Author: Jennifer Herron, CEO/Founder
The leadership at these small shops was better than the leadership I’ve seen at large companies.
In a follow-up webinar for IMTS “Taking the Shop Floor Digital”, Gary V (panel moderator) asked what was the catalyzing moment that began their change to digital. I was so impressed by their articulation of how they got started. Their insights are invaluable. I wish more organizations would stop thinking the worst of small machine shops in favor of thinking the best.
Here is what they said:
The instigator for change for Peter Doyle’s company Hirsch Precision in Boulder, CO was to get more office information to the shop floor. They needed better information management. The first step they took was to instantiate a culture that uses the scientific method to iterate into an improvement. They started culturally!
Better Information Management:
Aneesa Muthana at Pioneer Service said their instigator was one of survival. In the late 90’s they were threatened with extinction and started changing over to digital while keeping her people at the center of the conversation. Her first step was to evaluate what her customers were asking for and start researching the possibilities of digital for the shop floor (today there are even more options available). As she learned about the technology opportunities, they became addicts. And now, they know what it is like to be left behind, so they keep learning, implementing, and creating feedback loops.
Threatened With Extinction:
For Scott Volk at Metal Quest, they could not find workers to do tedious jobs, so they started investigating automation. Not to replace people, but to keep their people focused on value-add tasks, rather than tedious manual labor tasks. Scott’s first step was to implement tool vending and an ERP system and establish single-point data entry that eliminates manual data re-entry. Today, Metal Quest is ahead of its customers. They have more digital capability than their customers are willing to give them.
People Focused on Value-Add Tasks:
These 3 success stories represent the key metrics we’re all looking for:
- Increased accurate on-time delivery: get your shop floor well-managed data, so there isn’t confusion on authority, revisioning, or requirements
- Improved customer satisfaction and improved hiring: leverage 3D data as a differentiator, elevating what you can offer customers and what you can offer eager young potential employees
- Improved employee satisfaction: focus your talented workforce on their value-add tasks and skills, freeing them from the tedium
And now they know how to avoid being left behind, by continuing to learn, implement, and create feedback loops.