The economy is steam-rolling, and your manufacturing business is in full tilt. So, the question is, with your current plant floor operating philosophy and capability, are your customer’s more satisfied than before the uptick?
Your customer’s satisfaction is based to a large extent on your operational team’s capability to hit targets related to the Big 5: Quality, Speed, Dependability, Flexibility and Cost. Consider your track record on delivering on time and at the expected level of quality. Is there room for improvement? How have your customer’s expectations changed? Are you prepared? There are certainly many factors to consider, but let’s focus here on how well your people and your production equipment perform and hit key targets.
If demand is strong and your production lines are not producing, your business is likely losing money, customers and future opportunity. To “stop the bleeding”, you need to get a good handle on WHY your equipment is not producing (downtime) and how it can be corrected? Can you decide with confidence whether you need to add more capacity or if you can squeeze more production out of existing assets?
When implementing downtime tracking systems, equipment states commonly include Idle, Planned Downtime, Unplanned Downtime and Running/Producing. It also helps to know the reasons why the equipment is in that state. Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and other continuous improvement methodologies can then be employed to reduce or eliminate those conditions. The downtime reasons are either captured at the control system (PLC) level or from operating personnel on the line. Either way, this information along with accurate downtime frequency and duration needs to be collected and analyzed before you can increase operational efficiency.
Does this sound like a lot of work and too much to tackle during this busy season? In the past, perhaps. But things are changing on the technology front that is shifting how fast these projects can produce results. The faster a solution can be implemented with the least amount of “friction”, the better. With so much demand on your time, measuring “time to value” in days instead of weeks or months probably sounds good. Oh, and by the way, if we can get the downtime tracking project completed without a capital expenditure request, fantastic!
Wonderware’s new cloud-based downtime product does just that. This system is near “zero install” typically utilizing existing, on-premise computing resources for data acquisition only. The rest is in the cloud removing the need to add more on-premise computing power. Don’t forget the subscription licensing & support model which substantially lowers the cost of entry for solutions like this shifting typically to operating budgets.
Advances in technology are accelerating everyone’s ability to improve business, retain customers and reduce the cost of acquiring new customers. InSource and Wonderware can help move the needle on operational performance with “frictionless” solution. Not using OEE as a key performance indicator? InSource can help you develop a program and methodology to take advantage of this often-used operational metric.