<img style="float: right;" src="https:\/\/opedge.com\/Content\/OldArticles\/images\/2002-12_03\/mattson_greg.jpg" hspace="4" vspace="4" \/>\r\n\r\n<i>Welcome to the second installment in this\r\nseries of articles presenting real-world solutions to production\r\nproblems in the O&P fabrication lab. As insurance\r\nreimbursements shrink and the cost of doing business grows, it's\r\nhard to ignore the potential profits hiding in simple ways of\r\nfixing production issues.<\/i>\r\n\r\nThe overall focus is on implementation of "lean manufacturing"\r\nzero defects, completing one job at a time, and just-in-time\r\ninventory. Efficient lab organization is one avenue to this\r\ngoal.\r\n<h2>Now, let's get the garbage out!<\/h2>\r\nHow many of you have odds and ends stashed in boxes throughout\r\nthe fabrication shop? Dirt and grime jammed into all corners?\r\nFabrication benches with almost the entire surface covered? Even\r\nthe cleanest companies have issues with clutter. There will always\r\nbe clutter. What's important is how you manage it.\r\n\r\nExamples of classic time and money wasters include: Searching\r\nfor parts, tools and materials; walking to get parts, tools and\r\nmaterials; moving items to reach parts, tools, and materials;\r\ndouble handling of parts; and the loss of productive space.\r\n\r\nWhen you think of cleaning the fabrication lab, you get an image\r\nof all the clutter and old stuff that needs to be thrown away. But\r\nmost people are missing the big picture. Getting rid of the garbage\r\nsaves a company in many ways, but the main benefit is savings in\r\nexcess motion.\r\n<h2>Is That Space Making Money?<\/h2>\r\nHave you ever considered the square footage of the company you\r\nwork for? How much does each square foot cost the company? How much\r\nprofit is generated in each square foot? How many square feet are\r\nnot generating profit? Simply put, if you have a lot of square\r\nfootage dedicated to clutter storage, it's costing the company\r\nmoney. The space has nothing to do with generating money. It has\r\nbecome an expensive storage place.\r\n\r\nHere is a prime example of a common problem that creates excess\r\nmotion and loss of productive spacestoring old parts. We do this\r\nwith good intentions. We may have a patient come in who needs a\r\nfast repair, or we just don't want to throw out a good part.\r\n\r\nIn my shop, we did a simple study. We tracked the problem and\r\ncame up with some interesting conclusions. First of all, most of\r\nthe "good old parts" we were saving were not in our inventory\r\nsystem. One employee knew we had a certain needed part, but others\r\ndid not. The result was that we reordered the part, rather than\r\nusing the one that we had. Second, since we knew we had the "good\r\nold parts" somewhere, we scheduled a patient who needed one of the\r\nparts to repair a broken brace. Problem solved, right? No. The\r\nparts were missing a needed center screw. Now we made our company\r\nlook bad and provided poor service to our patient. The box of "good\r\nold parts" also took up space that could be better used for\r\nfabrication.\r\n\r\nLet's examine the results. The saving of old parts resulted in\r\nextra motion, the loss of productive space associated with the\r\nstorage of the parts, loss of money spent on a new part, plus time\r\nwasted by the technician and patient. Most of the parts we were\r\nsaving were not expensive, and were therefore costing the company\r\nmany times their value in associated waste.\r\n\r\nTake some time and look around the fabrication lab you work in.\r\nIs space that can be used for profitable purposes used for storing\r\nwaste? How you get rid of waste is up to you and your company. I\r\nrecommend purchasing a book on the 5-S system (sort, straighten,\r\nscrub, systemize, standardize) for those of you who want a detailed\r\nsystem for getting rid of waste.\r\n\r\nIn the next article, we will tackle workplace standardization\r\nprocessesyet another important boon to helping your company produce\r\nimproved profit and cost savings, more production with less effort,\r\nbetter patient care, and greater employee teamwork!