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How do we balance the need for success today against preparations for success to- morrow? This is the eternal question for manufacturing—and for all business, really.
I ran into this conflict on fulldisplay once a few years ago whiletouring a small auto-supplier. Theplant was doing great—stampingout parts as fast as their machineswould let them, three shifts, 24 hours a day. Forkliftssped through the aisles, sliding through turns to fillup their trucks and get every order on the road justas soon as they were boxed. The place was in demand, making money, and absolutely thriving. Onthat day, anyway.
The problem was tomorrow.
Around them, as workers scrambled to meet theirorders, operations were crumbling, and crumbling fast.Oil spills, debris, and rejects littered the floor; machineswere covered in grease and shavings; staff was burnedout and exhausted, jumping ship in great waves.
Plant managers felt they had no choice but tooperate like this. They’d landed giant orders thatmaxed out their capacity—any delay, any unnecessarymaintenance, any moment to stop and catch theirbreath put their contracts in jeopardy.
So, things went exactly as expected: the tightprocesses that made the plant great began to deteriorate; standards began to slip. All eyes were down,focusing on just one goal: to meet the day’s orderwith the quality and quantity it required. Then figureout tomorrow, tomorrow.
I’ve been thinking about this plant a lot lately,locked up here in COVID isolation. As we at NEDcover this industry and the businesses that surroundit, it seems like everyone has been forced into thissame position, at least to some degree. All of oureyes are down, focusing on making it through today’s work and today’s impossible demands, scrambling hard to cope with all these market and processchanges without much time to prepare for life after.
As we round the corner of this long ordeal, though,I’m starting to see signs of change. After the hardest(and strangest) year in memory, we’re heading towarda great period of recalibration. All of our companies,plants, and businesses need a moment to reset, toreexamine our processes and get them back intofocus, to schedule maintenance for our machinesand tools, to celebrate the work of our staff.
Along with this, I expect to see an equally greatperiod of retooling. If nothing else, this past yearhas revealed the holes and needs in our equipmentarsenal, while also wearing our trusted tools to nubs.In the coming months, I anticipate a terrific wave ofcapital spending unleashed across this market, filling those needs, replacing that worn equipment,and finally preparing for tomorrow’s success.
But first we need to fight on to a place where wecan finally lift our headsup from the day’s work,catch our breath, andstart recalibrating.
MORE ONLINE: nedinfo.com/80225-86
FOR A MEDIA KIT VISIT:
Retooling & RecalibrationDrill Delivers Easy Chip Removal
achieves precise hole diameters
The D4120 indexable insert drill combines superior performance, enhanced precision, and cost-ef-fectiveness. The drills feature hardened and polished flutesthat facilitate easychip removal andhigh process reliability. The drillbody featurestwo independent thru-coolant channels that leadto a strong steel core and results in superior holetolerances. The drills are ideal for difficult machiningoperations, such as cross holes, curved surface entry,and chain drilling.
Designed to replace forklifts in the warehouse,the Pallet Transport1500 is an AMR that supportscross-docking, returns, and case picking workflowsfor contactless pallet transport in distribution centers. The PalletTransport1500 uses Honeywell Intelligrated’s Momentum warehouse execution system software, known as Momentum WES, to safelymove pallets and other large payloads up to 2,504lb. As part of Honeywell’s Intelligrated’s turnkeyPallet Conveyance solution, the AMR is designedto support workflows for e-commerce fulfillment,store replenishment, and wholesale distributioncenter operations.
The PalletTransport1500 consists of the FetchFreight1500 AMR with an integrated lift and a pick-upand delivery station while conforming with ANSI/RIAR15.08 standard for autonomous mobile robots.When combined with Momentum WES, the Pal-letTransport1500 can manage long-haul materialtransport without any need for human involvement,freeing up workers for more value-added activities.By taking care of long-haul movements in the facility and keeping forklifts contained to inbound andoutbound docks, the Pallet Conveyance solutionreduces injuries and creates a safer, more efficientwarehouse environment overall.
Fetch Robotics, Inc.