By Anthony Romero (Sales and Applications Engineering Mgr.)
Improving the Deep Draw Stamping Process
Gemba is a Japanese term meaning the “real or actual place.” As a preferred deep draw metal stamping company that values efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction, Prospect Machine Products (PMP) uses this approach of focusing on the real issues that are impacting the company’s day-to-day operations to promote excellence in the workplace. It is a daily opportunity for PMP leadership to gain valuable insight into the manufacturing process and to identify what ISO 9001:2015 refers to as “opportunities for improvement” (OFIs).
These Gemba meetings take place first thing every morning. Team members gather in front of a whiteboard used as a visual management tool. This board contains information about current production planning, machine running status, work prioritization, and individual assignments.
Key decision makers including the president, quality, purchasing/production planning, manufacturing engineering, and sales managers use this time to connect with production personnel. This level of involvement from managers and executives is something that differentiates PMP from other deep draw stamping providers. The collaborative atmosphere of the Gemba meetings promotes an open dialogue focused on process optimization and how management can support employees by understanding their challenges. There are also meetings between engineering and deep draw tool makers to solve any issues reported by the operators.
Gemba Benefits in a Deep Draw Stamping Environment
The Gemba approach provides a wide range of advantages in deep draw stamping applications and projects.
It ensures that PMP team members:
- Allocate resources properly based on job complexity and priority
- Quickly pivot and re-allocate resources on shifting production requirements
- Review production planning on a daily basis and adjust as needed
- Understand machine load through clear visual depictions on the whiteboard
- Solve problems and optimize processes using direct input from front-line personnel
- Shift resources as needed to ensure on-time delivery (OTD)
- Order raw materials in a timely manner based on daily production planning
- Maintain open communication with external stakeholders from the earliest stages of a project through production completion
- Keep high first-pass yield ratios
- Promote innovation changing what we currently do to what we should do based on the customer needs.
Ultimately, the Gemba meeting practice has a direct and positive impact on OTD, product quality, competitive pricing, and customer satisfaction. Plus, it is a strong indicator that PMP values employee input and engagement, and takes action to ensure that employees throughout the company have a voice in how we help customers meet their deep draw stamping goals.