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The manufacturing industry is changing rapidly due to the influence of technology. These changes have presented many challenges for big and small players in the industry. These challenges however, also provide manufacturers with innumerable opportunities to solve difficulties in innovative ways which in turn helps them to gain new manufacturing capacities.
This can be done by thoroughly scanning the manufacturing operations. For instance, identifying areas of improvement within existing operations by accessing real-time manufacturing information and utilizing actionable insights for manufacturing improvements.
Here are few steps that can help manufacturers to unlock hidden capacities:
Step-1: Reduce unplanned and operational downtime
In an industry where reliability is key, an unplanned operational downtime can cause a huge loss to the business. Sometimes it is possible to eliminate an entire loss category with a simple change in work practice. For example, some companies discovered that it can be very effective if they eliminate a specific loss category by replacing small parts, or increasing the frequency of routine maintenance. Efforts to reduce unplanned and operational downtime have a high probability of success.
Step-2: Reduce minor stops
Minor stops are short-duration hesitations and stops, usually less than five minutes—short enough to be “unnoticed” but long enough to disrupt the business and productivity. Examples: Waiting for a machine to index, emptying a mould during press operation, a sensor fault or product blockage.
Minor stops can reappear and hence you should have a statutory inspection and routine maintenance of machines. To sustain gains, world-class manufacturers use Root Cause Analysis(RCA) and continue to implement alternative steps leading to a 50-75% reduction in minor stops.
Step-3: Eliminate production variability and quality loss
Production consistency leads to a more reliable and predictable supply chain. It increases the rate of first time “perfect orders” while cutting time lost due to rework. Stable lines run at higher production rates consistently, resulting in higher volume.
Quality loss and rejected product has a double impact: material and labour. A standard overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) calculation includes a production reject as a lost opportunity for production which impacts on capacity. Therefore, when calculating OEE (Overall equipment effectiveness), it is important to consider the cost of both material and labour.
Consider this: the cost of material can be four times the cost of labor. From a pure cost perspective, a 1% first-pass reject rate translates to 4% loss. You can vary the analysis to reflect production improvement, cost reduction and probability of success.
Step-4: Establish improvement priorities in financial context
It is important to realize that not all downtime is equal. Applying cost information with the same analysis may reveal an entirely different perspective—the cost of downtime. A cost-of-downtime analysis can be used to establish priorities with a financial context. Moreover, a probability of success analysis across loss categories will prepare operations professionals to prioritize efforts, and achieve sustainable improvements.
Operations excellence professionals generally focus on lean practices to establish production priorities. To quantify the financial impact of each category, it is necessary to understand material and labour cost components. Labour-intensive operations have a greater risk of downtime throughout the entire manufacturing process. Meanwhile, operations with high material costs experience significant material loss at the end of production line. Waste and material loss due to rework may be more significant than the cost of labour.
The best and easiest way to create capacity is to scrutinize operations with manufacturing intelligence applications that monitors and analyses manufacturing operations in real-time. These applications provide crucial information to help you quickly find the capacity you need, without costly investments for new machinery, additional labour cost, or contract manufacturing.