Taking the Black Magic Out of Machining

Lean Continuous Improvement Journey

Thursday, February 11th marked the Share to Grow event at ARE. Over 25 attendees gathered to learn about ARE’s continuous improvement journey (read more about A.R.E. Manufacturing). Located in Newberg Oregon, ARE Manufacturing specializes in utilizing high-end CNC machining equipment to manufacture precision components.

ARE opened the event upstairs, running attendees through some introductory exercises showing the value of the lean tools they’ve implemented on their 30 year continuous improvement journey.

Next, event attendees broke into groups and spent the next hour walking the shop floor. Great care was taken at each workstation to explain the iterative process to arrive at their current state. Tour leaders were engaged, and proud of the work they had accomplished. With great reason! On their continuous improvement journey, ARE has implemented a host of tools and processes to (as they so aptly put it) take the black magic out of machining, and make it more paint by numbers.

Learning About ARE’s Work Environment

Back upstairs, Alvin and Rusty of ARE fielded questions for the next hour, discussing elements of ARE’s work environment such as:

• High Mix, Low Volume Demand (Custom)
• Workforce Challenges
• Managing Growth
• Manufacturing Best Practices
• Continuous Improvement
• Automated Tooling Storage and Selection System

Workforce Development and Training

Recently, ARE discovered a gap in their new hire program. After attracting new employees, those employees did not have a path forward toward success. They have been working with OMEP on a SMART Talent (job skills) and training opportunities for employees.


What is Smart Talent?


OMEP shared briefly about this program, and ARE leadership chimed in with their thoughts on the importance of Structured OJT. They project a 50% improvement in employee efficiency due to this new way of working.

Much can be learned from this passionate group of manufacturers who care deeply about investing in their community and building a learning organization & culture.

Thanks to ARE for their generosity in sharing. Thank you also to our sponsors for helping to make this event possible.

Manufacturers For Manufacturers is an exclusive tour series where manufacturers share best practices with their peers directly on the factory floor. If you would like to attend an event at our next manufacturer location, please email Jasmine to join the waiting list. These fill up quickly!