Why Are Job Shops Always Such a Chaotic Mess? Part 1

Ford Crankshaft Shop 1917
Ford Crankshaft Shop 1917

Job shops have a strong tendency toward chaos. Even well managed plants struggle to maintain order in a job shop. This is due to the inherent nature of a job shop, and there are no good solutions to manage job shops. The only good way to improve a job shop is to turn it into a flow shop. I will talk more about such changes later in this short series, but first let me explain why job shops are always a mess.

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How to Set Up a Shop Floor Meeting – Part 2

In my second post in this series on shop floor management I will look at more things that go into the team corner besides the tracked KPI. How do you manage your improvement activities? What organizational stuff should go in there? Hopefully this will help you make more successful shop floor meetings. In my next post I will also talk about what should NOT go into a team corner on the shop floor.

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How to Set Up a Shop Floor Meeting – Part 1

Regular shop floor meetings are necessary to keep yourself and others informed. This is also true for the shop floor. Many factories have set up meeting corners for the workers and their supervisors to meet. In this series of posts I would like to show you what you need for a successful shop floor meeting. This first post looks at the hardware and content of the team corner where the shop floor meeting usually happens, as well as the most important KPI that should be addressed in the team meeting.

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American Factory – Documentary of a Chinese Automotive Factory in the USA

A good manufacturing documentary on Netflix is American Factory. This movie follows an American automotive plant that closed some time ago, and was reopened by a Chinese car glass manufacturer. It documents the differences and problems between employees and management in general and the cultural clashes between Chinese management’s and American workers’ expectations in particular. It is in fact very similar to the 1986 movie Gung Ho, except Gung Ho is a fictional comedy, whereas American Factory is as real as it gets. Good to watch!

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Fictional Movie on US-Japan Automotive Culture Clash – Gung Ho

Michael Keaton in 2002

Recently I watched a few feature-length movies about automotive plants America. The first one is Gung Ho, a fictional comedy from 1986 featuring Michael Keaton. The movie shows a Japanese car maker purchasing a closed-down plant in the USA, and lots of cultural clashes that threaten to close down the plant again. While not Academy Award-worthy, it offers insights into the cultural differences between Japanese and US Industry, although often exaggerated on both sides for comical effect.

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The Amazon Robotics Family: Kiva, Pegasus, Xanthus, and more…

Amazon Picking ProcessYou surely know this little orange robot at Amazon commonly known as Kiva, which powers many Amazon Fulfillment Centers. Turns out, there are more robots in use at Amazon, some for similar tasks, some for something completely different. In this post I would like to give you an overview of all the robots at Amazon (that I know of). There’s at least six different robots in action.

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