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Cross Training and Standardization – A Winning Strategy

story header cross training 710 Cross Training and Standardization – A Winning Strategy

Change is one constant that cannot be avoided; you can either resist it or embrace it. Several different departments at Excel have worked together with machinists to institute a culture-shift by standardizing CNC lathe controls, tooling and software programs. These standardizing efforts have helped with cross-training, making it easier for the machinists to understand the operation of multiple machines, with less chance of error and confusion. Cross-training on multiple machines increases capacity (machine hours), and allows the machinist to be more flexible and efficient.

story cross training 640 300x199 Cross Training and Standardization – A Winning StrategyStandardization is the basic building block of lean manufacturing, and less downtime is linked to operation and maintenance of machines and equipment in which employees are already familiar. Maintenance matched the computerized controls to enable the machinists to have familiarity with each of the machines. Thanks to the Manufacturing Engineering Department, CNC programs were also standardized. On average, most machinists are able to operate multiple machines with about a week’s training. According to Jeff Kleiber, Machine Shop Manager, “The bulk of our workforce likes to be able to run multiple machines, though there are a few who prefer to stick to the same machine…which is fine.” He has also noticed that, with increased responsibility, there has been a positive shift in employee morale.

Standardizing equipment and cross-training have proven to be a big advantage for Excel. Jeff says, “It is comforting to know that when there is a machine open, there is a machinist trained and ready to operate it.”

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