To those who tell me:
“THERE’S ROOM FOR EVERYBODY”,
I say THAT IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE!
This statement is a sign of weakness, a sign of an UNWILLINGNESS to admit that CHANGES need to be made at your company!
“I WANT TO BECOME A LEADER IN MY SECTOR!”
This is the phrase I hear from SUCCESSFUL companies. Perhaps not leaders yet but companies that are watching the market and have a plan that they are working on. This means they are CHANGING.
I am not going to hide the fact that when I meet these companies I am fascinated by them. I become curious and enjoy investigating and asking them what they think about their competitors; what underlying thought moves their spirit and their excitement. Guess what the most common answer these companies give me is
ONCE I GAIN CONFIDENCE WITH THESE PEOPLE?
”MY COMPETITORS HAVE TO DIE!”
Such a strong statement, collected from successful companies, gave me the inspiration for this article. So, I decided to share with you my 20 years of visits at successful and not so successful manufacturing companies across the globe. I can assure you that these two categories exist in every country and culture.
In the Production world, I all too often run into companies that COMPLAIN about the market, the customers, their employees, the suppliers, the stealing government and so on. Although I admit that these are undoubtedly variables that can affect a company’s business, it is just as true that there are other companies that, faced with the same variables, are SUCCESSFUL in what they do!
Being more interested in understanding the latter category of companies; how they operate, what they are thinking about and, more specifically, what they DO; I am able to summarise that the reason for their success is that they ACCEPT NEW CHALLENGES. Taking half a step forward into the unknown, with no guarantees or assurances in terms of the result they will obtain. This is why they are called CHALLENGES: because the outcome is NOT certain.
IT IS NOT THE STRONGEST OF THE SPECIES THAT SURVIVES BUT THE MOST ADAPTABLE!
Let’s cut to the chase. There are five new scenarios and challenges in the manufacturing world:
- REDUCTION OF INVENTORY
- PRODUCE ONLY WHAT YOU SELL
- AGILITY IN PRODUCTION
- EASY-TO-USE SYSTEMS
- REDUCE INVESTMENT RISK
Without further ado, these 5 things lead you straight to the following situation:
LOWER PRODUCTION COSTS AND IMPROVED MARGINS
Just ask any one of my customers that are using the “FLEXIBLE PRODUCTION METHODS” for their production and they will have no option but to directly confirm what I have just said. If you have yet to meet any of my customers, it will be my pleasure to put you in contact with them.
Everything else is old stuff and, most importantly, IT DOES NOT WORK, at least in terms of differentiating yourself. Comments such as: “we focus on quality” is a stock statement by now, you have to say it otherwise you’re out, or again “we follow our customer’s requests”, those companies that fail to do so are automatically out of the picture.
I am always in search of FLEXIBLE and EASY production techniques. In fact, I have come up with a huge number of new concepts, many of which have been incorporated in the book “FLEXIBLE PRODUCTION” http://www.flexibleproduction.com/landing/the-first-book-on-flexible-production/
Getting in the game and considering new production methods for one your company takes commitment and often:
- YOU DON’T HAVE TIME
- YOU CAN’T CONCENTRATE PROPERLY
- IT SCARES YOU TO THINK ABOUT NEW INVESTMENTS
- YOU PRETEND NOT TO SEE
This is why it is important to exchange views with someone who, like me, has dedicated a lot of time to studying and examining new production methods suited to the changing world and then combine them in an INNOVATIVE METHOD to be offered to those who are willing to listen.
Because, you see, there is a huge difference between people who truly want to find a solution (and are willing to listen) and people who RESIGN themselves and pretend nothing is happening since things are fine the way they are… there is nothing better.
I know exactly how it works; let me make a list of the most common excuses:
- EVEN IF THE MACHINES ARE DECADES OLD, THEY STILL DO THEIR JOB
- STAKING EVERYTHING ON THE FACT THAT THE MACHINES HAVE ALREADY BEEN PAID OFF IN FULL
- UNTIL I FILL MY OLD MACHINES (OLD AND INFLEXIBLE) WITH WORK, I CAN’T THINK ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE
- CLAIMING THAT IT WAS BETTER IN THE PAST
…At the same way as the manager of a football club and the guy shouting at the TV at home. In a word, the mood is:
Well, if you are that type of company, here’s what I have to say to you.
IF YOU ARE ALSO WILLING TO LET YOURSELF GET DRAGGED IN WITH THOSE WHO BECOME EXPERTS AT COMPLAINING EVERY CHANCE THEY GET,
…. YOU MIGHT AS WELL THROW THIS LETTER OUT NOW
AND STOP WASTING YOUR TIME!
On the contrary, the customers I work with and to which I supply the latest machines, challenging the new rules of the market, have the complete opposite of that SAD AND RESIGNED mentality.
They are willing to venture, to do business, where the risk is part of the game. Otherwise, you are no longer a business, but rather a has-been, and this is why: “the past was better” because back in the days you took risks but today you are no longer willing to do so!
So, what can you do to go back to that condition? The strength of your thoughts or meditation won’t be enough, since it will take REAL AND TANGIBLE ACTIONS, the will to challenge yourself, and the belief that there is still a way to:
CUT PRODUCTION COSTS AND IMPROVE MARGINS
I have also gone through the RESIGNATION phase, and have no qualms in admitting that when one is resigned, at certain point it feels OK, after all, lots of people are. Almost like a group with a sense of belonging, a general anesthesia.
In this atmosphere, everyone talks about their difficulties, consoling one another and ending up saying that there is always someone who is worse off than us, just like small-town elderly people who compete for having more aches and pains or the number of surgeries and, as if that were not enough, even discussing the health of their respective relatives.
During the 2008 crisis, I was in up to my neck, like a sucker: wrong decisions based on savings and cuts, guided by FEAR. But then, thanks to the group of people that today make up the company and to new investments in more skilled personnel, we were able to truly understand the new needs of the market; consequently creating the FLEXIBLE PRODUCTION METHOD.
This method today found success for customers that are taking advantage of the crisis and, instead of being passively swept away by this wave, have decided to ride it. While most companies are underneath, striving to stay afloat while taking on incredible losses!
This new design has found applications in two well-defined sectors:
- The first sector is made up of users of Transfer machines that have switched to flexible machines after watching their production lots become smaller and smaller due to their customers no longer being willing to have any stock on hand, consequently placing constant reorders for increasingly small lots. At the same time, the components to be produced were becoming increasingly complex, leading to the following consequences:
- MACHINE TOOLING TIMES LONGER THAN PRODUCTION TIMES
- TOOL CHANGE OPERATORS NO LONGER SUFFICED DUE TO THE FREQUENT CHANGES
- MORE COMPLEX COMPONENTS TO BE PRODUCED, CONSTANT REWORKING
- MANUAL DE-BURRING, RESULTING IN INCONSISTENT FINAL RESULTS
Moreover, although the more complex components had the largest profit margins, due to the complications mentioned above, these margins simply disappeared.
- The second user type consists of customers accustomed to using the common machining centers which are also flexible but feature very low productivity, forcing customers to fall into the trap of installing multiple machining centers; with the following consequences:
- INCREASE IN SPACE OCCUPIED
- MORE WORKERS NEEDED OR MORE ROBOTS INSTALLED
- HIGHER ENERGY CONSUMPTION (+50%)
- NEED TO BUILD EXPENSIVE EQUIPMENT OR TOOLS
All this contributed to zeroing out the profit margins given the high management costs.
Incidentally, there is another real documented case that I can illustrate for you.
THIS METHOD POSITIONS ITSELF BETWEEN THE TRANSFER AND COMMON MACHINING CENTERS, GUARANTEEING A NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN COST/PIECE!
Not only is this production method positioned in a very interesting area, benefiting from the best of both TECHNOLOGIES; it is also able to quickly adapt to market needs (typical of machining centers) but with a high productivity (typical of the Transfer), for a truly low cost/piece.
Moreover, at the economic level the INVESTMENT RISK is low for the following reasons:
- IT IS A STANDARD MACHINE
- IT IS QUICKLY RETOOLED TO PRODUCE ANY COMPONENT
- ITS TOOLING COST IS VERY LOW
- IT OFFERS HIGH PRODUCTIVITY
- PIECE RE-WORKING IS ELIMINATED
- IT IS EASY TO USE
- DE-BURRING CYCLE CAN BE EASILY ADDED
- IT USES LESS ELECTRICITY
- IT IS SIMPLE TO AUTOMATE
- VERY COMPACT DESIGN
So, I will NEVER stop repeating that it is entirely possible to:
CUT PRODUCTION COSTS AND IMPROVE MARGINS
This production method is inevitable for a company that always wants to be at the cutting edge, in step with the times and able to produce in an efficient and quick way. In fact, a sensible person that does business or wants to do business in the right way, who wants their company or the company they work for to be successful, does not take long to spring into ACTION and be off with that attitude that I like to define as:
TANGIBLE DREAMERS, VISIONARIES WHO NEVERTHELESS APPLY THEMSELVES IN A CONCRETE MANNER, ON A DAILY BASIS, SO THAT THEIR DREAM CAN COME TRUE (AND THE VISION CAN BECOME REALITY)
That being said, now please TAKE A DEEP BREATH, think about these three situations and write down your answer to each of the following questions:
– What happens once you install the MULTICENTER, with all the advantages listed above?
– What happens if you keep on buying the same machines that you have always bought before?
– What happens if you don’t try to analyse your situation and get stuck with your problems?
Are you ready to….
CUT PRODUCTION COSTS AND IMPROVE MARGINS?
ALL THIS IN JUST 4 MONTHS, THANKS TO MASS-PRODUCED MACHINES!
The most successful model is MULTICENTER 3SPINDLES
IT IS NOT THE STRONGEST OF THE SPECIES THAT SURVIVES
BUT THE MOST ADAPTABLE!
Expert in Flexible Production