I’ve Outgrown My Present Manufacturing/Office Space – Now What?

June 12, 2011

You have come to the realization that your current facility is cramped and way over crowded. Questions abound: buy new/used, lease, expand. Each one of those choices create their own set of questions. Cost, taxes, size of building, where do I get the money? The answer to these and other questions will be answered on June 28 at Robert Morris Graduate School of Management
1000 E. Woodfield Rd, Schaumburg, IL 60173. The time is 5:45 p.m. For more information go to:



Are You Comfortable With Reading A Financial Statement?…….

April 21, 2011

If you look at a financial statement and you don’t know what you are reading, then the “Manufacturing Tools” group on LinkedIn has the answer for you. On may 3, 2011 Royal Johnson of B2B CFO® will discuss how business owners need to use accurate, complete and timely financial statements to serve as a compass that tells them how their business is performing. Understanding financial statements and using the information will enable them to make better business decisions that improve their profitability and competitive positioning. Check out

http://www.linkedin.com/news?viewArticle=&articleID=483809954&gid=2189993&type=member&item=51184855&articleURL=http%3A%2F%2Fmanufacturingtools%2Eeventbrite%2Ecom%2F&urlhash=AvOc or go to Manufacturing Tools group on LinkedIn.

Work Measurement – Again . . . . . .

August 10, 2010

When I first started out as a young Industrial Engineer, there were really only two ways of measuring work content. There was pre-determined time systems (Work Factor and MTM) and the stopwatch. I had to learn Work Factor and use a stopwatch. Work Factor became ingrained in my head. I haven’t used it in 30 years but I think I could use it today as I still have my original “chart.” The timing device became the measuring tool of choice. The original stopwatch hands flew around the dial at breakneck speed, but I had to note the location of the hand on the dial and record the element. Talk about inaccuracies! After a while, a new device entered the market, a digital stopwatch. Wow! What an improvement. That remained the device of choice for a long time. Now comes the PDA. This represents a dramatic improvement in accuracy. Not only is it accurate in and of itself, there are apps that are written specifically for work measurement. This is a long way from the analog stopwatch. What will be next?

Work Measurement . . . . .

July 5, 2010

One of the building blocks for Industrial Engineering is the time study. Almost everything in manufacturing is derived from this humble beginning. So the question is how do you do a time study? What is the best method to use, both in choice of timing device to use and in work place arrangement.

The first timing device was the somewhat reliable stop watch. One had to look at the watch while one of the hands was flying across the face of the watch and try to read the time and then turn their attention to the paper on which the times were recorded. A lot of missed motions, but the best that was available at the time. One could also use a predetermined time system. Every motion was recorded in sequence and a specific time value for each little finger squiggle was applied. Tedious, but effective. Fast forward now to the 21st century. The stop watch has been replaced by the PDA. That means that with the press of the “enter” button the time value for a sequential element can be automatically entered and the total time can be calculated with more accuracy than the original stop watch. Much easier to use, I might add.

Offshore Production……….

June 24, 2010

Recently I posted a question on LinkedIn about the REAL cost to produce offshore. The responses were very interesting and telling. There were the usual responses about the labor rates being lower than in the U.S. I can understand how that would be important in a labor intensive environment such as a call center, but I question the value in a capital intensive environment. The responses ranged from broken products to mis-marked products to long delays to safety stock inventories at home. All of these add costs but add no value. There hasn’t been a single response as to tax benefits. How is this cycle of offshore production overturned and production brought back to the U.S.?

New Building . . . .

June 7, 2010

In the past I have been asked to help companies relocate to new facilities. They will have a new building all picked out and then I will be asked for my assessment. More often than not, the new building turns out to be inadequate. Square footage alone doesn’t always tell the tale. Posts in the wrong place, not enough shipping docks, no room for whatever inventory, etc. However, there is usually no “perfect building” for their production needs. Unless they are constructing a new building, most existing buildings were designed for other uses and don’t always lend themselves for their use completely.  We will usually find a building that is pretty close and allow them to use it now and give them the ability grow.

New Facilities . . . . . . .

May 18, 2010

So you have decided to relocate your manufacturing plant. If you are going offshore, make sure that all costs and potential costs are accounted. The lure of lower labor rates is legendary and even lower raw material costs might be attractive. Direct costs are easy enough to compare, but what about indirect costs? Some of these may include delays, quality issues, shipping issues, cost of trips by personnel to oversee operations and cancelled orders due to delays, to name a few. All of this should be in your equation when making that decision. It is not a decision to be made lightly, but with much thought. Good luck!

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