Ways to Improve your Shop During a Lull

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many organizations in the manufacturing industry have hit the pause button. If you’re dealing with a lull or if production has come to a temporary halt, here’s some advice for how to use this downtime to your advantage.  

Evaluate & Optimize

Take this time to evaluate operations throughout your company and supply chain. Get in touch with your workers, suppliers and even your customers to get the best results possible. Once evaluations are complete use the data collected to optimize your operations. Optimization can take many forms including increasing production rates, eliminating shipping delays and lowering shipping costs.

Train your Staff 

Even if you believe your employees are fully prepared for anything their job may throw at them, there’s always something new they can learn and add to their “toolbox”. Use this time to teach your programmers and operators more about the CNC control and software. From your newest employee to your most seasoned, everyone can benefit from more training.


With new technology constantly being created, you run the risk of having your machines or software become obsolete. Since the cost of borrowing is at a historic low due to the pandemic, now is a good time to invest in and explore new technology. If you’re unsure about taking a large step, you can always take a small one. Start with simple automation, such as a pallet changer or a load/unload robot for cells dedicated to longer part runs. From there, work your way up to adding a touch probe or cobot to support your workers and increase productivity.


You can track your efficiency and collect helpful data by monitoring your machines. By conducting an analysis on each machine and keeping track of how it runs, you can shed light on production time and determine when maintenance is needed. Or with new updates, machines can be programed to do this on their own. Some can even send out messages automatically to alert operators, programmers or maintenance personnel to errors as needed.


Take the leap, get out of your comfort zone and do something different. In challenging times like these, exploring new markets and serving new customers is what may keep your business afloat. The pandemic has caused new industries to be born and old manufactures to reinvent themselves or their products. You can manufacture anything if you set your mind to it, so what can you either create or make better?


After gathering new information and data all that is left to do is to package it up, add a neat little bow and show it to management or executives. Data is what really opens people’s eyes and identifies crucial changes that need to be made. With data gathered from monitoring machines and your employees now equipped with new skills, executives can now feel confident executing change.  

Contact Custom Tool & Grinding

The entire world is moving through uncharted territory, but it is moving forward. If you find yourself with more time on your hands than usual, use it as an opportunity to use these strategies. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us here