Continuous process improvement is a commitment which may require external input
In order to survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive and complex global market, manufacturers must commit to continuously improving their products and processes. However, companies must also understand that continuous improvement involves both internal optimization of their existing processes and an eye toward new technologies which can further enhance these processes. This can be extremely difficult to achieve since it requires a fresh and unbiased review of internal processes and keeping up with the world of rapidly changing technology. Even if the continuous improvement team can review internal operations in an unbiased manner, they may miss important application details which are engrained in previous procedures or simply misunderstood. Similarly, applicable new technologies are often difficult to conceptualize and integrate, because “we don’t know what we don’t know”.
Once new technology becomes available, companies frequently have difficulty rationalizing the benefits of the investment or choose to invest in less expensive technology which may not provide the same value. Even when the ideal technology is implemented, failure to completely understand proper integration and use can limit the return. Technology and machining will only go so far to ensure efficiency and product quality. A fully optimized manufacturing process strategy must include consultative support and education from vendor partners.
The value of consultative support
In all cases, consultative technical partners can provide critical support and guidance to the continuous improvement team. Much like paid consultants, and often used by consultants for the same purpose, advisory technology providers have vast experience within their area of expertise. An experienced partner will take the time to educate and guide manufacturers to proven improvements and solutions–even if they fall outside of their product lines. A great consultative technical provider understands that a strong partnership, based on the value of their technical advice, will often lead the customer to logical decisions to purchase their products whenever possible, ultimately putting finding the right solution before making a sale.
Technical education is key
Oftentimes, inefficiency is a product of misunderstood application parameters or complacency regarding alternative solutions and improved technology. Taking the time to educate customers on critical cutting parameters such as tool rim speed, chip load, proper part holding, proper tool holding, dust evacuation, and heat management can dramatically affect processing efficiency. Education is important for every person involved with the manufacturing process, from management to the team on the shop floor, and can be delivered in a classroom setting or as a practical application on the shop floor.
Developing, rationalizing and introducing customers to new processing technologies fills in the “what we didn’t know” gap. The experience gained by working with many industry manufacturing partners provides insight as to which technologies truly work, and an understanding of how to optimize each. Each step helps reduce the customer’s perceived investment risk and ensures favorable ROI from the technology.
The Leitz approach
Leitz is not only an industry leading manufacturer of advanced cutting technology but also a leading consultative technical provider. Leitz guidance is based on insight gathered from our multi-industry, worldwide perspective, and experience. Our expert review, fueled by our belief that we can improve any cutting process, backed by our unconditional quality and performance guarantee, ensures our partner customers achieve the continuous improvement essential to their future.
Are you the top producer in your industry segment? Are your manufacturing processes optimized? Do you have the capacity to regularly conduct an unbiased review and improve these processes? Leitz does. How can we help you continuously optimize manufacturing efficiency and profitability?
Form a partnership for continuous improvement with Leitz.