Continuous improvement should be a big part of every manufacturing company’s culture, so it’s important to find ways to encourage employees to get involved. At HUI, we bring together a lead from each team, who focuses on finding opportunities to make company-wide improvements. However assembling the team is just a start, so we’re going to cover some ideas on how to encourage continuous improvement on the shop floor.
In a recent blog post we discussed "Activities to Get You Started with Continuous Improvement" to give you more information on some popular activities you can use to weed out the unnecessary wastes in your manufacturing processes. However, in that post we didn't go into detail about the types of wastes you might find. The best way to illustrate those wastes is to remember the acrostic: "Downtime", which derives from the seven forms of muda/waste outlined by Toyota Production System. The eighth waste was added in the 1990s as the system became more widely accepted around the world (source: The Lean Way Blog). Keeping these eight wastes in mind will keep you in the continuous improvement mindset, so we've created this "8 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing" Infographic to help you remember what each letter stands for.
HUI is excited to announce that in June of 2018, we officially upgraded our quality management system to the new editions of ISO 9001 and ISO 13485. We are now ISO 9001:2015 certified and ISO 13485:2016 certified! This is great news for our customers, but why? That’s what I wanted to know when I interviewed HUI’s Quality/Process Manager, Tim Jandrey, and here’s what I learned:
You’ve probably heard it many times before: “work smarter not harder”. This is a great phrase to live by, but it is much easier said than done. Especially when it comes to our own workplace processes. We get so stuck in our ways that we often need an outsider’s perspective to show us where we can improve. That’s why continuous improvement is so valuable, it puts everyone in the mindset to look for process improvements throughout the company. It also reminds everyone to never get complacent and settle for adequate work. Time is a huge commodity, if you don’t want to waste it, here are some activities to get you started with your own continuous improvement program.
Sometimes the little things can slow down a project with your contract manufacturer. When production slows down, it can be frustrating when all they needed was some general information that you didn’t originally provide. Whether your manufacturer struggles with finding the right contact, or waiting on a response, it wastes valuable time on both ends. The solution involves making information accessible for your manufacturer from the beginning, but it can be hard to know what they need until you have guidelines. That’s why we created this checklist to help you reduce order entry stops with your contract manufacturer.
The people who handle customer service for B2B companies quickly become the voice of the company when it comes to managing customer relationships. It’s an important role, because those team members are the customers’ first point of contact when they need help, need updates, and when they run into problems. That’s why it’s so important to create a system where customer service representatives can build strong connections with the customers. I sat down with Kathy Vogel, HUI’s Customer Service Coordinator, to see what advice she could provide about how to build these strong relationships.
When people first learn about our build to order policy, they tend to be a little skeptical that we can actually accomplish what we’re promising. Most manufacturers aren’t in place to follow the same build-to-order (a.k.a made-to-order) strategy as us, so it can be hard for people to believe it until they see it. However, once we do get a chance to prove our capabilities, they’re often impressed. It gives them a few reasons to question if they should consider switching to a supplier with a build-to-order policy, and here’s why:
We’ve been implementing LEAN manufacturing principles at HUI for over 15 years now. One of the best improvements to come from those changes was our made to order strategy. To give you a snapshot of all the advantages that come from working with a contract manufacturer who has a made to order manufacturing strategy, we put together this infographic:
Proper project management is essential in the efficient design and production of industrial products. Without it, miscommunication takes place, timelines run amok and questions go unanswered.
When designing an industrial project, it’s crucial to use a variety of best practices to maintain timelines and work with customers. For example, when presented with an industrial project, use a standard document to start the planning process, adding additional steps as necessary—out Features and Functions Document. We use this documents to gauge customer needs at the beginning of the design process, which ultimately helps refine smaller details and quoting.
Quality is at the top of our list of priorities. So, when we receive industrial prints from our customers, we take the time and effort to reduce potential issues that may arise in fabrication.