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CNC 5 axis Milling

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Welcome to the Job Shop Blog. My name is Andy Schlotter. In my 4 decades in CNC machining, I've been everything from the shop helper to the President of the company. I've got some stories to tell, some methods and theories to share and some observations to make. Here is my background in the CNC machining industry:

1983 through 1990

CNC Machinist responsible for setting up and running CNC Lathes and Milling machines.

1991 through 1994

CNC Machine Shop Foreman and Quality Management System Coordinator.

• Reporting to the President of the company and with the guidance of a consultant, developed the Total Quality Management (TQM) system to satisfy the requirements of the large OEM Customers. Highlights included the highest recorded scores at the time for Honeywell, IAC’s HACSA survey and GE Aerospace’s Proven Quality Supplier survey. Both systems have been replaced by ISO 9001 and AS 9100 QMS’s.

• Wrote procedures and provided training on understanding, identifying and controlling process variation (SPC).

• Revised Quality Manual to marry the requirements of the old Mil-I-45208 standard that was typical for the industry with the new TQM practices.

1995 through 2003

Shop Manager, QMS Coordinator and Producibility engineering support.

• Maintained the QMS and its training and reporting requirements.

• Led all QMS audits.

• Developed a statistically based supply management system that was adopted by the Customer that helped to dramatically reduce their inventory, reduce supply chain costs and grow our market share.

• Worked with Customer engineering staff on cost reductions of their product to enhance our position with them. Projects included weight reduction of investment castings, dimensional changes to maximize efficiency and material selection.

• Traveled to represent the company for Supplier of the Year ceremonies, Supply Management meetings after Customer merger and acquisition activities, contract negotiations and sales calls.

2004 through May 2012

VP Operations

• Performed all earlier duties and oversaw explosive growth through 2009 at which point a key Customer moved manufacturing operations to China.

June 2012 through October 2019


• Served as President in a three-way partnership.

• Developed and implemented the ISO 9001: 2008 QMS.

• Developed and implemented the transition to ISO 9001: 2015 standard.

• Worked with lenders, legal and accounting personnel.

I love to write. If I do my job well, readers will find value in support of their Continuous Improvement efforts. If I do it really well, I may get to collaborate with others in the Manufacturing Industry and be part of something special.

CNC lathe turning

Meet the Reader

Meet the Contributor

Meet the Reader

I'm hoping every contributor to the CNC Machine Shop slice of the Manufacturing Industry pie will find value here at the Job Shop Blog. 


CNC Machine Shop Owners

Your name is on everything related to your CNC Machining business. It can be incredibly rewarding. It can also be incredibly stressful. We will discuss strategies and techniques to maximize your time, align your company vision with your policies and procedures and maximize the vast capabilities of your team. Sometimes all it takes is a little adjustment in perspective to unleash resources you never knew you had. From finances to shop culture, we will discuss every aspect of the CNC Machine Shop ownership experience.

Shop Managers

You have risen through the ranks and now you are in a Management position. We will discuss Continuous Improvement strategies and how to lock in gains by making them part of the company culture that is documented in policy and procedure. We will discuss training and what is more appropriate for a classroom than on the job. You are now dealing with people and they are much more variable than any machining process. We will discuss strategies to overcome personalities and get everyone working as a team.

Sales Reps

You have a CNC machining principal. You’ve worked very hard to get them opportunities. It is frustrating when they miss an opportunity because of a slow response or a padded lead time. It is frustrating when you get feedback that their price is good but their delivery rating is too low to place the work. You are on the front line of the feedback loop and sometimes it isn’t pretty. You need better support from your CNC machining principal. We will discuss the challenges for the outside sales reps here.


It used to be that the Customer buyers for the CNC machining supplier rose through the ranks and knew what they were buying. They knew the parts because they may well have made the parts earlier in their career. That is no longer true. Today, many buyers don’t know the difference between a purchased piece of hardware, a machined part and a sheet metal part. The knowledge base has shifted and so have their needs. Relationship building is more difficult. One thing that has not changed is that it is our job as CNC Machine Shops to make our buyers look good. We will discuss strategies to do exactly that.


Engineers may well be our best “in” to a Customer in today’s reality for the CNC Machine Shop. They are often designing to spec without a producibility voice in the room. Some may have that knowledge and it will be reflected in their designs. Others may not. Approached in the right way, we can have a powerful influence on our Customer’s success while making our own lives easier as CNC machinists by positioning ourselves as that producibility voice.

Professional Service Providers

Our accounting, legal, insurance providers and bankers are often kept at arm’s length by Job Shop owners. Many consider it a chore to deal with them and would rather be making chips. We will discuss the untapped potential of the resources they offer and how engaging them can help to drive continuous improvement and growth.

It will take a while to build the content that touches all those bases, but they will all be touched because they are all integral to the CNC Machine Shop's relentless pursuit of Continuous Improvement.

Lathe with live tooling

Meet the Contributor

Meet the Contributor

Meet the Contributor

Guest contributors are welcome at the Job Shop Blog. From CNC Machine Shop helper to CEO and from sales rep to purchasing manager, thoughtful points of view and shared experiences on topics of Continuous Improvement, ISO 9000 QMS certification, CNC Machining and Manufacturing in general have a home here.

For those that don't want to fill out the Contact Us form, feel free to contact us via email at aws@jobshopblog.com

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