Finding Your ‘Herbie’

“Your chipshooter is “the Herbie” in your process…, ” The Professor continued.

“That’s it!” a confident voice boomed from the back of the room.

“Who’s that?” Patty asked Rob.

“That’s Chris Conrad, our general manger. He’s a pretty sharp guy.”

Chris continued, “I remember “Herbie” from reading The Goal when I was at Tuck in the 1980s. Herbie was a chubby boy scout, during a hike, he held up all of the scout troop because he was loaded down carrying all of the soda. Finally the scouts realized that they had to help Herbie to make good time in the hike.   My professor assigned us problems to find where there is a constraint in a process. He even called it, ‘Finding the Herbie in the process’.”

“You don’t mean to tell me you’re  gonna take work off them chipshooters are ya?” Charlie impatiently inquired?

“No, the chipshooters will be working just as hard,” The Professor calmly replied.

“How can this be?”asked Charlie in disbelief.

“I made some calculations,” responded The Professor.  “In them, I estimate that if you move passives from the chipshooter to the flexible placer, both machines will have a cycle time of about 73 seconds. Your productivity will increase by about 10%. The chipshooter will be working full time, but the flexible placer will not be waiting for it.”

“Wow,” chimed in Chris, “Our CFO, Tom Stevens, will be thrilled … as am I.”

“Your increase in profit may actually be more than 15 percent,” The Professor added.

The Professor went on, “My calculations were only estimates,  Patty knows how to balance a line.  Give her the exact metrics and she can calculate the actual minimum cycle time. Patty, can you do this?”

“Sure thing Professor,” responded Patty.

Patty and the AJAX team, led by Rob, went off to perform some calculations. Stay tuned to see the results and how they got them.


Dr. Ron

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About Dr. Ron

Materials expert Dr. Ron Lasky is a professor of engineering and senior lecturer at Dartmouth, and senior technologist at Indium Corp. He has a Ph.D. in materials science from Cornell University, and is a prolific author and lecturer, having published more than 40 papers. He received the SMTA Founders Award in 2003.