The industrial design engineering team at HUI has been with the company for many years now. In fact, the longest-standing team member, Chris Freund, has been engineering with HUI for 29 years. Wayne Schad has been engineering for 13 out of the 25 years he’s worked for the company. Lastly, Scot Hoerth has also been engineering at HUI for 13 years. Over this time they’ve gained a wealth of valuable knowledge and experience with each new industrial design project. That’s why we thought we’d share some of the secrets they’ve learned from 55 combined years of engineering for manufacturing at HUI.
The New Year is finally here! It’s nice to take this time to think about everything we’ve accomplished in 2018, as we get excited to begin 2019. That’s why we’d like to take a moment and reflect on the top five manufacturing posts published on the HUI Manufacturing Blog in 2018.
November was an exciting month for HUI, as we built our first run of sellable parts on our brand new TruMatic 6000 TRUMPF machine. This is great news for both our customers and our teammates. Once the machine is functioning at full capacity by the end of December, we’ll see improvements in production speed, shop floor efficiency, and additional design capabilities. To learn more about HUI’s plans for the new TRUMPF Machine, I Interviewed HUI’s Continuous Improvement Manager, Mike Schwarz, and here’s what I learned:
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: