Cimlogic Solutions: Manufacturing visibility – Where to look for improvement
Author: Fraser Thomson, Business Development Manager, Cimlogic Ltd
Part 4 of 9 Cimlogic Solutions Blog Posts
“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”
― H. James Harrington
We’ve all heard this statement right?
I’d go one, two or even three steps further when it comes to looking for improvements in our manufacturing processes…
1. You need to measure it accurately
2. You need to receive the data in a timely fashion
3. The information needs to be obvious and in people’s faces
So onto the first statement, accuracy. People are naturally inaccurate. There will be rounding errors in data, small portions of information will be missed, and let’s face it occasionally people will make things up! Think about your daily production totals, currently being recorded on paper possibly rounded to the nearest 100 or 1000 units. Paper based OEE data with no minor stops or rate loss… the story goes on.
Equipment can tell us this information, it can tell us how many units we’ve produced to the nearest 1, and the downtime for the day to the nearest second. But, be careful, whilst it can be accurate it will lack depth and context, for example, a machine can tell you it stopped for 32 seconds because the Estop was pressed, but only the operator can tell you why they pressed it! There is a balance between automatic data capture and manual data capture, and this is where it is.
Statement 2… if we review our factory downtime data at the end of the week, we have already lost the opportunity to make a difference in the week just gone. Or my favourite, if we get a bad QC result after we have produced our 500 Tonne batch rather than 2 Tonnes in, we will have to scrap a lot more product. All this adds up to cost and pound notes.
And finally in relation to the third statement, when you are capturing accurate, timely data, who are you going to present it to and in what way will be most meaning full to them?
You shop floor operators need to know when the line is down, are they on target, do they need to make real time improvements to hit their daily production schedule?
Your planners need to know when the line will be in changeover and when the production run will be completed.
Your MD will want to know if all the available capacity is being utilised.
The right information to the right person at the right time for an informed business decision!
If I could stress one point alone, it would be good visual management, visually presentation of the current running conditions and performance to targets to the shop floor. These are the people in your organisation that can make a real difference. I’ve seen cases where production output has improved week on week by over 50%, without any LEAN, six sigma, kaizen… just by the operators being engaged and aware of where they are and where they need to be.
Information not Data!