So far the meeting with The Professor had proven very valuable John thought. He was anxious to hear the other suggestions The Professor had.
The Professor began to speak. “Change-overs are what really hurts ACME’s uptime and hence productivity,” The Professor commented.
Pete was surprised. “Even you were impressed with our system of having a white board to document logistics status for each future job,” said Pete.
“You are correct,” responded The Professor. “However, a change-over takes you about 2-3 hours and you have one or two change-overs per line per day,” The Professor added.
“We have a high product mix business, it’s what we do,” said John.
“The good news is, you can cut your change-over time to 30 minutes,” shared The Professor.
“How?” asked John. “By using feeder racks,” explained The Professor. “These racks allow you to setup the component reels for the next job while the current job is running. Admittedly they cost about $30,000, but they will pay for themselves in weeks. Right now you lose more than two hours per change-over loading the feeders on to the component placement machines. With the feeder racks, you just roll them and lock them in place,” said The Professor.
Pete moaned, “We already have feeder racks. We only used them once, because they stick on the carpet when we move them.”
This comment caused The Professor to groan internally, but he hid it well. He had noticed the frayed carpet near the component placement machines.
John was beside himself. “It’s a good thing we are not The Professor’s students……I don’t think we would be heading for an ‘A,’ “ he thought. John responded to Pete’s comment, “Pete, let’s get facilities to remove that rug and start using the feeder racks ASAP.”
Patty listened to all of this with comical fascination. She had harassed Pete about using the feeder racks several times. While the meeting was going on she drew a sketch of The Professor, who is notoriously camera shy. Oh, and she decided on the restaurant, Aujourd’hui in nearby Boston. Maybe they can pick up a Red Sox game while they’re there.
Epilogue: Six months later ACME’s uptime was a respectable 30.4%. John never had to buy another line. The improved productivity enabled ACME to increase their market share. Patty’s dinner and ball game were a complete success. She handled her victory modestly and she and Pete became best friends. Pete also joined the ranks of The Professor’s many admirers.
Dr. Ron’s note: I know that a story like this must seems too comical to be true. However, every point and the associated uptime numbers, lost time etc, are all based on a real situation with no exaggeration. The names have been changed to protect the innocent (guilty?)
What is your uptime??