Vision of the Shop Of the Future- Jim Henderson

September 12, 2013

August 14th we published a post that asked the question-“What does the precision machining shop of the future look like?”

We also posted the link to several relevant groups on LinkedIn.

Jim Henderson, Continuous Improvement Consultant at Kalman Manufacturing replied to the discussion  on the American Machinist Metalworking Group on LinkedIn.

We think that you will appreciate his vision of our future. and perhaps find some actionable ideas in his post.

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His vision reframes the question to “What do the employees in our future precision machining shops look like?”

His vision of the shop of the future is not at all staffed like ours are today…

Here is Jim Henderson’s  reply:

“Interesting discussion. I see the successful shops of the future as being highly automated. Lots of multi-axis lathe/mill and FMS.

My vision of the employees of the future may not be in line with others. In fact it may infuriate some.

I see highly educated, as in engineers with B.S. degrees in industrial, mechanical engineering and other related disciplines. Quality engineers adding value through process validation and contributing to manufacturing process development, not trying to inspect quality into the parts. A collaborative relationship with all. These college graduate engineers will be the value add in the shop of the future.

The advanced equipment of the present and future requires highly educated programmers to optimize it’s utilization. They do need the talent/experience of the long term machinists for advice!!

Fortunately on the other end of the spectrum there will be a need for operators and support personnel.

The $$ generated per employee will rise considerable due to the throughput of the equipment. Thus resulting in less employees overall.

The best news is, from my experience, if a shop uses best practices in all areas of it’s business there is such a demand in the U.S. that those shops can be highly profitable. Therefore they can provide a very handsome benefit package to their employees. This can result in attracting good recruits and high employee retention. For those shop owners and employees that are willing to step up and play the game with this formula, manufacturing in the U.S. can have a true renaissance.

For those that want to continue arguing about who is to blame and why there should be more government funding for training etc. the future is indeed bleak.

We all need to get together and right the ship for our collective success.”

There you have it. A positive view of our future shops through the lens of what our future workforce might look like.

Are you actively working on workforce issues for your shop’s future?

You can bet Jim Henderson’s shop is…


What Does The Precision Machining Shop Of The Future Look Like?

August 14, 2013

What will our shops look like in 2020?

2020 is only 7 years away.

I think that it is going to be a lot different than just the “More Automation” trend we’ve been seeing for the last few years.

Over the last eight years, our shops have been adding automation to better compete against low labor cost manufacturing abroad and to improve shop capability.

I know, because at the end of 2003, we took a mission to China to see how we could better compete with the emerging dragon that was Chinese manufacturing.

What do the next 8 years hold in store for us? What will be the forces at work to reshape our shop as we know it?

Have a look at these two graphs from BLS:

This tells me something important-almost three quarters of all employees will be over 55!

…and this is how we get there…

Not looking so good for adding younger talent according to these charts.

The projected labor force growth over the next 10 years will be affected by the aging of the baby-boom generation; as a result, the labor force is projected to grow at a slower rate than in the last several decades

Here’s my  (tongue in cheek) artist’s conception of the shop of the future.

Two old supermachinists wired in to operate 18 machines via remote CNC

I hope you have a better vision than mine!

BLS Graphs

What is your vision for the shop of the future? 25 words or less please for Round 1. Thoughtful, shocking, and compelling visions will be considered for  an expanded treatment in a future post. Post your comment below.