The president of a Midwestern job shop contacted us after attending a trade convention. He had a discussion with an East Coast competitor who mentioned the effectiveness of a Gainsharing Plan had designed for him many years ago. The president called us in. He faced the need to increase throughput to stay competitive. His shop specialized in machining precision parts from castings and forgings for use by OEMs in the agricultural and construction industries. Purchases of Ag equipment were burgeoning due to high wheat, corn, soybean prices, just as heavy construction and mining equipment was in great demand because of high commodity prices. The problem was motivating employees to improve productivity, and thus throughput, by reducing set-up time so they could spend more of their time “cutting chips”.
We used an employee/management committee to develop the Gainsharing Plan. The key to better productivity was cutting set-up time during the many set-ups needed to make the wide variety of parts they machined and the ideas the committee generated were instrumental in making this happen.