Mastering effective daily management in supply chain and engineering

Organizational performance benefit through faster innovation, increased accountability, shared direction, and decisions reflecting clearly-defined priorities, AME LEADERSHIP


Effective daily management starts with leadership. When it's done well, associates and their overall organizational performance benefit through faster innovation, increased accountability, shared direction and decisions reflecting clearly-defined priorities, according to Katrina Warren, manager of engineering development for Zodiac Arresting Systems.

Warren shared her suggestions for daily management in engineering and supply chain in a presentation during the recent AME annual conference in Toronto. Leading in the lean enterprise demands is constantly looking out for non-standard conditions, Warren said. Leaders are responsible for focusing on continuous process improvement and sustaining the system, she added.

Using tools such as visual management and key performance indicators (KPIs) supports these initiatives. KPIs in engineering, for example, range from the operation's technology roadmap to R&D as a percentage of sales, the number of new patents and the number of new product introductions. Monthly "dashboard" reviews reveal progress in KPIs and suggest needed actions.

Engineering: Consistent Performance, Minus the Fire Drills

There's no magic required to achieve better daily management in engineering, according to Warren. Use a checklist as you manage on a daily basis; it can free your thoughts for innovative ideas. Through hoshin kanri and visual communications such as a central communications board, the idea is to enable consistent performance improvements, minus "fire drills" and rush projects. In turn, continuous improvement (CI) in R&D processes yields needed corrective actions and progress in engineering change order (ECO) management, new product introduction processes, project management, etc. Warren noted the value of regular site management visits/updates at visual management boards.

"Daily management starts with you," Warren said. "It is an organized, deliberate method to maintain your workload within a reasonable time frame." It does not entail discussing every issue, every day. As leader standard work takes hold, you can extend standard work throughout your department. Set aside time to think about non-routine conditions. Standard work is a living document. Add and subtract as changes occur, said Warren.

Supply Chain: Collaborative Initiatives

Standard work in supply chain management helps to foster innovation through shared understanding about best practices and regular department benchmarking, Warren said. CI implementation includes collaborative initiatives with suppliers such as lean workshops and a supplier rating system.

Effective documentation of on-time delivery, quality and other issues, accompanied by problem-solving activities such as team huddles at area boards boost understanding about needed changes. Employ product impact and defective material reports as the foundation for discussion and problem resolution. "The beauty is in its simplicity. Discussions don't have to be long," Warren said.

- Content provided by the Association for Manufacturing Excellence's Target Magazine online.

- Edited by Jessica DuBois-Maahs, Associate Content Manager, CFE Media, Plant Engineering, Control Engineering

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.