45. Avoid buying a new machine

CNC: How a machine monitoring system reduces investment in new machines

Increasing capacity – buy a machine or reduce downtime on existing machines ?

Tough decision for a CEO !

Increasing CNC machining capacity

Downtime on the shop floor can be up to 30 % because of poor work ethics and system problems (see this earlier post of mine).

If I have 10 machines on my shop floor and I want to increase machining capacity by 10 %, I have two options:

Option 1: Buy another machine.

Option 2: Reduce downtime by 10 %.

Option 1 is quick, painless, does not involve disrupting my current inefficient way of working. I can buy a new machine in a couple of days.

Option 2 is costs a fraction of Option 1, but is painful – involves changing work culture and improving systems.

Most organizations prefer Option 1, which increases costs and reduces profitability, but is painless. Option 2 involves putting in a productivity monitoring system that tracks your machines’ production and downtime electronically, automatically, 24/7.

Let’s say you have 10 machines costing a total of Rs. 2.5 Crore. A new machine will cost you Rs. 25 Lakhs, while a basic monitoring system will cost you Rs. 7 Lakhs. The monitoring system can typically increase your machine uptime by up to 10 % in one month, and 25 % in 6 months. Which means you can, pessimistically, recover your investment in the system in approx. 6 months.

Action point

The next time you have a capacity constraint and want to buy a new machine, instead install a machine monitoring system like LEANworx machine monitoring software to increase capacity. Or install a monitoring system right away and dispose of some of your existing machines.


Doggie moving up in life

I stayed in a hotel near Connaught Place in Delhi recently, for a week. While on an early morning jog (trying to shed the kilos that I was acquiring at the huge breakfast buffet spread every morning – part of the hotel’s package deal), I saw this dog sleeping on top of a parked car.

Two questions arose in my mind:

1. How in hell did the guy get on top there, negotiating the slippery metal and glass ?

2. Wasn’t he uncomfortable on the hard and possibly cold metal ?

I still haven’t figured out the answer to the first question.

As for the second one, it was a warm and humid monsoon morning, and the metal was probably nice and cool compared to the ground.

And now I’m wondering whether he (being a city slicker dog) will at some point in his life think “I’m tired of sleeping on these mid-range cars. It’s time I moved up in life. Should look for a Benz or a BMW to sleep on tonight, so I can impress the babes”. He’s actually moved up in life, literally, from sleeping on the footpath to sleeping on a car.

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