Advanced Precision Machining and Fabrication Ltd. is a Dartmouth, Nova Scotia-based manufacturer of high quality, military grade machined components. The company serves a range of Canadian and US clients in military, aerospace, ocean science, and oil and gas quality machined components on the forefront of machining technology. An ISO registered company, Advanced Precision employs computer assisted design equipment as well as highly flexible speed machining equipment allowing production employees to reduce costs and order lead-times by bypassing multiple setups, handling costs and defective parts.
This case study evaluates a training program, Process Improvement through Problem Solving, developed by Advanced Precision in 2013 in response to identified shortcomings in its workforce's capabilities. In particular, the company's leadership recognized the critical importance of enhancing workforce skill levels in order to remain competitive globally and to meet the increasing demands of new technologies—complexity, quality, flexibility, and efficiency.
The ten-week, 40-hour course focussed on thinking and problem solving skills. Participants explored and practiced the use of four widely-used problem solving tools—Brainstorming, Fishbone Diagram, the 5 'Whys', and Flow Charts. The goal was to address areas identified for improvement—communication between departments and people; atmosphere and motivation; training and ongoing development of people; and scheduling and troubleshooting strategies.