Original Date: 04/24/2006
Revision Date: / /
Information : Quality as a Cost Reduction Initiative
Midwest Metal Products found that by quantifying each employee’s rework and pairing less proficient operators with an inspector, rework could be dramatically reduced. Operators were audited and trained one hour a day for 7 months, resulting in a decrease of 15 to 7 hours per month in the average rework hours of press brake operators.
Midwest Metal Products (MMP) undertook an evaluation of the quality of its sheet metal production operations to identify opportunities for cost reduction. The evaluation focused on quantifying and reducing rework in the company’s Metal Shop. Rework hours for all operations were quantified, and rework in the press brake and turret operations were found to exceed all other operations by a factor of 4 or more. Other operations monitored included programming, laser, hardware installation, shear, weld, spot weld, engineering, time saver, and customer requirements-related rework.
An audit program focusing on quality improvement and rework reduction was implemented. Press brake operators were audited weekly, with rework hours quantified for each employee and the root cause assessed. An evaluation of press brake operator training needs was determined with some of this early information. Blueprint-reading knowledge was determined as needing augmentation, and training for this operation was scheduled for all operators. An auditor form was developed to standardize and prompt auditors to assess the following minimum areas: Calibration
Statistical process control (SPC)
Bend computations (COMs)
Operators with the highest percentage of rework were paired with a senior operator/inspector for a training partnership one hour a day. The senior inspector was responsible for checking the first piece formed for conformance to drawings, auditing operators’ inspection techniques, print reading, workplace layout, setup sheet and flat layout, and overseeing operators as they formed parts at the press brake.
Over a seven-month period, operators showed considerable improvement. Monthly rework hours for the operators was more than halved (reduced from 15 to 7 hours per month), resulting in annual savings of approximately $17,000. This successful program is being expanded to other press brake operators and the turret punch operators.
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