Full Feature Blog

M&M Spring Promo 2020

We’re offering specials on Starrett Precision tools and accessories now through May 31, 2020. Don’t miss out on 10% off Indicators, 25% Off Shrink Rules, 10-25% Off Micrometers. Buy 4 Get 1 Free on Blades and much more. Check out the great deals in all of the following categories:

  • Precision Tools
    • Micrometers
    • Calipers
    • Indicators and Gages
    • Handheld Testing Equipment
    • Squares
    • Precision Rules, Straight Edges & Parallels
    • Protractors and Angle Measurements
    • Fixed Gage Standards
    • Precision Shop Tools
  • Hand Tools and Power Accessories
    • Portabands
    • Hole Saws
    • PVC Saws
    • Hacksaw Blades and Frames
    • Jigsaw Blades
    • Reciprocating Blades
    • Tape Rulers
    • Layout Tools
    • Chalk Lines
    • M1 Oil

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KanBan in Manufacturing Can Eliminate Bottlenecks and Maximize Capacity

Are you looking for ways to identify and stop bottlenecks and waste in your facility?

Sure. Who isn’t looking to optimize operations to achieve maximum results with minimal investment? For that reason, many manufacturing facilities and machine shops alike are starting to look to lean manufacturing techniques to help them get there.

Kanban systems are one such method that offer production teams the support they need to get the most out of their operational processes. Following the design of pull systems and just-in-time inventory plans, Kanban cards are small cards with important information related to specific operational processes. These cards can include information about materials and part descriptions, identifying bar codes, routing information, lead time, supplier information, order date, due date, responsible parties and more.

Kanban boards are ideal for controlling production and making operational processes visible when used as part of a lean manufacturing program. Kanbans are best described as visual markers that highlight each step of the manufacturing process. Kanbans not only helps to visualize the workflow process, but also the actual work that passes through the process. By increasing the visibility of the work to be done, over time you begin to eliminate wasted labor, inventory and time.

Related: 5 Ways to Reduce Scrap in Your Metal Cutting Operations

7 Surprising Ways Kanban Can Support Your Manufacturing Goals

  1. Measure and manage workflow
    Kanbans allow production teams to have both a high-level view of workload, as well as more detailed information regarding individual tasks and priorities. Kanban systems for manufacturing can also help measure team members’ progress through each stage of the workflow.

  2. Communicate more effectively
    The use of a Kanban board in your facility ensures clear and accurate communication of goals, policies and expectations without confusion. Every affected employee knows exactly what is required at every stage of the operation.

  3. Limit Work in Progress (WIP)
    With an effective Kanban system in place, it’s easier to visualize workflow and backlogs at various points in time and concentrate on completing existing work before taking on new work. This offers added insight into current workload to determine if work needs to be cut back or if you have capacity to add more.

  4. Improve customer satisfaction
    Using Kanban to optimize your production flows, your company can complete more work on time and in budget. Not only does this lead to happy customers, but also loyal customers who are more likely to act as evangelists on your behalf.

  5. Reduce worker stress
    Individual workers, production teams and management alike experience reduced stress with the successful implementation of Kanban in their facility. Kanban offers enhanced visibility into operations and helps managers understand conflicting priorities and create solutions that eliminate bottlenecks. Workers can now focus on what they do best, rather than what is piling up ahead.

  6. Improve safety and compliance
    Kanban in manufacturing not only helps to reduce production costs and waste, but can help improve safety. A smooth workflow guided by clear standard operating procedures (SOP) can eliminate bad habits and faulty material and equipment, resulting in fewer accidents and more consistency in safety programs throughout the facility.

  7. Improve collaboratively and continuously
    When all parts of the process are understood by all affected employees, it’s easier to spot potential problem areas and brainstorm solutions collectively. Plus, all stakeholders have improved visibility with a clear and consistent view of the workflow.
M&M Sales & Equipment Kanban Tips for Manufacturing

Related from Medium: Learn more about various types of Kanban cards here.

It’s no secret that lean manufacturing methods have been key to the success of many small and mid-size manufacturing facilities. When Kanban is used with other lean manufacturing best practices, managers have experienced lower overhead and inventory costs, improved reporting, standardized production goals, better teamwork and increased accuracy.

We’re always on the lookout for ways you can improve operations and increase your profitability. From cutting tools, abrasives and cutting fluid to safety and MRO supplies, we are your full line distributor. If you have questions on how M&M Sales & Equipment can help you, please call one of our four Texas locations.


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We’re Open: COVID-19 Update

To our valued customers and friends,  

Thank you to those who have reached out during this stressful time; we want to extend our sincere thoughts and prayers. As COVID-19 continues to expand throughout the U.S. and attempts are made to slow the transmission of the virus, we want to alert you that we do remain open at this time.  

We are fully operational and will continue to support your business needs by accepting walk-in traffic and maintaining deliveries. To that end, we are following the safety guidance provided by the CDC, as well as state and local governments, to keep our customers and employees safe.

We are implementing a policy that restricts interactions to one employee per customer in the building at a time.

Please be advised that accounting is working from home so they may have to call you back or you can reach them directly through email (ar@mmsls.net).

To ensure the safety and well-being of both our employees and our customers, we have taken certain precautionary steps that include thorough cleaning and sanitation of our shop and enacting new handling procedures. To prevent unnecessary interactions, we have the following protocol in place:  

  • Rather than require customers to sign tickets, we will ask customers to state their full name. We will then track orders by writing “Picked Up By:” or “Delivered To:” on the ticket, printing names legibly on both copies of the ticket.  
  • For deliveries, we will keep all tickets on a clipboard to prevent contact with any work surfaces. We have also closed our showroom to minimize touch points and interaction with materials.  

The situation remains fluid, but at this time our account personnel will be working from home until the recommended guidelines for 10 people or fewer are lifted.  

We remain fully operational at this time, but due to these precautionary measures, service may be slightly slower than usual. We will continue to monitor the situation and alert you of any changes regarding your orders or future developments.  

Together, we will get through this. Thank you and be well. 

Contact us with any questions.

Score Big on JET® Metalworking Saws with our March 2020 Promotion

We are excited to extend some big-time savings to you on the metalworking saws you depend on for precision cutting results. From bandsaws to cold saws and more, we can get you the metalworking saws you need.

From now until March 29, 2020, save on metalworking saws from the industry leader JET®. Save up to 10% on select saws:

  • JET® 5″ X 6″ MITERING HORIZONTAL BANDSAWS
  • JET® 5″ X 6″ MITERING VARIABLE SPEED HORIZONTAL BANDSAW
  • JET® 5″ X 6″ VARIABLE SPEED HORIZONTAL VERTICAL BANDSAW
  • JET® 5″ X 6″ HORIZONTAL VERTICAL BANDSAWS
  • JET® 7″ X 10-1/2″ MITERING HORIZONTAL BANDSAWS
  • JET® 7″ X 12″ HORIZONTAL/VERTICAL BANDSAW WITH COOLANT SYSTEM
  • JET® 7″ X 12″ HORIZONTAL/VERTICAL BANDSAW WITH COOLANT SYSTEM
  • JET® 14″ & 18″ VERTICAL METAL/WOOD BANDSAW
  • JET® 12″ (315mm) MANUAL FERROUS COLD SAWS
  • JET® 10″ (275mm) MANUAL FERROUS COLD SAWS

Watch JET in action now!

Don’t miss out on these limited time savings! Promotion ends March 29, 2020. Talk to your local M&M Sales & Equipment representative today!

Wrapping Up 2019: West Texas Oil Economy in Review

M&M Sales & Equipment supports our local communities and one way that we do that is by staying informed on the issues that matter to you. We provide products of all kinds including cutting tools like end mills, face mills, grooving inserts and drill bits to various industries, and we have a special relationship with those working in oil and gas. As 2020 kicks off, we wanted to take a look back and reflect on how the oil industry has impacted West Texas residents and beyond over the past year.

Oil Activity in Early 2019

Back in March of 2019, we explored West Texas’ boom-bust oil industry and shared some expert insights on the status of crude oil production and where it was headed. The U.S. Department of Energy expected the Permian Basin to pump 3.9 million barrels of oil per day (bpd), with futures anticipated at 9 million bpd by 2021.

We also shared examples of how the oil boom was impacting West Texas and its residents. Rising employment rates were a welcome relief to many who were impacted by massive layoffs in 2016, but food and housing costs also skyrocketed, hitting those same residents square in the pocketbook. Though market conditions looked good, West Texans are used to the ebb and flow of the oil industry and remain cautious. The old saying, “Oil giveth and oil taketh away” is one that’s always on the minds of those who live here.

Related: 2019 Oil Forecast in West Texas: Boom Expected to Continue

Year End Oil Report

As we continued throughout the year, the outlook remained positive overall. Energy technology company Baker Hughes recently reported an increase of four rigs bringing the active U.S. rig total to 667. Our own Texas rig count remained unchanged from the week prior at 400, but down 132 from 2018.

What’s interesting is that according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the United States exported 90,000 bpd more total crude oil and petroleum in September 2019 than we imported. This marks the first recorded month in U.S. history that the United States exported more crude oil and petroleum products than it imported. This supports the 2019 Annual Energy Outlook that forecast that the U.S. would become a net energy exporter by 2020.

While crude oil production looks healthy, coal consumption continues its decades-long decline.  Reports show that U.S. coal production employment has fallen 42% since 2001 (EIA). That seems to align with the decrease in Texas coal production from over 40 million short tons in 2014 down to roughly 25 million short tons in 2018.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, employment in oil and gas extraction jobs in Texas remain steady around 78,600. The Permian Basin maintains healthy crude oil production numbers of around 4.5 million bpd, meeting and exceeding the U.S. Department of Energy’s prediction earlier in the year. (View 2019 Energy Slideshow here)

Looking Ahead to 2020

As of the Dec. 10 report, the U.S. is still on pace to average 13.2 million bpd in 2020, a 0.9 million bpd increase from 2019 (EIA). It’s important to note that this is a slowdown from 2018 numbers, and the decrease in crude oil production is due to a continuing decline in drilling rigs. A decline in drilling rigs and wells drying up are factors that could impede the United States’ race to become a world’s leading oil producer. To keep pace, technological improvements must continue to support sustainable growth.

There is anticipation that because of rising global oil inventories, crude oil prices will be lower in 2020 than in 2019, but that remains to be seen. In a December article in the New York Times, it was reported that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia agreed to make cuts in production to compensate for higher oil output. But their cuts have done little to raise crude oil prices in the past due to the steady increase in U.S. shale oil production, especially those barrels from the West Texas area. Only time will tell.

Stay in the know with us. Keep on the lookout for future articles discussing both the local economy here in West Texas, as well as what’s happening in the world. We would love to hear your insight and how you are impacted by our regional and global oil industry. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

We are your cutting tools specialists and are committed to helping you remain profitable and productive in a changing world. Have questions? Reach out to us by clicking here.

Lessons in Commonly Used Commercial Valves from Apollo Valves

A valve is a valve, right? That may be true to the rest of the world, but out here valves are as complicated as they are necessary. The ordinary person probably doesn’t know there’s a different valve for almost every need, and choosing the right valve can quickly become confusing in an industrial setting. Valves can be categorized in several ways, including how they operate, how they function, and in which applications they are to be used.

Fortunately, we have some helpful tips on understanding the six main types of valves from industry-leading valve manufacturer, Apollo Valves.

We’ve been partnering with Apollo Valves in Odessa, Lubbock, Amarillo and Ft. Worth, Texas, for many years. You may be familiar with Conbraco Industries, leading manufacturer of American Made flow control products. Today, they are housed under the Apollo name and together blaze the trail to create the innovative products that drive American industry, one valve at a time.

Understanding 6 Types of Valves and their Applications

  1. Gate Valves
    Industrial and residential piping applications, as well as sewage pipes and water distribution pipe systems commonly use gate valves because they have the capability for more substance flow and lower pressure drops within the valve. The new Apollo International™ cast iron gate, globe and check valves provide full flow capabilities.

  2. Ball Valves
    Otherwise known as quarter-turn operation valves, ball valves are designed with a spherical ball with a hole that goes through it. When the valve is open, the substance passes through. When the valve is closed, the hole becomes perpendicular to the opening and stops flow. The Apollo® 70 Series is the most widely used and trusted bronze ball valve in the industry.

  3. Butterfly Valves
    Butterfly valves are similar to ball valves in that they are also quarter-turn operation valves, but have a butterfly disc that allows the substance to flow aerodynamically around it. They are ideal for regulating flow and can handle thicker slurries or suspended solids because there are no open cavities where particles can settle. The large diameter Apollo International™ LD141 Series Ductile Iron Butterfly Valves are ideal for use in Industrial and Commercial/HVAC/Mechanical applications.

  4. Globe Valves
    When you need to control the flow of fluids that are more viscous in nature such as oil, globe valves are often your best bet. They can control both on and off operations, as well as flow rate control. Just remember that the S-shaped nature of the passageway often leads to more high pressure drops than other valves.

  5. Needle Valves
    For fine adjustments in regulation and control of flow rate, needle valves use their tapered, needle-like valve stem to act as a control mechanism. They are often used in pressure pump governors, automatic combustion systems and instrumentation controls. The Apollo® 60A Series Steel & Stainless Steel Barstock Globe Valves are ideally suited for use in instrumentation, sampling lines and flow control applications.

  6. Check Valves
    What is a check valve? Check valves are used to prevent backflow in piping systems and activated by the pressures of what is running through the system. When fluid flows in a certain direction, the value opens; but if the fluid were to reverse direction, the valve would close.

View the Apollo’s Commercial Product Lineup here.

Match the Valve Type to the Function It Performs 

If you’re looking to get the most out your equipment (and who isn’t?), there’s three things you need to know when choosing a valve. First, you need to match the valve type to the function it performs. Not doing so will lead to leaks, damage and subprime performance.

Second, you must evaluate the material flowing through the valve. What temperature is the material? What is the pressure? Is the valve in an open or closed position? Do you need a shut-off valve or regulator?

Lastly, consider the pipe size, operating flow and piping material and match it to the valve that not only fits, but performs. For instance, the size of a copper pipe is different than a PVC pipe. An adapter may be required if you want to use a copper valve on a PVC pipe rather than a PVC valve.

Have more questions about selecting the right valves for your needs? M&M Sales & Equipment is here to help in West Texas, with locations in Odessa, Amarillo, Lubbock and Ft. Worth. Reach out to our knowledgeable sales representatives and they’ll be happy to discuss your needs and help you find the best solution. Contact us online, by phone or stop in and say hello.


5 Ways to Reduce Scrap in Your Metal Cutting Operations

What is scrap? For starters, it can be anything that results in wasted material and a need to perform rework of some kind. In the metal cutting world, scrap can take the shape of discarded or excess material, non-returnable components, metal shavings, unusable parts and nonmetal waste. Scrap is often considered an inevitable part of the manufacturing process and may not seem like much in the short term, but over time can add up to major losses. Think about all the time you spend reworking entire batches of parts due to machining mistakes or operator error. Some scrapped parts may be able to be refinished and put to use so the loss in time and labor is minimal, but other times the pieces may have to be thrown out.

Scrap can be a serious problem, but let’s not focus on the negative. If you’re experiencing levels of scrap that are costing you time and money, there is a HUGE opportunity for you to make a few changes to your operations that will reduce scrap and lead to cost savings. In fact, setting your sights on scrap reduction may be the single greatest thing you can do for your company this year.

To get started, consider hiring a consulting firm to help you identify areas of waste leading to excessive scrap. If you would rather go it alone, here are a few tips to begin improving operations and reduce your scrap rate:

1. Electronically document material usage.
Are you still using pen and paper to manually log material usage and machining data? While documentation of any kind is certainly better than none at all, let’s take a look at why paper documentation isn’t ideal. One reason is human error. Sometimes, data isn’t recorded accurately. Without this key data, how can a company realize the root of a problem and decide on a solution? Paper documentation also limits the availability of information for certain members of the team. Imagine the confusion that happens when your team must hunt down critical information to perform their tasks. Storing and sharing this information electronically ensures all members of your team communicate effectively.

2. Optimize machining processes.
If you haven’t been documenting material usage, then it’s impossible to know where and how materials are being used or misused. Once you develop a plan to thoroughly document all the moving parts in your manufacturing process you can begin to optimize those areas that are generating the most waste. This requires a hands-on approach. Head down to the production floor and watch each stage. Take note of areas you feel could be improved, machinery that should be replaced or ways you could streamline the process. Sometimes, all the data in the world won’t provide the information you can capture with your own two eyes.

3. Automate when possible.
Not only can automation improve worker safety in your facility, but it can improve the safe handling of parts through reduced employee touchpoints. Machines can be calibrated for precision cuts and bends in various types of metal, reducing the amount of scrap generated. You can also install sensor technology that can alert you immediately to any machinery issues that could interfere with optimum production.

4. Use the right tool for the job.
When trying to stay in budget on an order, it can be tempting to cut costs with cheaper tooling and machinery. Unfortunately, using inferior equipment typically leads to increased scrap costs, machine downtime and higher material usage. By choosing the right tool for the job, you can be sure to machine parts correctly the first time, rather than waste precious resources on rework.

For tips on how to reduce machine downtime in your facility, read What’s Machine Downtime Really Costing You? (And How to Avoid It)

5. Involve the entire team.
Any time that you make changes to standard operating procedures is a great time to roll out those changes to all affected employees. Not only is it critical for safety, but the more knowledgeable your workers are about the new processes, the less mistakes and costly errors your operation will experience. Take a page from the lean manufacturing playbook and consider performance-based bonuses for employees that identify areas of waste and offer solutions to reduce scrap rates and inefficiency.

We understand you have a tough job to do, and we want to help improve your operations and increase your profitability. If you have questions on how M&M Sales & Equipment can help your business succeed, call one of our four Texas locations.

New Product Alert: TRIM® E923 Metalworking Fluid from Master Fluid Solutions®

If you’ve been following us for a while, you would know we are always talking about how to get the most out of your metal cutting operations. We’re big on efficiency and maximizing productivity. Maybe it’s because we’ve been in your shoes. Many of our own team members have worked in the metal cutting industry and that experience drives us to find solutions that helps you operate at peak performance.

So, when we came across a new product from Master Fluid Solutions® we knew our friends in the automotive, energy sectors and the manufacturing industry at large needed to know about it. The TRIM® E923 is their proprietary blend of new vegetable-based technology and very high levels of chlorine-free extreme-pressure (EP) additives.

Earlier this year, UK-based publisher, Manufacturing Machinery World, ran an article about the release of TRIM® E923, No Compromise Coolant For The Toughest Of Applications. In it, they said that TRIM® E923 is in a class of its own as a complete coolant package for harsh applications.

What’s so great about it? It’s designed to extend tool life in your most difficult metal cutting operations like Inconel®, titanium and high-tensile-strength steel. TRIM® E923  is designed especially for applications such as boring, broaching, deep-hole drilling, down the hole work, drilling, heavy-duty machining center work, screw machine operations and much more. Plus, it offers extreme lubricity for clean and accurate cuts without the need for costly additives.

TRIM® E923 helps in the following ways:

  • Delivers exceptional lubricity and EP performance
  • Has the necessary performance to replace neat oils in certain applications
  • Very long sump life
  • Low foam even in soft water areas
  • Hard water tolerant
  • Compatible with all materials excluding magnesium
  • Easily recycled or disposed of without special handling or equipment
  • Will run effectively for long periods without the need for costly additives

Learn more about TRIM® E923 from Master Fluid Solutions.

Have questions on this new product from Master Fluid Solutions®? The team at M&M Sales & Equipment would love to help you find the solutions you need to work more efficiency and profitability in your facility. Contact us, give us a call or stop in.

End-of-the-Year Savings on Select INSIZE Precision Measurement Instruments

M&M Sales & Equipment - Insize Promo 2019We’re excited to roll out some serious savings on the measurement instruments you rely on for accuracy and precision. INSIZE has been supplying the world’s manufacturers and machine shops with the measuring instruments, calipers and gages they need to compete since 1995. Known for their quality, innovation, service and value, INSIZE understands the rigorous demands of today’s machinists and fabricators, and for a limited time they are offering a substantial discount for M&M Sales & Equipment customers.

We’re excited to roll out some serious savings on the measurement instruments you rely on for accuracy and precision. INSIZE has been supplying the world’s manufacturers and machine shops with the measuring instruments, calipers and gages they need to compete since 1995. Known for their quality, innovation, service and value, INSIZE understands the rigorous demands of today’s machinists and fabricators, and for a limited time they are offering a substantial discount for M&M Sales & Equipment customers.

Save 15% on Select INSIZE Precision Measurement Instruments

Selection includes:

  • Electronic Calipers (waterproof & non-waterproof)
  • Electronic Depth Gages
  • Outside Micrometers
  • Pistol Grip Three Point Bore Gages
  • Telescoping Gage Sets
  • Bore Gages
  • Universal Protractors
  • Feeler Gages
  • CNC Vision Measuring Systems
  • Manual Rockwell Hardness Testers
  • Digital Microscopes
  • and more!

Don’t miss out on end-of-the-year savings. Promotion ends Dec. 31, 2019. Talk to your local M&M Sales & Equipment representative today and kick off 2020 with the precision tools you need to win.

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The Upside of Better Inventory Control through Industrial Vending Machines

Everyone wants to run lean these days. But few companies actually succeed.

It’s no secret that lean management strategies can reduce costs, increase productivity and help companies compete. Yet, many companies fail when trying to implement these strategies in their production facilities.

One of the first steps in implementing a lean management program is effectively managing inventory, but without complete visibility into usage those efforts often fall short. Management rarely understands exactly how and where inventory items are being used without some form of tracking in place.

The result? Ineffective inventory control processes that rely on spreadsheet data or the honor system typically resulting in missing inventory, shrinkage or excessive inventory that ties up cash flow and collects dust.

Thinking about improving your inventory control processes? Here are 5 reasons to stop thinking and start doing:

  1. Reduce costs associated with inventory purchasing.
    Without a clear view into the consumption of inventory items, how do you know what material is necessary for optimum production? The short answer is: You don’t. When you can track where and how inventory is being consumed, you can dial in just the right amount to hold in stock, saving time and money in purchasing.
  2. Improve production rates and decrease worker downtime.
    When you have mission-critical items on hand, work gets done. Think of the time it takes employees to search for missing items or procure them at higher cost. Not only does this result in delayed production, but it also wastes manhours and increases inventory costs. Better inventory management ensures you have the tools and supplies you need on hand when you need them.
  3. Reduce lead time and make customers sticky.
    If you are constantly running out of inventory, then you know how frustrating it is to wait for items to be replenished.From the time the items are ordered to the time they arrive on your doorstep can take days and, in some cases, weeks. Yet most companies fail to account for this delay in their project estimates. The longer this takes, the more it impacts your ability to deliver and the more customers start to look elsewhere.
  4. Free cash flow.
    Ineffective inventory control can tie up cash that you could be investing in other areas of your business. Crazy to think that what may be holding your business back from increased success are covered in dust in a storage room. By implementing a better inventory control program, you can boost your cash flow almost immediately.
  5. Improve customer satisfaction rates.
    You are in business to make money and part of doing so is making your customers happy. By knowing exactly what inventory you have on hand at any given time, you can meet customer demands, improve order fulfillment and create sustainable pricing models based on accurate cost analysis, rather than relying on guesswork.

Many manufacturers are introducing vending to their facilities to vend commonly used consumables such as disposable earplugs and gloves, as well as high-value, returnable items such as drills, saws and cutting tools. With traditional coil machines, locker units and combination coil and locker machines, there’s not much that can’t be vended. What does that mean for production facilities? It means your team always has the equipment they need to work efficiently, and improved visibility in the inventory items you need to control.

M&M Sales & Equipment is excited to partner with vending and inventory control specialist 1sourcevend to offer a simple, yet powerful inventory control solution. Learn more now.

If you would like to learn whether vending might be the inventory control solution you’ve been looking for, reach out to your local M&M Sales & Equipment sales rep or branch here in West Texas.