Q&A

Getting to Know Joseph Schultz, Industrial 4.0 Project Manager

We believe it’s important to know who you’re working with.

We’re continuing our Getting To Know CIFT series with our Industrial 4.0 Project Manager, Joseph (Joe) Schultz. The Industrial 4.0 Project Manager job is a brand new position at CIFT and Joe joined the team almost two months ago, diving head first into the position and working directly with different manufacturers in Ohio. We asked Joe some questions to get a glimpse into his role and what motivates him.

What do you do at CIFT?
I am the Industrial 4.0 Project Manager. I work with manufactures to bring them into the Industrial Revolution 4.0. This includes Lean (implementation, training, assessments), Smart Manufacturing (Internet of Things (IOT), AI, preventive maintenance), Digital Manufacturing (ERP, digital thread, data capture), Cybersecurity (focus on CMMC), Automation (robotics, smart sensors) and Additive Manufacturing (3D printing, prototyping). Another aspect of my job is to build relationships with manufacturers and service providers in the Northwest Ohio Region to help them see and know CIFT as an available resource.

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
The opportunity to change and improve Northwest Ohio manufactures and be a part of shaping the future. To help improve the quality of manufacturers in both product and improvement of their employees’ work.

What are you most looking forward to with this new role?
I am most looking forward to growing my skill and knowledge base, while leaving an impact on a better Ohio.

What’s one thing you want people to know about your role, service or CIFT?
I want people to know that Industry 4.0 is the future. If employers are facing workforce shortages, it is time to look into going Lean. If a task is dirty, dull or dangerous, there is a robotic solution. Companies need to evaluate their cybersecurity to protect their business, customers and, in some cases, continue to stay in business. Lastly, 3D printing can save companies time and money on reduced time to prototype and organic design.

I also want people to know CIFT is here to help and partner with them as their Ohio MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership).

What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I have a high desire to learn and as a result I am full of random information and facts. I love kayaking and spending time with my wife.

Learn more about our manufacturing services and success stories through our different manufacturing blogs.

Alpha Coatings logo

Lean Implementation Gains Company Millions

value createdAlpha Coatings Inc. was founded in 1990 and has offices all around the world. The company first started out by applying metal to rubber bonding adhesives for the military. This application then led to producing weather strip coatings for the automotive industry. Meeting the needs of the automotive and aftermarket industry, their custom coating services are especially suitable for many types of sealing systems, including those found on any type of vehicle, including cars, trucks and trailers as well as appliances, windows, doors and boats. Today, the company boasts over $100 million dollars in sales annually.

Alpha Coatings’ local facility in Fostoria, Ohio identified some operational and communication issues that needed resolved to further business. Operationally, the shop floor was disorganized in various work areas. There were also very few measurable key performance indicators communicated to employees to help them understand how they were doing. The company’s management team met and were in agreement that a Lean implementation was necessary to improve the two issues.

The company contacted CIFT, an Ohio MEP, to provide the on-site process education and hands-on shop floor experience implementation of Lean Principles and Techniques. The MEP trained employees and implemented 5S to assist with the organization of shop floor areas. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were also identified to track and communicate to the shop floor.

The results of this Lean work conducted for Alpha Coatings were significant. The most noteworthy impact being over $4 million dollars in increased and retained sales directly from this project. Alpha Coatings also increased and retained 40 jobs.

Lean Resources

Questions on Lean implementation? We’re here to answer them. Contact us through out website.

We have many resources available when it comes to Lean. Check out our blog series, 3 Benefits of Implementing Lean into Your Manufacturing Production or get more information on our complimentary lean assessment.

5S of lean

Lean Benefit #2: Organization/Cleanliness

Lean manufacturing is getting your production to run as efficiently and effectively as possible. In order to do so, it is vital that all materials and employees have a place that is clean and organized. This is where the next lean terminology and methodology comes into play: The Five S’s (5S) of Lean .The 5S philosophy believes that when a workplace is clean, organized and safe, waste will be reduced and productivity will be optimized. 

The Five S’s of Lean

Naturally, The Five S’s all start with the letter “S” and they all derive from Japanese terminology. The Five S’s may seem straightforward and simple, but when implemented correctly they deliver massive value. 

Sort

When you begin the 5S of lean process the first step is sorting and organizing to determine what is actually needed vs what is not. Many times what you find in this process is not what you expected. This can apply to any materials or instructions that your organization is currently using. 

Set In Order

Set in order, also known as orderliness, means that everything has a place. This means optimizing part and tool use and when they should be stored after use. When everything has an order, parts and tools can be identified more quickly for the next use. 

Shine

Shine, aka cleanliness, involves the enhancing  of cleaning equipment and  materials. This value of a more sanitary work area cannot be overvalued. Employee productivity and morale are directly impacted by identifying areas for improvement in this area. 

Standardize and Sustain

These last two parts of the 5S of lean process are standardize and sustain. We group them together because they both represent the continuing actions and the culture change and mentality needed to implement and benefit fully from the 5S process. Building the “5S way of life” takes time and effort but can truly build a more productive and innovative environment for your company. 

Getting this five-step process implemented correctly is a challenge worth taking for any company who wants to grow and increase output while actually decreasing costs. Our team at CIFT has the resources and expertise to apply lean manufacturing to your production, big or small. Read more about our continuous improvement services here.

This article is a part of our ongoing series to help manufacturers in Northwest Ohio grow and innovate. Did you miss Lean Benefit #1? Read the article here. 

Continue reading our last blog of the series – Lean Benefit #3: Safety

wastes

Lean Benefit #1: Eliminating Wastes

The heart of lean is eliminating wastes in all aspects of manufacturing. In lean, waste is defined as anything that does not add value to your customers. When you dig into what waste actually is, you’ll find a common term used is the Seven Deadly Wastes.

Seven Deadly Wastes

The Seven Deadly Wastes are areas of your manufacturing process that can be explored to find opportunities for improvement. These seven areas may be costing your company unnecessary fees and might be worth looking into.

Overproduction
Overproduction means you are making something before it is actually needed. This can lead to some serious problems with inventory and issues with knowing your true supply and demand needs. Manufacturing overproduction typically happens when a ‘push production system’ is implemented rather than a ‘Just In Time’ philosophy. If you’re overproducing, you’re losing money in the end.

Countermeasures for Overproduction:
‘Takt Time’ — Paces production so the rate of manufacturing matches the rate of customer demand
‘Kanban’ — Pull system to control how much product is manufactured
Reduce setup times which will allow for small batches to be produced

Waiting
Waiting refers to how much time is being held up getting to the next step in production. When your production has a high wait time, value is lost and business is not running as efficiently as possible. Waiting can be anything from waiting for materials to arrive to having equipment with insufficient capacity.

Countermeasures for Waiting:
Continuous Flow — Design process that has minimal buffers or downtime between production steps
Standardized Operating Procedures — Set of instructions for processes which ensures consistent work and consistent time

Transport
Waste in transport, or transportation, is when there is excessive movement of materials or people, this can include the movement of tools, equipment, etc. When this type of waste occurs, the likelihood of product damage increases. When this happens with employees, their time is not being used to its full potential.

Countermeasures for Transport:
Value Stream Mapping — Design a production line that allows flow between processes

Motion
Waste in motion includes unnecessary or repetitive movement in people, equipment or machinery. This includes walking, lifting, reaching, ect. Lean suggests that these tasks should be redesigned to enhance work and increase health and safety of employees. When a repetitive movement happens, no value is being added.

Countermeasures for Motion:
Create an environment that is organized and as efficient as possible for employees

Overprocessing
When there is more work or effort being done than needed for processing, overprocessing is happening. Overprocessing can come in many forms. It can be having too high of technology for machines, running too many tests, having more functionalities than needed…just to name a few.

Countermeasures for Overprocessing:
Kaizen — Always have the customer in mind and compare their needs to the manufacturing process, while looking for ways to simplify

Inventory
Inventory is usually looked at as a positive, but having more inventory than what is needed to sustain a steady workflow can be detrimental. When there is too much inventory, product defects can occur, money allocation gets uneven, and hidden problems can arise which will ultimately slow down production.

Countermeasures for Inventory:
‘Just In Time’ — Purchasing raw materials only when needed
Continuous Flow — Decrease buffers between production steps

Defects
When a product is not up to standards, it is considered a defect and needs additional attention to be reworked or needs scrapped completely. Both the rework and scrapping are wastes. Rework requires additional resources from both equipment and employees. Scrapping the product as a whole is a waste in product and time.

Countermeasures for Defects:
‘Poka-Yoke’ — Error proofing the design process which decreases the likelihood of defects
‘Jidoka’ — Design equipment to detect defects and stop production
Go back and look at defects and get to the root cause, then implement changes accordingly

There are many resources when it comes to eliminating wastes, which can become overwhelming on where to start. Our team can be your starting point to get you off in the right direction. Read more about our continuous improvement services here.

Read our next blog of the lean series – Lean Benefit #2: Organization/Cleanliness

Did you miss our last lean blog overview? Read the 3 Benefits of Implementing Lean into Your Manufacturing Production: A Blog Series.

3 Benefits of Implementing Lean into Your Manufacturing Production: A Blog Series

When you look up the definition of lean manufacturing, you’ll get a lot of results, but in summary the focus is on minimizing waste in order to maximize productivity. Now, more than ever, companies are in dire need to get the most bang out of their buck and run as efficiently as possible. With COVID-19, many companies are unfortunately struggling with employee shortages and are searching for a better way to run their production with fewer employees. By implementing a lean production, areas of waste can be diminished, allowing for better quality of work to get done, even while the worker shortage is upon us all.

Here’s an introduction of the three reasons why you should consider taking a deeper dive into the possibility of going lean.

Eliminate Waste

What is waste? Identifying it correctly is the key to eliminating it effectively. Waste is anything that does not add value to your customers. Our team will look for what we call the seven deadly types of waste: Overproduction, waiting, transport, motion, overprocessing, inventory and defects. By looking in the correct places we can highlight opportunities that can deliver bottom line impact. This includes optimizing your employee output by utilizing them in the most beneficial positions.

Organization/Cleanliness

In order to run as efficiently and effectively as possible with the employees you have, everything needs to have a place that is clean and ready. This is where 5S comes into play with lean manufacturing. 5S stands for: Sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain. When you begin the 5S process, you first sort, or organize, and determine between what is actually needed and what is not. Set in order, or orderliness, means everything has a place and should be put away directly after use. Next, shine, or cleanliness, is keeping up with cleaning your equipment or materials. Finally, the last two, standardize and sustain, are the ongoing actions and mentality to continue doing the process and stick to the rules. When this five-step process is implemented correctly, it can improve the overall business by organizing, cleaning, developing and sustaining a productive work environment.

Safety

It’s clear to see that safety would also be an added benefit to lean manufacturing. When you’ve eliminated waste, put everything in order and used correctly, it is easier to understand all the processes and be safer as a whole. Kaizen is a lean idea that focuses on continuous improvement and empowering employees to make and suggest changes. Implementing kaizen mindsets and incentives in the workplace will lead to added safety measures for your business.

Lean can deliver these outcomes and many more when implemented with the correct procedures. Ohio MEP can provide the lean training to these concepts, delivering for you across all levels of your business. Read how CIFT helped Verhoff Machine and Welding get lean.

Read more on Lean Benefit #1: Eliminating Wastes.

Interested in learning more about our manufacturing services? Visit our website or contact us for more information.