are busy working overtime and juggling their schedules to produce the almost unprecedented demand for components from our customers. In conversations, every manager, owner and engineer I speak with tells me the one thing they don't have is any time at all to spare. And yet, when they get to the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), the chances are very good that their precious time will indeed be wasted at extraordinary displays of robot arms lifting sports cars, performers playing electric violins and who knows what other absurdities. If our time is worth "x" back home at the shop, it must certainly be some multiple of "x" when we are away after paying for airfare, hotel, meals, perhaps rental car and parking or cab fare and Uber. So, what can be done to avoid being seduced away from our intention to find workable solutions to the issues our shops are facing now, such as the need for higher quality and productivity given the limits on available workforce and the ongoing demands of our customers? I'd like to suggest that you do a little pre-work, based on appreciative design, to help maximize the payoff from the time spent at the big show. Appreciative Design and Inquiry: It's Like Problem Solving, Only Positive Typical engineers or managers in our precision machining industry are well aware of the 5-Why process. Ask "Why" five times in a row, each time of the response previously given until the root cause is found. Appreciation is like that, but in a positive, visualizing way of trying to anticipate a desired future. The process? Instead of asking "Why" five times in a series, ask, "So what?" This will help get a clearer vision of the desired state, and the point is to recognize the existing positives and how to build on them. In our industry, problem solving generally starts from a negative mindset. Something isn't working or isn't compliant and needs to be. The focus is on our weaknesses. In appreciative inquiry, the starting assumptions are about our strengths: what is working and how to build on these strengths to make them even more of a competitive advantage. Focus instead on our strengths. In appreciative inquiry, the appreciate part is about what we are already doing well and recognizing and valuing that as a strength. The inquiry part is about further exploring, analyzing and discovering ways to further improve. The focus is on building our positives. The 5 'Ds' of Appreciative Inquiry Like the 5-S method for creating a lean workplace, there are five "Ds" to appreciative inquiry: • Define • Discover • Dream • Design • Deliver Define our desired future state is the first, and I would argue, most crucial step. This is done using positive language. We are not problem solving. We are designing an improved future. Positive language will keep us on a positive focus. Negative language starts us off in a negative light and drills too deep, too soon into process specifics. Accelerate to get results faster and shrink cycle times. This keeps our thinking broader and allows us to consider more possibilities. We are not looking for a single solution to a negative problem. We are looking broadly for a means to improve and enhance our shops' ability to create and ship our high valued components. Discovery is the next step. But before heading out of town to that really big show, discovery calls for us to "go to Gemba," but to see what we are doing right, not wrong, and what we could gain if we had further improvements. This is where we see what is best about our current systems and what we would like to see. This is the step where we Seduction or Intention: Choosing Your Time Wisely at IMTS By Miles Free – Director of Industry Research and Technology Continues on page 20

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