Fix What Isn’t Broken
Just because the engineers and programmers have found a good way to manufacture parts does not mean that there may not be an even better way to do it. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is an antiquated idea that costs many shops big dollars. There can be gold in refining manufacturing processes that were good enough just a couple years ago but that can be greatly improved based on current CAM capabilities. A number of shops have realized the enormity of this opportunity and have made some of their staff process improvement specialists whose primary job is to develop ultra-efficient processes both for existing programs as well as new work that is being quoted. One shop that has adopted this process has realized productivity improvements up to 30% for manufacturing processes revisited in this manner.
Some manufacturers, particularly in the aerospace and medical markets, are reluctant to improve their processes in this manner because of the “red tape” involved in requesting and certifying new procedures. However, their OEM customers with understandably strict process certification requirements are also looking to their vendors to reduce costs every year. Process improvements generated via advanced CAM strategies are one of the best ways to satisfy these expectations.