Okay, I’ll say it, the answer is management.  Companies committed to lean manufacturing can not ‘just set it and forget it.’  Process mapping must be continuous, locating and squeezing inefficiency out of every step, while improving yield and overall quality.  Effective process management is challenged everyday by new technologies, innovative workflows and improved material handling.

Just to be clear, I am not sitting on the side lines dispensing management advice; here at TCI we recently took a good hard look at our customer’s expectations and the equipment and processes necessary to exceed those expectations.  The result of our assessment illustrated the importance many of our customer’s place on TCI as a lean manufacturing materials supplier. Affirmation of this recognized benefit motivated investment spending on our part to increase production throughput while further reducing delivery times.

We achieved what we set out to accomplish from a customer service and capabilities standpoint, but we also realized much more.  Based on new technologies, speeds, feeds, and improved net processing volume, TCI has redefined what is possible when producing machine-ready material.  Because we can process many primary and even secondary material operations more efficiently than our customers can in their shop, we are viewed more and more as a value-added materials distributor.

When process mapping, if you can eliminate steps like material sourcing, heat treating, cutting, squaring, flattening, deburring, cleaning and otherwise making near-net-size material ready for finish CNC machining, you might end up with a more lean process, with fewer potential bottlenecks.

So, get those post-it notes out and start mapping!

Thanks for reading –


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