work home with them, there’s an
“I can sit in my chair at home and
watch what is happening,” Woods said.
Quality improvement. The software includes fault monitoring. For
example, you can click on the downtime for a job and find out what the
reason code was. With that in hand,
operations management can go to shift
Enter code FC352 at
supervisors to get the story and correct
“So management is able to show
the shop floor that we are watching
what’s going on,” Woods said. “And
that tends to motivate them.”
“A lot of times they will call me
because they know that we know
what’s going on,” Hamilton added.
The software also keeps track of
every button that was ever pushed in
connection with a specific job. If the
line operator can’t remember the
sequence of events that led to a quality
problem, the software can recall the
Production improvement. When
you know the true situation, you can
improve the situation much more easily, according to Hamilton.
“What I do on a daily basis is I come
in and look at what we did the night
before. I start to look at what happened,” he said.
“You can go into AIM into the production reports and see exactly what
the downtime was and all the issues
and start working on what you are
going to do to prevent those downtime
issues in the future.”
As an example, Hamilton looked at
his laptop during the interview for this
story. He noticed Line 1 running at 114
percent efficiency and Line 2 at 104
percent, both good performances.
“The tool is out there, and if you
don’t use it to coach, you don’t get the
improvement,” Woods said.
KMP saw quite an improvement in
2006. At the beginning of the year, it
was running three shifts and producing
approximately 10,000 tons per month.
By the middle of 2006, with improvements in line efficiency, KMP was processing the same volume with two
Employee engagement. The production reports aren’t for manager’s
eyes only. They are posted regularly
on a board on the shop floor for
everyone to see.
“We get a competition going with
that,” Hamilton said. “If a particular
shift finds that one line can outrun
them, they’ll try to outperform the
other. We see a lot of that, and we do
reward them for their efforts.”
Again, the competition appears to
be paying off. KMP posted a 37 percent uptime in October 2005, but
CWith the redesigned Ford Super Duty trucks—the F-250s and F-350s—hitting
the marketplace, Kasle Metal Processing expected March to be its busiest month
ever, pushing more than 15,000 tons of blanks out the door.
CIn an effort to reduce the downtime associated with stack removal, the company’s maintenance team took a closer look at the stacking operation. The efforts
resulted in more precisely stacked blanks, required by automotive customers for
automatic feeding into their stamping operations, and quicker removal of the final
“cube” from the blanking line. Because the cubes are more perfectly aligned, the
company was able to decommission a robot once dedicated to restacking blanks
after removal from the blanking lines.
improved that to 50 percent uptime
only one year later. Hamilton said
that some nights KMP’s second shift
has hit 70 percent uptime. And this
occurred at the end of 2006, when
KMP had to endure more
changeovers as inventories built up at
customers’ plants and job orders were
not as large as earlier in the year.
More intelligent quoting. KMP can
look up months’ worth of data to see
what the average quote was for a part
or a similar part, which gives the front
office a more accurate idea for a bid.
Several months down the line, management can go back and compare the
quote to the actual outcome.
“Especially as we look at quotes
for simpler jobs, we need to beat out
the competition,” Woods said. “Our
costs are our costs, but what can we
do in terms of efficiency to get more
per hour so that our quote sticks out
as the best in the marketplace?”
Time to Get Busy
“I think AIM played a crucial role in
keeping the facility open for business as
it lost some of the Ford orders,” said
Todd Hernandez, AIM Analytical’s
vice president, product development.
Woods agreed that improving efficiency was the key to the plant’s survival.
“In tough times you have to be able
to show a return. And we certainly
have been ratcheting down in terms of
cost controls, but at the same time you
have to look real hard at how efficiently you are using your labor and how
efficiently you are using your equipment,” Woods said. “It’s been a tool
that’s necessary for us to have, especially in this tough year that we have had
from a volume perspective.
“If we had the volume we had in
2005, we would have been untouchable in terms of success,” Woods added.
The FABRICATOR | An FMA Publication
www.thefabricator.com | March 2007