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Morehouse 10 MN UCM 
Have you ever noticed a technician running around your facility asking, “Does anyone have a 5/32-inch Allen wrench?”  Well, if you are reading this and you are not in the United States, Liberia, or Burma, the 5/32-inch may not make much sense.  Didn’t the US Government pass something in 1988?  Oh yes, they passed the  Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act.  

So, the technician should really be asking, “Does anyone have a 3.5 mm Allen wrench?”   If this or a similar scenario happens at least twice a week, and it takes the technician 10 minutes to find the misplaced or appropriate tool, this would add up to 1,040 minutes per year.  1,040 minutes equates to 17.33 hours per year wasted on hunting down the right tool.  If your lab rate is around $60.00/hr, that’s over $1,000.00 that could be added to the bottom line.  The cost of most common tools and a magnetic strip is less than $50.00.  I think we invested about $35.00 in the tools pictured below.

Example of Point of Use "Common Tools"
If you notice the picture on the far left, you will see a common theme at Morehouse.  The theme is “point of use.”  We keep the most commonly used tools close to the machines where the technicians work.   We do this to reduce cycle time and because it simply makes sense.  

Please look for more Lean Manufacturing tips in our upcoming blogs

written by Henry Zumbrun

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Posted at, June 03, 2015 12:00:00