article by Michael Gilchrist, manufacturing engineer
are world wide, both commercial and military. The complexity of our
products and the diversity of our client base requires that we
produce many parts. Our database of part numbers is over 20,000 and
active part numbers range from 5,000 to 7,000 depending on open
orders. The sheer volume of parts makes it very challenging to plan
tooling resources. Tool and gage inventories consist of
approximately 110,000 unique items, which are stored in two cribs.
The total space of the two cribs is 9,700 square feet. One crib has
150 storage cabinets and racks, and the other has 80 storage
cabinets and racks. Our tool and gage cribs support the
manufacturing operation which is laid out over 234,000 square feet.
To get funding, we had to relate the savings to operating cost
reductions. It was then I discovered that I could track our
manufacturing costs per hour. At the time we were working up to
500,000 hours per year. I created a spread sheet with various
accounts that were used for new tool purchases and existing tool
reconditions to accumulate the cost over the previous year. I
quickly found that we were spending at an average of $3.34 per
manufacturing hour on these expenses. In order to justify the
system we had to bite the bullet and say that we would save 10% on
this cost. Thirty-three cents per hour doesn't sound like much, but
multiply it by 500,000 hours and you will get $165,000.
The selection of PC-TOOLCRIB as a system proved to be a good one.
The people in the cribs had little trouble adapting to the
software. I have been involved in many other software
applications. A common predicament noted by users is that they get
stuck somewhere in the menus and cannot find their way out. I never
received a call for this type of problem. As a user I've found that
some software applications are not structured logically. It is
obvious to me that much effort went into this software to present it
as a logical and progressive system.
We also have
implemented barcoding. Laser scanners were installed at each work
station to perform tool and gage issue, return, and calibration
functions. The use of barcoding extends from the individual tools
and gages to barcoded kit cards and reports. Another development
was a tool and gage kit pick-list report, with barcodes, that is
generated from the PC-TOOLCRIB software. The most important
attribute of barcoding is that the people really like to use this
technology, because of the ease of use it provides for entering data
(error free). Productivity skyrocketed when barcoding was
implemented in the cribs.
From the gage
tracking side, PC-TOOLCRIB is highly qualified. The system is fully
capable of controlling our calibrated items (gages), to
MIL-STD-45662A. We also use the PCT-GAGE function of PC-TOOLCRIB to
control the calibration and rework of many other items. These
capabilities are essential in our environment because of the way we
had established our original system. Our original system had taken
into consideration many needs, internal and external (our
customers). PC-TOOLCRIB was the best fit for our application
because of its flexibility in adapting to our already established
Operating costs were tracked from the inception of the Tool and Gage
Management System. Using the pre-PC-TOOLCRIB $3.34 cost per
production manhour as a baseline, we could graphically represent a
downward trend. The downward trend started at $3.34 per hour late
in the first year with the ending figure of $2.66 two years later.
The $2.66 figure is a total cost per hour for all of the last year.
Over a two and one‑half year period we reduced our tooling costs by
20%. It is important to remember that every dollar saved in tooling
goes directly to the bottom line, making our operation more