CMs from the U.S. seek the bleeding edge in the Outback to avoid future pain

Innovation is a word that is currently criticized in the business world for being over utilized. However, I would argue its actual application is being seriously underutilized in our own industry.

There was quite a buzz on the BCMC show floor this year concerning production automation. 

Imagine purchasing a new piece of equipment and then finding out once it’s installed you can’t make it work the way it was intended because it doesn’t understand what your software is telling it.

Contrary to the popular marketing slogan, not everything that happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas, like the “youth movement” that unexpectedly sprang up during those two days of discussion. What started as a frank observation that industry leadership needs greater participation and buy-in from the younger generations led to several productive ideas on how to begin achieving that goal.

Eras of Innovation

As the industry heads into 2017 focused on solving workforce issues with greater manufacturing efficiency, it’s instructive to look back at the August 2006 issue of SBC Magazine, which featured an interview with Gene Woloveke, the inventive force behind the Idaco Machine & Equipment Company.

It’s not about the technology, it’s about the team you have to support that technology.

Talking about manufacturing automation often leads to discussions about new equipment, software or other technology. But Buddy Raney of Raney Construction and Dana Rector of Universal Forest Products are quick to point out that what’s critical is workflow planning and people.

You don’t want a Swiss Army knife when a good sharp blade is all you need, and vice versa. 
  • Determining production cycle time, the amount of time required to process an order from start to finish, is key to meeting customer needs.
  • The old paradigm suggested that similar jobs be manufactured at the same time; the new paradigm focuses on meeting customer needs with a “just in time” mentality as efficiently as possible.
  • Is an urgent request viewed as a pain-in-the-neck rush job or an opportunity to exceed expectations and have a customer for life?