We’ve talked before about decision methodology. In brief, the theory we follow for manufacturers is that to stay competitive, you must always make your decisions based on the information currently present. Collecting more information could be helpful, but spend too much time here, and you have analysis paralysis.
The basic tenet of the model is this: review the current landscape of the situation and make a decision based on prior experience and present details. This is a delicate balance. Rely too much on experience and you may be blind to what’s currently sitting in front of you. Ignore the past and you may repeat something you’ve tried that doesn’t work.
In manufacturing, production’s always moving. (We seem to say this a lot, because it’s the unique thing that affects all manufacturers and many of them don’t take it into account.) We’re not talking manufacturing with continuous production here. Make an order for a customer or do just about anything other than build the same part to inventory all day and you’re in constant motion. All production moves. All the time. So whatever problem you have is getting worse (or at least different) the longer you wait to decide to do something about it.
At the best, it may be that you have things stacking up in the aisles or in an area waiting for a resolution group to do something about it. (In the case of one customer we have, they had more inventory in the area for the problem review board than in outgoing parts.) At the worst, you may have operators that are moving around the shop looking for people to help them, whether that be the quality engineer or the supervisor.
Whether they’re tripping in the aisles, rooting around trying to find things or just waiting for direction, this is costly. It’s money you’re spending that is not built into your budget, your cost centers or your sales. What are you doing about it? More importantly, if you don’t know exactly how much it’s costing you in productivity and profitability, how can you fix it?
We’ve built a production review into our sales process. For prospects that don’t know how to identify the most critical and costly areas of their production that need help, it focuses the project on the things that need to be most urgently repaired. Ask the expert that you’re working with for their advice; no one’s better positioned to lay out what’s possible. Better yet – what’s possible specifically for you.
The start of any project to improve production should be focused on getting the data that you need to make better decisions. So when something does go “off the rails” in production, you better know how to fix it. What kind of data do you need?
It is critical to know if all the work you currently have in production is going to be ready to ship on-time. Even better, if you know what’s holding you up, what’s running smoothly and what problems you need to fix. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Those are some pretty sophisticated measures, right?
Not necessarily. We’ll break this down in next week’s blog on intelligent Scheduling.
Researching your next shop floor solution? Start with the fundamentals:
What the Size of Your Shop Says About Your Production Needs
To learn more about protecting your shop and keeping production on track, visit www.CIMx.com.