3 Characteristics of Great Machine Shop Scheduling Firms

    Jake Hostetler
    June 14, 2017

    What makes some machine shops great and others just average?

    The question is not new but constantly asked.

    When it comes to machine shops and small job shops, the landscape is one of constant change. Still, certain characteristics often reoccur across successful shops and start to solidify themselves as the foundational cornerstones for ongoing success.This post seeks to identify these cornerstones and articulate them insofar as to scratch the surface in terms of what they mean to ongoing growth and longevity.


    1. Punctuality

    close up of an office clock on white background with clipping path.jpegIt's the essence of efficiency in machine shop scheduling. A punctual firm will be successful, a firm consistently delivering late will not be a firm very long. This is especially true for machine shops as they are often responsible for delivering custom parts into a larger scale manufacturing process. Machine shops fill the role as a valuable link in an ongoing value-chain and if they (the machine shop) are late, all subsequent steps within this value chain run danger of being late as well. An action which bears the consequence of slowing down the entire value-chain and reducing the overall capitalization. 

    In a world of ever increasing expectations and efficiencies the need to meet deadlines has swiftly become a strong differentiator between winners and losers.

    2. Agility

    Many factors can fit under the blanket of agility but chiefly this means the ability to react in a way which maximizes utilization (of resources and materials) while maintaining punctuality. Your manufacturing processes and scheduling should grant the flexibility for agile working and the ability for your planning team to take action in an effective way including the ability to react to unplanned or unforeseen events.

    3. Quality

    While punctuality and agility are hugely important to success, perhaps the truest determiner of a firm's longevity is quality. This is partially the combination of the first two points and partially something more.

    Quality means being punctual and agile but above all it means consistently delivering a good customer experience.

    Raising the LevelImage of human hands holding plant shaped like arrow.jpeg

    While punctuality and agility are clear and measurable, quality can be a bit more abstract.

    To make it clear let's define quality here as creating a good customer experience. In essence, it means embedding yourself as a positive emotion in the minds of your customers.

    The famous American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou once said,

    “People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

    These words are powerful and steeped in truth, even for your customers. For the fact of the matter is that until AI (artificial intelligence) takes over the world, we are still a world of Homo sapiens controlled more by our subjective emotions than our objective observations.

    So, what is the goal?

    The goal is to achieve and strive for these three characteristics in the actions you as a company take.

    • Punctuality shows that you care about your customers.
    • Agility shows that you are intelligent about the internal workings of your business.
    • Quality combines the aforementioned with a uniquely human aspect which leaves a good taste in your customer’s mouths after they are done working with you. This good taste, this feeling, is what Maya referred to and it’s the one thing that will not fade.

    How Do You Get There?

    So, how do you intend to integrate these characteristics into your business?

    Chances are you have the people you need to create a quality experience for your customers but not the internal infrastructure to manage punctuality along with agility.

    A flexible and visual schedule will help you. Consider all of your data, delivery times, resource utilization, bottle necked jobs, etc. all displayed in one graphical web-based entity.

    With that kind of transparency literally at your fingertips, punctuality and agility immediately begin to take care of themselves and the remaining factor, the guiding light of quality of customer experience, can be further concentrated on and maximized for growth.

    Prove it to yourself by taking five minutes and clicking on the below. It’s a risk-free, no cost trial that will show you exactly what a visual schedule of your machine shop will look like.

    Create your free account now >

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