Maggie Benson's Journey: Report and Verify

Editor’s note: Indium Corporation’s Dr. Ronald C. Lasky continues this series of columns about Maggie Benson, a fictional character, to demonstrate continuous improvement and education in SMT assembly. 

Maggie and John were excited to visit Grandma and Grandpa Benson’s for dinner where they would be discussing how things had progressed at Benson Electronics (now Ivy Benson Electronics). Frank Emory, Chuck Tower, and Tanya Brooks were invited as well.

When they arrived, Grandma Benson invited them in, and the group sat at the dinner table. After Grandpa Benson said grace, he said, “Well, it’s clear you have made some terrific changes at BE. Frank, tell us what you, Chuck, and Tanya have done for my amazing granddaughter and her “okay” boyfriend to improve BE.”

Everyone chuckled, then Maggie said, “He’s my fiancé, Grandpa.”

Then, Frank said, “Well, we started by changing one solder paste that had poor response-to-pause, and it saved quite a chunk of money once we replaced it. Even though the new paste was a little more expensive, it saved us more than $100,000 per year with the increased uptime.”

“Wow, that is hard to believe,” Grandpa Benson exclaimed.

Frank came prepared and showed Grandpa Benson the ProfitPro calculations.

“Okay, Chuck, tell us some more,” Grandpa Benson implored.

“We measured uptime and I’m embarrassed to say it was only 15%, but by applying Lean principles, we reached 30%,” Chuck said. “Most importantly, we used feeder racks and minimized lost time due to ‘shopping’ for components. By communicating the importance of uptime with the team, they made improvements on their own as well.”

John couldn’t wait to speak, adding, “But what the team did for lunch was amazing.”

“My granddaughter’s okay boyfriend chimes in. Tell us more.” Grandpa Benson said.  

After a few more chuckles from all, John said, “The team worked out a way to avoid shutting the lines down over lunch. It brought uptime to 45%.”

“Maggie, I know you were really the driving force behind all of this, so you should say something,” Grandma Benson said.

“Well, it was a team effort, and Professor Patty Coleman was our coach, but we have neglected to say how important the people at both Benson and Ivy Benson were. After we shared the goals, they all chipped in. To recognize their efforts, we were able to increase salaries significantly. The productivity improvements and team efforts also increased morale,” Maggie elaborated.

 “I understand that some of the people were anxious when you took over,” Grandma Benson replied.

“The folks were nervous, but we put them at ease by announcing there would be no layoffs, and that we would actually be hiring,” Maggie said. “We also explained that we would be establishing training and education programs.”

“Don’t forget everyone also got a raise,” John added.

“John is right,” Maggie said. “We gave everyone a 10% raise the first day and several other raises as productivity increased.”

“All of those raises were kind of gutsy,” said Grandpa Benson.

“Yes, a little,” Maggie responded. “But I remember that when I was a little girl you told me, ‘Maggie, if you take care of the people, they will take care of you.’ You were right, as our profits have exploded.”

More pleasant conversation continued.

Meanwhile in the Ivy Benson Electronics breakroom…

Twenty-year-old Andy Connors and 19-year-old Sue March have become a little more than friends. Let’s look in on them in the breakroom at Ivy Benson Electronics (Figure 1).

“How’d you do on the SMT test Chuck Tower gave us?” Sue asked.

Lasky_April_Fig1_cap.jpg

“I used the wisdom of one of my friends who works up at Benson Electronics, ‘Better to not take the test and be thought a fool, than to take it and remove all doubt,’” Andy answered with a chuckle.

“Chuck told me I didn’t do too bad,” Sue said. “I was more than 10 points above the average, but I was so embarrassed that I didn’t know what SAC solder meant. I look at the jar of solder paste every day.”

“Wow, that was the only thing I knew: S = tin (from Sn), A = silver, (from Ag), C = copper, (from Cu),” Andy said. “But I looked at the rest of the test and I only knew a thing or two.”

“I was a bit of a goof-off in high school and now I see the importance of learning,” Sue responded. “It’s obvious that math and science are important, but it seems that writing and speaking are, too. Look at what a good speaker Maggie is, and she is clearly a mover and shaker. After thinking about it, I’m going to take advantage of all the education that Ivy Benson will support.”

“I’ll bet I was more of a goof-off than you were,” Andy told Sue. “But I hear what you are saying. After looking at Maggie, John, Frank, and some of the other bosses, I want to do better.”

Andy reached for her hand. “How about we discuss this more over some pizza after watching the new Spiderman movie tonight,” Andy teased.

“Okay, Romeo, but no PDA at work, okay?” Sue teased back.

Stay tuned to see how Andy and Sue’s plans for more education work out.

This column originally appeared in the April 2022 issue of SMT007 Magazine.

Download The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Solder Defects by Christopher Nash and Dr. Ronald C. Lasky. You can also view other titles in our full I-007e Book library here

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2022

Maggie Benson's Journey: Report and Verify

04-27-2022

Editor’s note: Indium Corporation’s Dr. Ronald C. Lasky continues this series of columns about Maggie Benson, a fictional character, to demonstrate continuous improvement and education in SMT assembly. In this episode, Maggie and John meet with her grandfather, who sold the company to Maggie, to talk about how it's going.

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Maggie Benson's Journey: A Tale of Two Perspectives

03-16-2022

Indium Corporation’s Ron Lasky continues this series of columns about Maggie Benson, a fictional character, to demonstrate continuous improvement and education in SMT assembly. In this installment, the new owners have improved the facility and improved morale, but previous owner Ned Price isn't sold on the changes, and has a lot to say about it.

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Maggie Benson's Journey: A Buying Strategy Primer

03-02-2022

Indium Corporation’s Ron Lasky continues this series of columns about Maggie Benson, a fictional character, to demonstrate continuous improvement and education in SMT assembly. The last column concluded with these questions: Will BE buy Ivy Electronics? What will the price be? What is in the action plan? What is 5S and the 8 Mudas?

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Maggie Benson’s Journey: Can a Dirty Factory Be Fixed?

01-12-2022

Indium Corporation’s Ron Lasky continues this series of columns about Maggie Benson, a fictional character, to demonstrate continuous improvement and education in SMT assembly. In this installment, Maggie and John, new owners of Benson Electronics, are speaking with Professor Patty Coleman about adding more lines through an acquisition of Ivy Electronics. So, why is Patty down on Ivy Electronics?

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2021

Maggie Benson's Journey: The Power of Pareto

12-15-2021

In this fictional account of Maggie Benson, Indium Corporation's Ronald C. Lasky explores continuous improvement themes. This month, after reviewing the company's success with improving uptime, he introduces the idea of a Pareto chart which shows the yield fallout by failure mode types.

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Maggie Benson's Journey: Taking a Team Approach

11-24-2021

Editor’s note: Indium Corporation’s Ron Lasky continues this series of columns about Maggie Benson, a fictional character, to demonstrate continuous improvement and education in SMT assembly. Maggie was working in her office, deep in concentration, when she was startled by the phone ringing. It was her mentor, Professor Patty Coleman from Ivy University. Maggie reached to answer the phone. “Hi Prof…,” Maggie started, “Patty.” “Well, Maggie, we still need a little work on you calling me Patty,” Patty said, chuckling. “I am calling to thank you again for taking my family to Mount Ascutney to view the Milky Way. Rob, our boys, and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t consider that the new moon might be the best time for viewing. It was also neat to see Venus. I was unaware that Venus is in the Western sky after sundown because it is closer to the sun than the earth.”

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Maggie Benson's Journey: The Law of Exponential Profits

10-27-2021

Ronald Lasky continues his series on continuous improvement through this series with fictional character Maggie Benson. Here, he explains that with increased productivity, each unit produced is cheaper to make and you have more of them, so profits increase exponentially.

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Maggie Benson's Journey: Making Progress on Uptime

09-15-2021

As the story continues, Maggie meets with Professor Patty Coleman, and finds something new to chat about. Back at Benson Electronics, the team is meeting about uptime on the line. What's new there?

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Maggie Benson's Journey: What is Your Uptime?

08-11-2021

In this fictional account meant to discuss continuous improvement methods, character Maggie Benson reviews the urgency of improving uptime on the lines with one of her employees.

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Maggie Benson's Journey: SMT Process Optimization

07-12-2021

In this fictional account, Maggie Benson's time on the golf course with her professor leads to important improvements at the factory.

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Maggie Benson's Journey: Part 2—Making the Announcement

06-03-2021

In Part 2 of Dr. Ronald Lasky's fictional account of Maggie Benson, Benson Electronics learns of the change in ownership, while Maggie and John evaluate making some changes.

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Maggie Benson’s Journey: Setting the Stage for Continuous Improvement

05-05-2021

Indium Corporation’s Ronald C. Lasky has launched this series of columns about Maggie Benson, a fictional character, to demonstrate continuous improvement and education in SMT assembly.)

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