Close Menu

Our Manufacturing Blog

By Laura Lee Rose, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

Let’s begin with a brief history of post-world war II manufacturing in the United States:  high demand for products; the rise of the middle class; the eventual advent of offshoring due to higher U.S. wages; manufacturing fell out of favor as a career.

By Stacey Marler, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

Having problems getting noticed on the internet?  Have you ever wondered how to “Get on Google”?  Google has recently simplified the way to do this and more with a program called “Google My Business”.  With Google My Business you are able to update all your company information in one easy location so potential customers are able to find you easily.

By Dave Goebel, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

If I could just get those darned employees to think on their own. If my employees would just show a little initiative. Ever muttered those words? Did you ever think that your employees were the root of all evil? Maybe they are. Then again, maybe they’re victims of incompetent management. How would you rate the overall capability of your management staff? Let’s consider the way managers are selected, their ability to communicate, and their ability to train workers.

By Curtis Lopez, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager and ISO Expert

The changes in ISO 9001:2015 are here, and they include a big adjustment in how companies view their Quality Management Systems.  You may have heard the statement, “No more quality management department!” to describe those changes.  It’s a great sentence that captures the essence of the evolution to the new ISO 9001:2015, because now, everyone is responsible for quality, from top management, to middle managers, plant people, machine operators, back-office personnel…everyone has a part to play.

by Tom Gordon, CFPIM, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

“I will lift mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”
Psalm 121

It is an established and well-documented fact that small businesses, particularly family businesses, tend to fail.

By Terry Siddens, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Every production organization needs a reliable process to plan and schedule manufacturing operations. While this seems obvious, many companies struggle to fully understand how their information process works, and this often contributes to less than satisfactory results in efficiency and profitable productivity. On its most basic level, success is fulfilling customer orders on time, ideally when the customer wants product, but at a minimum when the company promises and plans to deliver. Failing to deliver on time is a reflection on all aspects of the operation, and shortcomings in the ability to access and use critical operational information is often a culprit.

By David Felin, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

“Reliability Centered Maintenance: a process used to determine what must be done to ensure that any physical asset continues to do what its users wanted it to do in its present operating context.” – John Moubray

In the 1960s, the failure rate among first generation jet aircraft was considered unacceptable. Two engineers from United Airlines, Stanley Nowlan and Howard Heap began researching the failure causes in the air travel industry. That research lead to reliability centered maintenance (RCM). RCM was first described in a 1978 Nolan and Heap report for United Airlines. Their report began as follows,

“This volume provides the first discussion of Reliability Centered Maintenance as a logical discipline for the development of scheduled maintenance programs. The objective of such programs is to realize the inherent reliability capabilities of the equipment for which they are designed, and to do so at minimum cost. Each scheduled maintenance task in an RCM program is generated for an identifiable and explicit reason. The consequences of each failure possibility are evaluated, and the failures are then classified according to the severity of their consequences. Then for all significant items those whose failure involves operating safety or has major economic consequences proposed tasks are evaluated according to specific criteria of applicability and effectiveness. The resulting scheduled maintenance program thus includes all the tasks necessary to protect safety and operating reliability, and only the tasks that will accomplish this objective.”

By David Goebel, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager, SME Silver Certified Lean Practitioner

Over the years, I’ve talked with many manufacturing managers who’ve had bad experiences with Lean. They read books or attend seminars and rush out to the plant floor to get started on a project. They may get some positive initial benefit, however, the overall operation doesn’t improve. They conduct a post-mortem to identify the guilty parties and eventually determine that “Lean just doesn’t work here.”

by Rick Prugh, Missouri Enterprise

To help reduce the enormous capitalization costs associated with building new nuclear power plants, several companies are designing small modular reactors (SMRs). These smaller reactors are designed so that modules can be manufactured in factories and shipped to the site for assembly, which is a more cost-effective solution than constructing the majority of the power plant on site. 

by David Felin, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Lubing machinery can be a hot, thankless activity. It also happens to be an extremely important one.  Since most maintenance personnel with some degree of seniority don’t particularly want to do this job, partly because they feel their skills are better utilized elsewhere, this responsibility frequently falls to “The New Guy”. It’s a dirty job that anyone can do, right?  Not really.   

By LauraLee Rose, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager and Six Sigma Black Belt

Ask 10 different Six Sigma experts for their definition of Six Sigma and you will more than likely get 10 different answers. And none of them will be wrong. Six Sigma means different things to different people. It may be defined as a structured problem-solving methodology using Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC). Others may simply say it’s a toolbox of statistical tools which we apply to issues involving quality. And still others may simply look on it as a metric which represents 3.4 defects per million opportunities. And they’re all right.

By Dave Goebel, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Does your company practice Continuous Improvement effectively or is Continuous Improvement just another program? Is Continuous Improvement part of your company’s DNA or is it just another phrase that appears on coffee mugs and t-shirts? These are the real questions you need to challenge yourself with if you’re serious about running an effective, efficient, cost optimized manufacturing operation that maximizes bottom line profitability. 

By Rick Wilson, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Hiding deep in the tall grass of profits are opportunities to better attain more profitability. If leadership recognizes this fact, they can ensure each area in manufacturing operations contributes to overall profitability. Supply Chain can tighten relationships with ever-improving suppliers that bring competitive advantage with them. Engineering can design and execute parts rationalization strategies to reduce material and labor costs, as well as provide a quickly available outstanding product.

By Curtis Lopez, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

The new revision of ISO 9001 is scheduled to be released in the 4th quarter of 2015, and the now available Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) contains some significant changes that may seem minor on the surface, but will have deep impact on how manufacturers adopt and adhere to the standard in the future.  ISO/FDIS 9001:2015 is of course still subject to change prior to its release, but it does give a strong indication of what is coming.

by Rick Prugh, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Duck and cover!  For school students in the 1950’s and 1960’s, random civil defense drills were conducted where everyone was instructed to jump under their desks and cover their heads in the event of a nuclear bomb attack.  Those drills helped terrify an entire generation of Americans regarding nuclear power, who handed that fear down to their kids, and so on. 

By Joe Bullinger, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Food Safety rules, regulations and requirements apply to many types of companies, even some you might not think of, like ingredients and packaging suppliers, the packers themselves, warehousing and storage providers, trucking and logistics partners… every company that handles food on the journey from farm to table.  If your company handles or touches products in the food chain, or if you want to get into that industry, there are strict rules you have to play by, but they don’t need to be overwhelming.

By Al Marcus, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

There’s a big problem facing Missouri manufacturing:  The loss of the knowledge and experience that makes entrepreneurial companies survive, grow and prosper.  It’s going to result in loss of jobs and affect Missouri’s economic growth, and it will destroy the legacy of too many hard working business owners who’ve earned the right to get more out of their hard work when it’s time to transition their company to new leadership or ownership.

By T.H.L. Gordon, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

In simplest terms, “risk” can be defined as “the effect of uncertainty on objectives.”  The hard reality of business is that there is no such thing as “the future” in the singular sense.  There are only multiple, unforeseeable futures, which will never lose their capacity to take us by surprise!  The developing history of risk management is simply an attempt to minimize the dangers and accentuate the positives, preparing an organization in advance for risks that could become reality in the future.

By Bob Beckmann, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager and Certified Energy Manager

It is a New Year and time for a New Year’s resolution.  The most frequent personal resolution is to lose weight.   A company does not measure improvement by the size of its waist but rather by the size of its waste – so maybe a corporate resolution may be in order for 2016.

By Dusty J. Cruise, Missouri Enterprise

The term “global economy” often conjures up images of huge multinational corporations, with dozens of offices, moving shiploads of goods across countries and continents, electronically managing bills and collecting payments in a myriad of currencies, and of low labor costs and relatively minor regulation. These are things that seem to prevent small- and medium-sized American manufacturers from successfully competing with companies from distant places.