By JOHN HACKLEY
Maximizing Production Throughput
Three “no-cost” ways to get the most out of your shop talent.
ne of the first things I hear from shop owners when they hire me to help them turn their companies around is how proud they are of cross-training their work force and how they have sound production scheduling practices. I ask myself, then why are they having production issues leading to lack of profit, poor cash flow, late delivery dates, excessive overtime, and rework? Granted cross-training has its advantages, but it also has disadvantages if the only time you capitalize on effectively utilizing those resources is when the need arises to cover the bases when someone is on vacation or sick. The key is “functional” cross-training. That aside for the moment, more than likely there are additional forces pushing against your ability to get all you can from your workforce. One is “bad” multitasking in scheduling task assignments. The biggest mistake made among shop
managers is not realizing the power of correctly balancing shop talent to maximize throughput. Underutilized capacity represents a big opportunity to improve bottom line profits without investments in additional manpower. What if you could boost future capacity by proactively cross-training and scheduling production task assignments differently to achieve more predictable results with little or no out-of-pocket expense? Read on to learn how. The goal is having the right worker doing the right task at the right time! This sounds like a simple enough concept, right? But how do you figure out where and when you will have gaps down the road in your production line and what type of training will help your team fill those gaps efficiently? For starters, I suggest reading The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt to learn about the Theory of Constraints (TOC). This will open the door into new insights on
how to improve your shop performance and achieve bottom line results. In this article, I’ll touch base on the TOC concept of multitasking and how it plays a big role in achieving higher levels of production efficiency, and then I’ll move onto cross-training to maximize throughput. First let’s look at the definitions of TOC versus human multitasking (which most of you do now) and how they relate to achieving higher levels of output. TOC Multitasking involves stopping work on a task before it is completed in order to start work. Multitasking itself is neither bad nor good. Bad multitasking occurs when switching tasks does not help any project finish earlier. For example, in a multi-job shop, it is common for resources to be required to switch between tasks on various jobs (or within the same job) in order to show progress. Such multitasking usually extends the duration of all jobs and, thereAugust 2019
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