Category Archive: News & Info

Saving Money on Your Metal Stamped Parts – The Physical

In the realm of manufacturing, as with any business venture, keeping costs low is always a top priority for any project. When clients come to us with prints or parts, one of the major concerns that they have is whether or not they are getting the most cost effective outcome.

In this two-part blog series, “Saving Money on Your Metal Stamped Parts”, we’ll cover some of the major ways that money can be saved on metal stamping projects. For the first installment, we’ll cover some of the physical changes you can make to bring costs down.


metal stamping image-1.png

The metal chosen for your stamping project plays a considerable role in the overall costs. It is possible that the material you are planning to use (or have been using) may not be the most cost-effective metal for your part.

It is important to interface with your metal stamping provider to review the potential material options (or alternatives) for the project. Each metal type offers different advantages in terms of formability, machinability, and tensile strength; your stamping provider should be able to determine the pro/cons of each type for your particular project, and present the most economical option.

Some metals, such as aluminum or magnesium, have a tendency to carry higher upfront costs. But they can prove to be the more cost effective option when considering the longevity of your parts.  In other scenarios, the cheaper metal may be the best solution; it all depends on the project requirements.

One of the most common swaps that we see are swaps within the steel family. Manor Tool has often been able to introduce High-Strength, Low-Alloy steel into a job due to the fact that it possesses high corrosion resistance and similar material properties to spring steel, while being offered at lower cost.

When bringing your print to your metal stamping provider, make sure to note:

  • Any changes in part requirements
  • Any areas that are not set in stone, to allow for potential design modifications.


Another aspect to consider when working with your metal stamping provider is the tooling requirements of your part. Small changes to your tooling can have a huge impact on both costs and production time.

Manor Tool encourages you to find a stamper that has the capability to provide a finite element analysis. A major portion of the finite element analysis is the determination of whether or not different tooling or additional tooling would make a significant impact on your overall part costs down the line.

In a realm where time is money, the Finite Element Analysis also helps you save money by reducing the timeline of your tooling design cycle. The virtual design simulations can be run in a few hours, meaning you are freed from the machine shop/manufacturing schedules that hard-copy tests are tied to.


It’s important to keep an eye on the increase of production volume. As production of your metal stamped parts increases, there may be a time where the job transitions from being a “low volume” or “short run” job to being a “high volume” production.   Having a high volume production run opens up the opportunity to revisit your original prototype, and rework the design for cost saving opportinities.

It’s hugely important to find a metal stamping provider that has the capability to take a job from prototype to production, as they will inherently have the ability to help reduce your costs in-house.  As an example, Manor Tool has the internal ability to build hard tooling/progressive dies. As quantities increase from the short run (low volume) process, those progressive dies can bring down the piece-part price significantly, with the investment in a nominal hard tooling cost. 

Be sure to check back soon for the second installment of “Saving Money on Your Metal Stamped Parts”. The next blog will focus on some of “The Mental” adjustments you can make to save money on your parts.

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In the meantime, please feel free to download our full resource on your money saving options:


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Kaizen Events for Process Improvement in Manufacturing

The global business environment for manufacturers has never been more competitive. As the axiom goes, a company’s performance relative to its rivals is either getting better or its getting worse — it never stays the same. However, while manufacturing executives are aware that they need to constantly improve their firm’s processes, actually quantifying that improvement is difficult, and figuring out a way to systematically improve company performance on a continuous basis is even more so.

how to use kaizen

In the late 1980s, several multi-national manufacturing corporations trying to identify a method to continuously improve company processes came up with the “Kaizen Event.” A regularly scheduled gathering of employees from all areas of a firm, Kaizen Events are designed to focus that collective experience on any number of individual challenges.

At Manor, Kaizen events are cohesively linked with our safety program, and we’ve learned how to use them to target improvements in safety and efficiency in a wide variety of company environments. With a focused application, we believe Kaizen Events have the potential to benefit not only manufacturing firms, but also firms in banking, government, healthcare and many other industries.

Kaizen Events can be powerful tools to make improvement a continuous and structured effort. What follows is a brief introduction to Kaizen Events and how Manor has incorporated the concept into our ongoing operations. We hope you’ll find it a helpful introduction to implementing Kaizen Events that can be easily tailored to your business.

How to Use Kaizen Events to Optimize Manufacturing

What is a “Kaizen Event” Exactly?

“Kaizen” is a Japanese term meaning “improvement” or “improving one’s self for the benefit of the whole.” The concept grew out of a wider movement to tackle the critical but elusive task of continuously improving manufacturing processes — this as opposed to just doing things as they’ve always been done and only introducing occasional improvements piecemeal without an overarching plan. But how do you create a set of protocols that allow you to apply an actionable framework to that improvement? How do you make it not only efficient, but enforce a schedule on it and make it reproducible?

Motorola spearheaded the effort to systematically address these challenges with the so-called “Six Sigma” approach. The term is borrowed from manufacturing — a “sigma rating” indicates the percentage of products produced that are free from defects. A “six sigma” process is one in which more than 99.99% of products are defect free.

Kaizen Events are part of this approach to reduce inefficiencies and increase the quality not only of products, but also the processes that create them. In theory, the concept behind Kaizen Events is simple:

  • During a period of 3-5 days, employees from a cross section of departments meet in one place to discuss the process at hand. The participants are all stakeholders in that process, and are usually derived from all areas of the company, from management to administration. The idea is to bring the greatest breadth and depth of knowledge and experience into the discussion.
  • The group observes the process. This can either be in the form of a demonstration or, if it’s more practical, the creation of flowchart of the steps involved.
  • Once the participants understand the process, they make suggestions to improve it.
  • Finally, the group discusses options, during which suggestions are either implemented or discarded, until all participants can get behind the new approach.

The primary attributes of Kaizen Events are their efficiency and their focus. They gather the decision-makers and the people actually involved in the process in one place at one time. A particular strength of Kaizen Events is that they get everyone’s buy-in so that thoughtful, effective solutions can be implemented quickly. Companies can make rapid improvements, particularly with a process that isn’t running particularly efficiently.

How Manor Implements Kaizen Events

Typically, a Manor general manager will spearhead a Kaizen Event, along with a team leader. Also included will be 4-5 employees from virtually any department (punch press, tool room, sales, administration, etc.) to provide a diverse and unbiased observation group. The team assembles in the area where the process to be evaluated takes place, such as a machine operation or particular manufacturing process. However, these events don’t just consider manufacturing or machine processes. They can extend to all aspects of the company, including shipping and receiving, inventory management, engineering, and sales.

The team observes the full process. On the manufacturing side, Kaizen events are most often concentrated on safety and efficiency. Some things that team members might consider:

  • Do they notice something unusual that the operator who works in that area every day might have long since gotten used to?
  • Is the operator performing tasks that appear to be unsafe, and could they be done in a safer way?
  • Is the movement of the operator efficient and ergonomic, i.e., is there too much bending and lifting involved?
  • Are the parts or tools needed for the process inefficiently located?

After observing the process, the team meets to discuss each group member’s observations and decide on any action items that could be implemented. The current process is documented, issues or problems are defined, and possible changes are discussed. Suggestions may encompass changes in a work area to improve ergonomics, safety, efficiency, work flow, etc. Any approved changes are implemented, and a follow up of the process is scheduled to evaluate the results.

Examples of Kaizen Event Success Stories at Manor

Kaizen Events sound good in theory, but the proof of their effectiveness is in the improvements Manor has enjoyed since implementing them. Here are just a few examples:

Increasing Productivity:

A customer part required a soft edge around their product. After the part was made, the operator would deburr the edge using a wire wheel. The process was done by hand, always pushing the part upward on the wheel, and it was noted that productivity dropped off at end of day due to operator fatigue. This same part also required countersinking, which was being done by another operator, and again, productivity decreased as the day wore on. After the Kaizen Event took place, the cell on the production floor was redesigned to accommodate several changes to the process:

  • After the part came off the punch press, the parts were placed on a flat steel skid, two on each skid.
  • The skid then was slid (not picked up and carried) over to a drill press in same cell where the part was fanned with a fanning magnet, and both parts were countersunk at the same time.
  • Following countersinking, the edges of the parts were deburred using a wire wheel.
  • Parts would then be boxed and packaged within the cell and ready for shipping.

As a result of the Kaizen Event, this process now utilized one operator instead of two, provided a break between the wire wheel process to reduce fatigue, all resulting in heightened productivity and a safer process.

Enhancing Ergonomics:

  • It was observed that operators were often bending over and down to retrieve parts from boxes in their cells. A Kaizen Event suggested elevating boxes to a height that did not require repeated bending and lifting.
  • Wheels were added to an aluminum riser that carried parts from process to process or machine to machine, eliminating the bending, lifting, and carrying of items to different stations.
  • Machine presses or work cells requiring similar processes or parts/tooling were rearranged to be adjacent rather than constantly moving items from place to place.

Workspace Organizational Improvements:

In some work areas, Kaizen Events led to the application of a “5S” approach — another work area organizing system with Japanese origins. Loosely translated, the 5S methodology involves Sorting, Systemization, Shining (maintaining a clean, streamlined work area), Standardizing and Sustainability. These principles provided a blueprint for getting all work areas operating as efficiently and distraction-free as possible.

In our experience, Kaizen Events have led to changes that not only improved safety, but also enhanced productivity and even increased revenue.

Barriers to Implementing Kaizen Events

Although Kaizen Events have proven their ability to increase efficiency, boost productivity and provide a program that enables continuous improvement of production processes, many companies are still reluctant to implement them. One primary reason is the perception that such events take employees away from their “main jobs” for up to five days at a time. While this concern is understandable, we’ve found it to be a short-sighted view. In fact, in our experience, proper application of Kaizen Events has led to better performance in employees “main jobs” allowing them to place more focus on quality rather then process. The events help employees identify ways to spend the majority of time in their primary roles more efficiently, rather than having to frequently “put out fires” and attempt to manage systemic problems with quick fixes over and over again.

Another potential drawback is that companies don’t fully embrace the concept. Rather than committing a meaningful number of people for a meaningful period of time, some firms will instead commit a couple of people for an insufficient amount of time. The result is fewer suggestions for improvement, and a perception on the part of employees that decision makers view the effort as unimportant.

And of course, Kaizen Events are not a cure all. There are some instances when another approach is preferable. For instance, if a resolving a problem requires evaluating sets of data over an extended period of time — statistical analysis or variations in long-term experimental results, for example — a carefully selected team of experts that meets regularly will likely be a better choice than a one-time meeting of disparate individuals. Kaizen Events are much better suited to regularly reevaluating existing methods and processes. After all, continuous improvement is the point.

Creating an Effective Kaizen Event

To be effective, Kaizen Events must be championed by management and enjoy the full participation of a variety of employees. During the course of the event, employees on Kaizen Event teams must:

  1. Undergo a brief training period that will allow them to grasp the process more fully
  2. Go into the event with precisely defined goals, outlined in steps 3-5
  3. Acquire a full understanding of the current approach to the process
  4. Be encouraged to think “outside the box”
  5. Develop a plan to follow up on improvements and assess their effectiveness

Of all the steps listed above, #4 is perhaps the most critical and the toughest to establish. Employees must believe that any ideas they may come up with to address problems — even if those ideas may seem unconventional — are important and valued. They must also be assured that any improvements they suggest won’t put them or other employees out of a job. Any successes should be highlighted and shared within the company so that everyone can appreciate and understand the value of Kaizen Events — not only those that have been held, but those in which employees may be asked to participate in the future.

Most importantly, effective Kaizen Events require and foster respect. They show that each area of a company has something important to contribute, that each person in the company is an important part of the team, and that each individual is willing and able to improve the experience of everyone else who works there.

The Real Power of Kaizen Events: Your People

Kaizen Events offer companies several benefits, not the least of which is a time-tested, proven method to address a difficult problem: how to continuously improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a company’s ongoing operation. But we don’t regard that as their chief benefit. At Manor, we’ve always believed the real strength of our company is the people who work here. Most have been with us for more than a decade, and in that time they’ve accrued vast amounts of knowledge, experience and problem-solving skill — qualities that go far beyond the limited concept of “value.” The real power of Kaizen Events is their ability to help us tap into that knowledge and experience in ways that benefit the company as a whole.

It’s a power that we believe any company, using the power of Kaizen Events, can tap into.

How to Use Kaizen Events to Optimize Manufacturing

3 Benefits of Using Advanced Servo Technology

Thirty years ago, Manor Tool’s second-generation owner and president, Tom Simeone, was faced with a life-altering decision. A recent engineering graduate from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, he had two potential paths ahead of him. One was to further his education, and pursue a Doctorate degree at the University of Illinois. The second was to join his father and Ken Galerno at Manor Tool – the family business his father founded in 1959.

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Manor Tool: Trusted Name for Over Half a Century

History of Manor Tool

On February 19, 1924, Lee Simeone was born in Chicago. Around the time of the United States’ entry into World War II, a young Simeone enlisted into the Marine Corps; he was honorably discharged at the end of the war in 1945. Manor Tool

Returning home to Chicago, the 21-year-old Simeone found work in the industrial sector, learning the art of making tools and dies. Simeone continued to make tools and dies for a number of companies in the Chicagoland area, improving his skills everywhere he went, for 14 years.

Then, in 1959, the now 35-year-old Simeone founded Manor Tool & Manufacturing Company.

Under Simeone’s leadership, Manor Tool grew from the boutique tool and die shop he founded to an expansive metal stamping, finishing services, and parts assembly company. Today, operating a 32-press facility, Manor Tool offers a wide range of services:

Over the more than 50 years since our founding, Manor Tool has become a well-respected leader of the metal stamping industry.

Quality at Manor Tool

The Manor Tool name is synonymous with quality. This is a reputation that we have worked hard over the years to attain. In everything we do, from prototype design to finishing processes and assembly, quality of work is our number one goal.

Every part that we manufacture at Manor Tool is subjected to quality assurance protocols at every stage of production. Raw materials, tools and dies, prototypes, stamped parts, and assembled parts are all inspected for quality. Finally, each completed part undergoes quality inspection before being made available for delivery.

Continuous Improvement at Manor Tool

Part of the reason Manor Tool is so well known for the quality of our parts is because of our efforts at continuous improvement. The moment something stops improving—be it a part, a technology, an industry, or a company—is the moment that it becomes irrelevant.

To ensure our continuous improvement, Manor Tool never rests on its laurels. We are always looking for ways to advance our skills, capabilities, and processes. One way in which we do this is by holding regular Kaizen Events.

“Kaizen” translates from Japanese as “change for better.” At a Kaizen event, Manor Tool team members from a variety of departments gather to evaluate a process and recommend changes to it. Using Kaizen events, Manor Tool has been able to improve in every way—we have increased productivity, grown revenue, improved employee safety, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Internal Machining Centers for Tool & Die Production and Maintenance

Manor Tool & Manufacturing believes customers deserve the finest in tool and die manufacturing. We believe it is an integral part of the manufacturing process. Our eight machining centers create the tooling required for production, supporting one of the largest tool rooms in the greater Chicago area.

These internal machining centers provide the control required to meet the demands of production cycles in today’s just-in-time work environment.

Reasons that Internal Machining Centers Help Meet Production Cycles

Consider the following:

  • Lead times and production scheduling. Our in-house machining centers allow us to set and follow your timetable to complete the tooling. Using a secondary source for machining exposes the tool & die company (and the customer) to unplanned delays.
  • Better accuracy. Specific tooling requirements for tooling features such as hole size or if the hole is tapped, countersunk, or reamed are programmed by us right off the geometry and done in a single set up. Conveying the same information to an outsourced supplier of machining requires more communication, increasing the potential for error, added scrap, and more re-working to fix mistakes.
  • Improved productivity. Keeping all machining in-house prevents issues encountered using a secondary source. There is no downtime because of delays caused by transportation time or supply chain bottlenecks. Employees maintain focus on the customer’s deadline because there is no downtime caused by sending the tool out for machining.
  • Maintaining control of the die/tool. There used to be a public service announcement (PSA) that appeared around 10:00 in the evening: “Parents, do you know where your children are?” The PSA implied that children left without supervision might get into trouble. The same implication fits when having your product shipped to a secondary supplier for machining. You may know the tool & die shop, but how well do you know their machining source? Our in-house machining centers eliminate this worry. The bottom line result is the on-time delivery of an accurately made product without the excessive waste associated with outsourced machining.

Manor Tool Machining Centers

Our eight machining centers are housed in two locations:

Manor Tool & Manufacturing headquarters (three machining centers that work primarily on maintaining dies)

  • Okuma 3-axis CNC machining center
  • Feeler
  • VMC Haas VF5

CLL Engineering (five machining centers focus on die production)

  • Quantum CNC machining center
  • 2 – Okuma 3-axis machining centers
  • Haas CNC machining center
  • Haas TL-2 CNC lathe
  • Versatility in the Machining Center

These machines provide the versatility to accommodate large capacity dies, offer high-speed milling and perform standard CNC machining. Each location emphasizes either production or maintenance support.

However, both locations have the flexibility to do the other’s work in order to meet production needs. A complete list of our tool room equipment is available here:

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For more information on our manufacturing processes, or to learn more about Manor’s in-house machining centers, contact your Manor representative today.

Top Reasons for Reshoring in Manufacturing

Reshoring: A Reversing — and Growing — Trend

Reshoring—the trend of bringing manufacturing jobs from overseas back to the United States—has become increasingly common in the past few years.

It marks the beginning of a reversal of jobs leaving the U.S. for cheaper labor and enterprise costs in developing Asian countries like China, Vietnam, and the Philippines, which in turn translated into cheaper prices for consumer goods like cell phones and flat-screen TVs.

reshoring manufacturing jobs

Many companies now, however, including such massive manufacturers as Ford, General Electric, Whirlpool, Apple, and Wal-Mart, are heavily investing in reshoring. The Boston Consulting Group recently conducted a study that found that executives at over half—54%—of companies based in the U.S. with more than $1 million in sales are either planning on or actively considering bringing back production from China to the U.S. A similar survey in 2012 found that only 37% of executives were planning to reshore.

According to these executives, economic conditions seem to favor reshoring. Although specific circumstances and the benefits are unique to every company, there generally are three main reasons to reshore.

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1. Narrowing Gap in Pay

A significant factor behind offshoring to countries like China has been lower costs of labor which led to lower manufacturing costs overall. This pay gap, however, has been recently shrinking. The International Labor Organization found that real wages in Asia were up by 7.1%-7.8% every year between 2000 and 2008.

In addition, according to the Boston Consulting Group, the average Chinese worker received 10% higher pay and benefits every year between 200 and 2005, which jumped to 19% every year between 2005 and 2010. The Chinese government has even set a target to increase the minimum wage by 15% every year until 2015.

The Economist reports that, following a 2010 strike, Honda gave its workers a 47% raise in pay, while the Foxconn Technology Group, manufacturer for big tech firms such as Apple, doubled the wages for their workers.

By contrast, the McKinsey group reports that pay in advanced countries grew by only 0.5%-0.9% from 2000 to 2008. Real wages in America—declining annually 2.2% since 2005—are comparatively more favorable to manufacturing firms.

2. Lower Energy Costs in the U.S.

Energy costs are critical to any company considering reshoring. Since 2005, wholesale prices for natural gases have fallen by 50% thanks to a rise in large-scale deposits from underground shale deposits yielded through hydraulic fracturing. In contrast, natural gas is three times more expensive in France, China, and Germany, and prices are expected to remain that way for several decades.

It is expected to take between five to ten years before the infrastructure can be put in place for large-scale export of American natural gas. This means that domestic energy prices will remain more cost-effective over other countries.

According to the Boston Consulting Group, natural gas is estimated to account for only 2% of average American manufacturing costs, while electricity is expected to account for 1%. Natural gas and electricity in China, by contrast, is expected to account for 6%. The energy advantage is also expected to create 1 million more jobs as more factories are built.

3. Shorter Lead Times

Due to the 2008 financial crisis, order sizes for U.S. manufacturing companies have decreased, while those for companies overseas have increased. However, this leads to longer lead times, especially as supply chains can become complicated depending on the method of shipment, such as by cargo ship.

Manufacturing here in the U.S. can be far faster than offshoring. Products can travel quickly and reach customers sooner. It can also lead to more collaboration between marketing and engineering teams, helping improve time-to-market as well as resulting in a better product.

The Reshoring Forecast

According to Forbes, reshoring will continue in 2015-2016, but mostly for manufacturing companies that have access to cheap natural gas and global markets, such as chemicals and metals. Reshoring will also grow for industries that see rapid change, such as technology and fashion apparel, where the value of the product compared to weight ratios make it difficult to justify the cost of air freight.

Products that require little labor are also expected to reshore. Chemical plants, for example, will bring jobs back, although most of these jobs never left the U.S.

Advances in Reshoring

reshoring initiative websiteFurther enhancing reshoring efforts in the U.S. is the Reshoring Initiative. Founded in 2010, the organization is a collection of manufacturers dedicated to bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.

According to the Reshoring Initiative, the forecast looks even better for the return of jobs.

  • Since January 2010, there have been 25 known cases of fabricated metal products reshored, involving 1,749 U.S. jobs.
  • Thanks to reshoring and foreign direct investment, there are now more jobs coming back each year than are being lost to offshoring. In 2003, there an estimated 150,000 jobs offshored and only 2,000 reshored. In 2013, there were an estimated 30,000 jobs offshored while a calculated 40,000 jobs reshored. The projections for 2016 predict 20,000 offshored jobs compared to over 50,000 reshored jobs.

Reshoring is ultimately beneficial to the U.S. economy. The IEEE states that the key to successful reshoring is to perform comprehensive Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculations, which reveal the true cost of offshoring.

The TCO calculates the cost of products sold, “hard” costs such as prototyping and shipping, risk-related costs such as quality, opportunity cost, and branding, as well as strategic and environmental costs. Using these calculations reveals that through reshoring, an estimated 2 million jobs can be created in the U.S. in 2015 alone.

TCO analyses help manufacturers clearly see the benefits of bringing these jobs back to the U.S., especially when compared to rising costs shipping costs and wages overseas, and the resurgence in popularity of American made goods.

The Reshoring Initiative offers a free TCO calculator so you can aggregate of cost and risk factors into one cost.

The organization also has various tools and resources such as the Reshoring Library, the Economic Development Plan, and the Skilled Workforce Development Plan to help companies see how reshoring can be beneficial across the enterprise.

Sensible Domestic Manufacturing

The message seems to be clear. Based on narrowing pay gaps, rising energy costs, and complicated supply chains, manufacturing domestically seems to make the most sense as jobs return to the U.S.

Manor Tool has been located in Illinois since our founding. In many ways, our capabilities illustrate the very real benefits of reshoring. Due to our domestic headquarters, we can fully partner with our customers, ensuring constant transparency, meticulous attention to quality, and most importantly, rapid turnaround times.

Our stamping, tooling, and design capabilites are all subject to the highest quality standards. These services were instrumental in quickly providing clients across a range of industries with solutions such as an aluminum alloy drawn basin for the medical industry, and a steel dimpled annular for the automotive industry.

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At Manor Tool, we have seen—and are proud to be a part of—the rapid and continuing growth in the manufacturing, fabrication, and time-to-market capabilities of companies right here in the U.S.

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Manor Tool’s Safety Program – Safety at its Best

At Manor Tool, we have actively sought to make safety a priority for not only management but every employee here, from production staff to company executives. By embracing a culture of safety and empowering all personnel to take ownership in the creation of a safe work environment, we have not only received numerous safety awards, but more importantly have had 1348 consecutive accident free days as of August, 2014.

This achievement has been accomplished by employing a comprehensive multi-level safety program that is comprised of multiple committees who work in conjunction with one another to proactively monitor and correct any potential hazards before an accident occurs.

Manor Tool’s First Level of Safety – Safety Management Team

The first level of our safety program is made up of the safety management team, which includes the president, vice president, general manager, maintenance staff, safety director and union representation, as well as an observer from the production floor. This team is responsible for the overall structure and content of the safety program.

By incorporating personnel from all levels of the organization, the safety management team is able to effectively match the needs on the plant floor with the expectations of management in accordance with the latest industry standards and government regulations. This team also meets with WCTI, the Workers Compensation Trust of Illinois, on a quarterly basis to discuss the efficacy of various safety policies and explore new ideas with other like-minded manufacturers.

Manor Tool’s Second Level of Safety – Safety Champion Team

The second level of our safety program is the Safety Champion team. This team consists of volunteers from the production department, including the machine shop and tool room, who provide a strong presence on the shop floor. This team is uniquely positioned to constantly monitor the production area and report back any issues that are found.

An important aspect of our safety program, and one of the reasons we have been so successful is that the reporting of safety related issues is not done for the purpose of disciplinary action. All reporting is done with the sole purpose of continually refining and improving equipment, procedures, and policies to eliminate risks as they are found.

For example, if cutting oil is spilled on the floor, it is not only critical that it be promptly cleaned up, but it should be reported to determine whether this is a frequent problem that may warrant an engineering change in regards to the operating process. Additionally, when reminders to wear safety glasses or not to use the air hose to blow debris off clothing come from peers, they are typically more effective than when given by someone else. The Safety Champion team meets every six weeks and the safety director acts as the liaison between the two safety teams.

Manor Tool’s Third Level of Safety – Monthly Company Walk-Thru

The third level of our safety program includes a monthly meeting between one supervisor and two employees during which a company walkthrough is performed. During the walkthrough, the group uses an established document to record any instances in which safety could be improved.

This may include anything from adding more robust guarding to machinery to employees not wearing proper hearing protection or incorrectly stacked dies. Based on the notes taken during the walkthrough, a report is written, and corrective actions, such as modifications to current policies and procedures, are taken.

Manor Tool’s Fourth Level of Safety – OSHA Consultation

As a fourth level of safety, we utilize the consultation services that are available from OSHA to provide an outside perspective regarding various hazards present in the workplace. OSHA offers noise monitoring that provides us with valuable information in relation to our hearing conservation program, as well as industrial hygienists who are able to analyze the presence of airborne pollutants in the work environment.

Industrial hygienists are able to observe specific jobs to determine whether workers are at risk from any chemicals or pollutants present. After OSHA provides us with this information, policies can be updated to correct any hazards that were found during the inspection. OSHA also reviews our safety records, documentation, and procedures for compliance with the newest available workplace safety standards. By seeing OSHA as a partner in safety, rather than as an enemy that simply must be “dealt with,” we have been able to take advantage of many of the professional services they offer and improve the quality of the work environment for our employees.

Equipment Safety

When it comes to safety precautions on industrial equipment, we have found there is a significant difference between simply meeting regulations and actively protecting the safety of operators. To ensure that every piece of machinery meets our rigorous safety standards, each piece of equipment has been assigned a spreadsheet that documents its safety features, such as dual air controls, dual palm buttons, break monitors, sensors, and guarding. After each piece of equipment was audited and cataloged, the equipment manufacturers were contacted to determine the optimal safety features for each piece of equipment.

As an example of our dedication to equipment safety, when purchasing a specific punch press that is designed to eject parts, we were given the option of selecting either a light curtain or barrier guards.

While the light curtain did prevent the operator from placing their hands in the press during the machine cycle, it did not protect against the parts that were ejected. At Manor Tool, we do not place a cost on the safety of our workers, and as such, chose the higher cost barrier guard for the press.

When workers see that management places this level of priority on their safety, it affects the way they see safety in the workplace. Rather than a set of burdensome rules that are reviewed every six months, safety becomes a real priority.

Dramatic Results

Since we have implemented these tools as part of our safety program overhaul, the results have been dramatic. If someone were to walk onto the job floor without safety glasses, they would be reminded by any number of people on the floor to put on their glasses.

Safety is not simply the responsibility of the safety director, or the general manager; it is the responsibility of every staff member from the front office to the tool room. By instilling this level of accountability, we have been able to provide a safe workplace where workers can take pride in the work they do.

In recognition of this dedication and the results it has achieved, we have received Trade Association safety awards for sixteen consecutive years, as well as additional WCTI awards for providing a safe workplace and promoting safety among our staff.


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Options for Secondary Services from Manor Tool

We’re proud to offer metal stamping, progressive die stamping, custom tooling and fabricating services for our clients. Alongside these services, one of the things that has long helped Manor stand out from other companies in the industry is our commitment to providing a complete solution – helping customers to reduce lead times, improve quality, and eliminate many of the headaches that can develop in the manufacturing process with other providers.

secondary machining services 02 plc 003

That’s why it’s important for a metal stamping company to offer a full range of secondary services designed to help you get the best components for your project. Our facilities are designed with these needs in mind. Here are just a few of the secondary services we offer:

  • Deburring

  • Drilling

  • Powder Coating

  • Machining

  • Painting

  • MIG, TIG, SPOT, and Project Welding

  • Plating

  • Assembly

While some other companies offer these secondary services, few work carefully with their customers to ensure the right combination of services is available for every project. It’s part of what sets us apart and allows us to provide the best possible solutions in so many situations.

A Commitment to Meeting Customer Needs

This is best illustrated in our ability to customize project specifications based on customer needs. For example, short run fabrication is an ideal solution for those with lower volume products in need of short lead time for production runs. Short run fabrication gives you the opportunity to pinpoint and fix issues in a product’s design or production process before you go through development of hard tools that can cost quite a bit more. Manor offers this service, allowing you to get into full production faster and with fewer issues.

Supplemental Machining Services

Another valuable secondary service is machining. Whether for shafts, forgings, castings, or fasteners, a full service machine department will allow you greater flexibility in what you develop in plastic and metal parts. Manor has such a department, which you can read more about here.

The bottom line is that the major components of a project are incredibly important, but so too are the secondary services that can speed up production, reduce lead times, and ensure optimal quality for your parts. That’s where Manor comes in, offering comprehensive secondary and machining services for companies like yours.

Contact us today to learn more about these services and what we can do for you. 

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Forecasting for Manufacturing 101

Forecasting for manufacturing production is a combination of past experience, overall skill, and a good dose of financial judgment.  Depending on the size of a manufacturing operation, statistical techniques and tools are useful for the creation of more accurate forecasts.

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In the end, however, forecasting is the mix of subjective judgments of past experience with objective calculations via past and present data (e.g., production, inventory, personnel, schedule, facilities, equipment, etc.) in order to make informed business decisions. In other words, it is an attempt to predict the future via historical data points.

Some of the subjective and objective information and data include:

  • Method of Manufacture
  • Source of Data
  • Timeframes

Method of Manufacture

Method of Manufacture is one way that a company can utilize forecasting.  If the production is typically “Made to Order,” they likely use a Model Option Logic method of forecasting.  This method involves evaluating the production of a specific number of each production model and its options, and then forecasting the number of similar items that will likely be manufactured in the forecasted time period.

The other method of manufacture is “Made to Stock.”  This methodology of forecasting relies on historical trends to determine the number of models and options to produce.  These two manufacturing methods for forecasting are best used in an OEM’s production of uniform products that may have variable options (e.g., appliances, automobiles, etc.).  However, the forecasts can have some utility for a second or third tier supplier to those OEMs, since they may have some data to use from previous production years for various components supplied to the OEMs.

Source of Data

Manufacturers often use both quantitative data and qualitative data to assist in production forecasting.  Solid quantitative data that has a basis in detailed, accurate statistics can yield more definitive forecasts.  However, many of the statistical models can be complex for smaller businesses.  For this reason, it is often easier and more appropriate for small to medium sized companies to work with qualitative data such as sales figures, past demand, customer opinions, and market research.


The timeline for production, sales cycles, and other data are also useful in creating a production forecast.  Past trends, seasonality, sales cycles, and even random orders are all time-related indicators that can be useful in forecasting for manufacturers.

However, as Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing techniques have taken hold in businesses of all sizes, the need to forecast is quickly becoming a smaller part of overall business operations.  In JIT manufacturing organizations, the focus is on production and how to respond to demand rather than a forecast. A company operating within JIT techniques requires a very tight and agile supply chain, in addition to highly responsive production capabilities.

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