When you walk through the Sko-Die manufacturing areas and see the presses in operation, you know that Ken Evans had a big part in that. Ken is Sko-Die’s Maintenance Manager and it is his responsibility to make sure that every piece of equipment is up and operating to our high safety and efficiency standards. This is no small task considering that Sko-Die has 20 punch, 8 notching and 4 Fineblanking presses. Then there is all of the press auxiliary equipment and Value Added Service equipment supporting welding, laser cutting, and CNC machining. The list goes on, but to Ken it is all in a day’s work. He states that it is his job “to make sure everyone else can do their job!”
Ken came to Sko-Die after 33 years in the automotive industry where he learned his skills that make him such a huge asset today. When Patrick Steininger first interviewed Ken he immediately recognized how mechanically inclined he was, and that his talents would fit what was needed in the Maintenance Manager position. The most important traits that Patrick saw were Ken’s positive attitude, enthusiasm and his desire to join a manufacturing team that believed in working together to achieve our company goals.
Ken’s success starts with his administration of the Preventative Maintenance Program for all equipment throughout the plant. The program schedules a thorough check of components and performance of standard maintenance procedures. For a press, that covers changing the oil and filters, cleaning and greasing, ram leveling and an electronics check. This process can take a half day for a single press and auxiliary components, but is invaluable in heading off any problems that could arise in the future. Ken also recognizes that his best source of information about equipment performance is directly from the operators. Everyone knows if they think something doesn’t seem to be operating correctly they can count on Ken to look into it immediately. Ken enjoys this part of his job as he loves dealing with people.
Recognizing that Lean Manufacturing is a very large part of Sko-Die’s operational goals, Ken is continually looking to improve equipment performance and maintenance efficiency. His latest achievement addressed the installation of press add-ons. For each press there is a Smart Pak that controls the performance of the press add-ons. These add-ons were hard wired to the Smart Pak and if a change was needed, the new add-on needed to be rewired. Ken switched the wiring to plugs on all the press Smart Paks and add-ons, and now a change out that used to take 20 minutes can now be done in 20 seconds.
With a work schedule that is more than full, Ken also makes the time to attend training that keeps him up-to-date on new equipment and procedures. He has attended Smart Pak classes and through his continual Lean Manufacturing training he sharpens his abilities to recognize areas of equipment and process improvement. When any new piece of equipment is purchased, he will attend the supplier training to make sure the he knows the machine inside and out. It also allows him to develop the Preventative Maintenance procedures and schedule to keep the new piece running up to our quality operating standards.
Personally, Ken has been married to his wife Jill for 38 years. They have a son Jesse, a daughter Shane and two grandchildren, Avery and Owen. Ken closely follows Motocross, which for 20 years he competitively raced, as his son does currently. He also has to keep in top shape physically, for in 2016 he will race in his 14th full marathon, 26.2 miles.