Job Shop

About Job Shop Manufacturers

A job shop is a type of manufacturing environment where production is focused on making specific, often custom products one customer at a time.

These types of manufacturers fit in the “high-mix, low-volume” category. Each unit produced is created according to precise customer specifications, resulting in highly specialized and customized products.

Examples of Job Shop Manufacturers:

  • Machine tool shops
  • Machining centers
  • Commercial printing shops
  • Painting shops

The Challenge

Manufacturers operating in a job shop type of machining environment have a wide variety of products with no real pattern as to when, or in what order things come through the shop. This makes the day-to-day operations very different and often unpredictable.

However, due to the unpredictability of daily operations in a job shop, it is challenging for these manufacturers to establish a baseline; and by extension, to  determine what an efficient production rate is.

The Solution

With the experience we have gained working with job shop companies, we have found that a combination of the following key metrics is most effective for the job shop:

  • Machine utilization (% of time the machine is adding value)
  • Total number of set-ups
  • Average set-up time
  • Total of all other time (when the machine is not adding value or being set up for a job)

These 4 metrics combined provides:

  • Operators with an indication of overall productivity
  • Management with more accurate insights into machine utilization & capacity

The Outcome

By leveraging the previously mentioned metrics, job shop manufacturers can:

  • Reduce average set up times – because what gets measured gets improved.
  • Increase scheduling efficiency by aggregating small non-productive periods to create a larger block of availability.
  • Improve Continuous Improvement using collected status codes.
  • Use empirical data to justify equipment investments.

One job shop reduced their average set-up time by 50%. Half of this was achieved by being objective focused, and half by making small investments in equipment as well as altering scheduling priorities.

Another shop was able to aggregate non-productive time on non-bottleneck operations, freeing up capacity and directly benefiting the bottom line.

Key Metrics for Job Shops

Machine Utilization

Total Number of Setups

Average Setup Time