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Smartphones and site solutions

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it’s also the best way to start the process of resolving issues on the jobsite. We all get photos sent to us to explain and demonstrate a situation that our customers are going through. The question is do you have a defined policy for whom to send the photos and a step-by-step, detailed process as to how that solution will be found. For more information on developing a documentation plan, please contact NCMA’s Production Specialist Mike Maroney.

Do you have a production question? ASK MIKE!

Cleaning house

If you scheduled your spring production correctly, your yard should be seeing some significant inventory turns due to the summer demand for hardscapes and do-it-yourself projects from the local hardware stores. As the inventory leaves, take some time to clean out the lots before you fill them again. It’s an ideal time to get behind the rows and clean up any debris or loose stretch wrap along the fence line. It’s also a great opportunity to take a look and see what inventory you made that didn’t take off as quickly as anticipated. Segregate it and get it out of your yard before you end up having degraded stretch wrap and aged pallet decay, potentially causing more than eyesore. For more information, contact NCMA Production Specialist Mike Maroney.

Do you have a production question? ASK MIKE!

Runaway job orders 

A salesperson takes an order for 2,000 8″ split face units that are light tan in color. Having concerns about variability in the light tan color, the salesperson adds 5 percent to the order which bring the total number of units to be produced to 2,100. Either unknown or untrusted by the salesperson, the ordering system used has a built-in cull rate for that product and mix of 3 percent which effectively brings the number of units to be scheduled to a total of 2,163 units. At this point remember that the customer only needs 2,000 units and before the order has even been put on the schedule, the production order has increased by 8 percent. Two units are produced per cycle and placed in racks for curing which can hold 48 cycles which in turn means that scheduled order only needs 22 racks and 25 cycles to fill the order. The machine operator or plant manager decides to round up the rack requirement to 23 racks for just-in-case issues on the splitter, bringing the number of units produced to 2,208, an overall increase by the time curing starts to a total increase to the original customer’s needs by 10 percent.

Maybe there are some extremes here and maybe there aren’t, but the fact of the matter is that the example shows how easy it is to torpedo your own profit margin. When was the last time you went over the order process with not only your sales team, but also your plant personnel? For more information on capturing true costs, please contact Mike Maroney.

Earth Day yard clean-up 

Maintaining your equipment is paramount to profitability and market success. Maintaining your production team is just as necessary. Earlier this week was Earth Day, a prime opportunity to build the team in a group exercise to have everyone get together for a yard walk and clean up. We’re hitting the season where customers will be coming in and appearance is important. But it’s not only about appearance; it’s also about taking pride in your workplace. If you put enough folks on it, one hour can make a difference for your customers and your team.

Stealing success

We’ve all seen that medical drama about the diagnostician with the gruff demeanor, who along with his subordinates tackles obscure life and death medical conditions on a daily basis. It’s a great show, but an even better example of using differential diagnosis in solving problems. Define the symptoms, come up with potential causes, and then rule out those causes till you have a single, offending cause. I submit to you that the same methodology can be used in our manufacturing processes. For example, a bad split on an architectural unit can be the result of several mechanical, curing, or material related causes. Is it happening on every split? Is it repeating every so many units? Or is it occurring randomly? The more questions you ask and answer, the quicker you’ll narrow down the culprit. For more information, contact Production Specialist Mike Maroney.