3 min read
3 Manufacturing Slow Downs that are Impacting Your Bottom Line
By: Ed Deaton on July 13, 2018 at 11:15 AM
Production and profit had plateaued at a Midwest Composites manufacturer. Orders were consistent enough to turn a small profit, but margins were paper-thin and the workforce was aging out of their roles.
With an influx of inexperienced new hires joining the company, the Production Manager (PM) had the idea of using a stopwatch to measure employee efficiency in the hopes of finding areas of opportunity. What this PM quickly realized was that it wasn’t his team that needed redirection; it was his processes.
These are the 3 process changes that increased production and profitability across his shop:
- The Chain of Approval
The first issue is well known to manufacturers of every industry: a simple supervisor sign off.
When a non-conformance required a Supervisor to sign off before the Operator could continue, the PM started his stopwatch. Sign offs are commonplace and, in most cases, a non-issue. However, in this instance, the only Supervisor with authority was on the opposite end of the shop floor.
After tracking the amount of time required to simply locate, wait and walk back to the work center with the Supervisor, a shocking realization came to the PM. In the time wasted locating approval, this Operator could have completed an addition 3 pieces of work. When taking a moment to consider how frequently these occurrences take place, the amount of waste impacting the bottom line quickly added up.
- Change Management Control
The second major slow down occurred when an experienced operator caught an error in a plan’s work instructions. These instructions had been used by less experienced workers to complete dozens of parts over the past week.
Not only did work on that line need to be shut down until a fix could be planned and approved, but the parts that had already been completed were difficult to differentiate due to limited traceability.
This shift in the schedule caused bottlenecks at fixed-time ovens slowing down production even more. There was no quick fix and once again, the clock continued to tick cutting into profit and pushing delivery dates.
- The Problem with Paper
Lastly, after seeing the negative impact of everyday processes on profitable time, the Production Manager returned to his desk. He pulled records of previous quarters in an effort to verify if what he had seen on the floor could be as common as he feared.
After spilling over binders of paper reports, searching through spreadsheets and digging through a homegrown Access database, the third problem became clear. Not only was the data in front of him unreliable, but the amount of time required to find the information he needed was as wasteful as wandering the shop floor for a sign off.
One Complete Solution
It was only after recognizing the root causes of waste that this manufacturer could explore potential solutions. After connecting with his manufacturing network and discussing potential solutions with multiple software vendors, he determined his shop needed a Manufacturing Execution System to get production under control.
Real-time production visibility, order traceability and complete process control were required to eliminate non-value-added time and increase production. The proper Supervisors could be alerted at the click of a button and management could update change orders across the entire shop in an instant eliminating walk-around time and increasing efficiency on every part.
The data collected from each build ensured Quality standards were met on every order and gave the management team the high level data they required to keep production on schedule.
The Quantum® MES/MOM delivers the order traceability, audit control and production efficiency your shop needs to compete in a global market. Complete orders ahead of schedule and under budget with the manufacturing system designed for your industry. Build it right with Quantum.
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