Here are the top five things we do here at JB Cutting to keep our shop running smoothly and efficiently.

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1.)  Train, Train and then Train Some More!

It’s inevitable … employees get sick, quit or are let go for various reasons. We try to cross train all of our employees to guarantee that we don’t miss a beat.  The more operations an individual knows, the more they can use those skills to help us grow as a company.  And sometimes a fresh pair of eyes to a repetitive task results in streamlining that task to save time and money.

2.)  Create a Schedule, but Don’t Forget to Flex

With our competitively shorter lead times, it is very important to have a schedule or a “plan of attack.”  We create production schedules that are updated daily in Excel.  This helps us prioritize jobs in-house to ensure due dates are upheld and everyone is on the same page.  However, we also schedule in some flexibility.  Customer service is very important to us!  Sometimes due dates change or rush jobs are added, creating, as I like to call it, “organized chaos.”

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3.)  Minimize Downtime

The early bird gets the worm!  I arrive around 5am to get the machines setup for the operators.  Also, we keep an organized shop in order to eliminate searching for tools and materials. We have designated racks and locations for items; “a place for everything and everything in its place!”  This also helps us to know when materials need to be reordered.  In addition, we perform bi-weekly PM (Preventative Maintenance) and weekly cleaning.  Keeping on top of maintenance and cleaning means fewer breakdowns and minimizes down time.

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4.)  Create Departments

Creating departments enforces accountability. Every employee has a leader or department head to report to.  Since we have two buildings, it’s hard for me to be in two places at once.  Having departments stops employees from walking around looking for answers.  They can report directly to their department leader. If the department leader can’t answer the question or more information is needed, then they can come and seek me out.

5.)  Communicate Effectively

Communicating effectively is one of the most important keys to having an efficient shop.  Having production meetings every day and mini meetings on the floor as needed ensures that everyone is in the loop and nothing is overlooked.  All department heads have cell phones and instead of an overhead paging system, which can be disruptive, we communicate primarily via texts throughout the day.

Hopefully these tips help you create an efficient and smooth-running shop.  Even making small changes can result in a better working environment for your workers and an increase in your bottom line.  Do you have a tip that we’ve overlooked?  Please share it with us through Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.  We’d love to hear what you’re doing to keep your shop in tip-top shape!