Toward Zero Blog

Sustain Manufacturing Performance: Stability During Turbulent Times

Manufacturers must be nimble; it is essential they have a methodology to protect and sustain manufacturing performance during turbulent times. Companies hungry to achieve operational excellence are continually assessing their performance versus their plan, questioning why they are not hitting KPIs.

How to Collect Manufacturing Data from Legacy Factory Equipment

Legacy factory equipment (manufacturing machines with no built-in data collection mechanism) presents a significant challenge when it comes to manufacturing data, particularly for companies that want to calculate OEE. That most basic of all manufacturing metrics isn’t the only reason manufacturing companies are eager to make older equipment IoT-compatible. Capturing the right data can transform manufacturing operations: it eases the disconnect between the factory and business processes, eliminates the lag time for management to access, analyze, and act on data, and resolves problems with planning, inventory control, the supply chain, and meeting customer expectations.

Performance Improvement: When Conditions Change, Find a Hidden Factory

Manufacturers are always eager to balance efficiency, reputation, and the many other factors that affect overall business performance.  Everyone agrees that performance improvement in manufacturing operations is one powerful tool companies leverage to achieve their strategic business objectives.  Even when there’s a status quo in market conditions, regulatory requirements, and other factors, nearly every manufacturing enterprise is doing something to improve manufacturing performance.  When something happens to disrupt circumstances — whether it affects just your business, many companies, or an entire group — there’s no doubt you’ll respond to your company’s best advantage.  But will you also use the experience to uncover “the hidden factory,” and discover new ways to create capacity without adding equipment?

Quality Management in Manufacturing: Paperless Quality

There are many well-documented benefits of digital factory and paperless quality initiatives for manufacturing plants.  A paperless quality system reduces costs, facilitates faster implementation of changes, provides tighter change management control, and makes quality data available for reporting and analytics systems.  Ultimately, paperless quality is already a large part of the Industry 4.0 value proposition.  As technology costs continue to drop, companies are prioritizing paperless quality initiatives.  However, many organizations struggle to migrate from their existing system to paperless quality in manufacturing.

Three Steps to Improve Production Scheduling

Production scheduling in manufacturing is complex; it’s difficult to produce a production schedule that is both achievable and meets business requirements.  Have you ever been part of an organization where the production planner’s life seems like groundhog day?…Every day, that person adjusts and re-issues the master production schedule?  If so, you probably saw lots of frustration and people continually scrambling — not just the shop floor and other internal operations teams, but also suppliers and customers. Operations has to readjust crew and equipment plans, suppliers have to rush orders, and customers often receive less than what they need.  Many organizations look squarely at the production planner to fix the issue.  The reality is that production scheduling isn’t just about production planning software; a cross-functional approach is required for success.

OEE: 3 Questions Clients Always Ask, and 4 They Should (but Don’t)

Manufacturing companies are still eager to use OEE.  Some industry analysts say that it's “dead,” but not everyone in manufacturing agrees.  Yes, it’s high-level, and as a standalone metric it’s not particularly actionable.  However it’s also a powerful measurement that nearly anyone in a company can quickly digest and use as a starting point to uncover why things aren’t going the way they’re supposed to.  That’s not to say that OEE hasn’t been the subject of significant debate — and even angst — since it first made an appearance in Seiichi Nakajima's 1982 book TPM Tenkai. (later published as Introduction to TPM: Total Productive Maintenance, also by Seiichi Nakajima).

Is Your Production Scheduling Process Helping or Hurting the Shop Floor?

A lot of companies wonder why the production schedule gets off track, and why there’s so much angst between production planners and shop floor people.  “This production schedule is ridiculous!  We just ran that last week!  What are they thinking in the office — do they even have a clue?”  Those are statements I've heard more times than I'd like to admit, and it's tough to hear.  People with these (and similar) comments are clearly frustrated and fatigued by the situation; they are simply tired of it!  Fortunately, there are lots of ways a manufacturer can create alignment and balance between shop floor staff and production planners.

Beyond Production Scheduling: Data Eliminates Conflicts

Does your company think of production planning and scheduling as simply a plant process to convert orders into a daily manufacturing plan?  If so, it might be missing out on some of the greatest opportunities to improve on-time delivery, optimize inventories, and increase profitability.  Over the years I’ve observed repeatedly how data helps companies eliminate conflicts, set priorities, and bring people together around shared objectives.  The longstanding plant-supply chain balancing act is a common one among manufacturers, and for the last five years I’ve had a front-line view of how world-class companies use data to overcome plant-supply chain conflicts.

Discovering Lean Tools and OEE

Not everyone in manufacturing roles has a lot of experience with Lean or OEE.  In fact, here we are nearly 40 years after OEE was first described in Introduction to TPM: Total Productive Maintenance , and people are still asking how to calculate OEE.  Everyone has a story about how they learned about OEE and Lean, including me.  What’s fascinating is that despite all that’s been written on these topics, manufacturing companies still struggle to capture significant value from Lean tools and OEE calculations.

Mirror Image: Manufacturing Execs, Private Equity Firms Both Seeking Value Creation

It doesn’t matter if it’s a manufacturing company looking for an investment partner, or a private equity company looking for an investment in the manufacturing sector.  Either way, it takes an expert in manufacturing enterprise operational excellence to identify, quantify, and prioritize operational improvement opportunities to deliver high ROI.

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Sustain Manufacturing Performance: Stability During Turbulent Times

Manufacturers must be nimble; it is essential they have a methodology to protect and sustain manufacturing performance during turbulent times. Companies hungry to achieve operational excellence are continually assessing their performance versus their plan, questioning why they are not hitting KPIs.

How to Collect Manufacturing Data from Legacy Factory Equipment

Legacy factory equipment (manufacturing machines with no built-in data collection mechanism) presents a significant challenge when it comes to manufacturing data, particularly for companies that want to calculate OEE. That most basic of all manufacturing metrics isn’t the only reason manufacturing companies are eager to make older equipment IoT-compatible. Capturing the right data can transform manufacturing operations: it eases the disconnect between the factory and business processes, eliminates the lag time for management to access, analyze, and act on data, and resolves problems with planning, inventory control, the supply chain, and meeting customer expectations.

Performance Improvement: When Conditions Change, Find a Hidden Factory

Manufacturers are always eager to balance efficiency, reputation, and the many other factors that affect overall business performance.  Everyone agrees that performance improvement in manufacturing operations is one powerful tool companies leverage to achieve their strategic business objectives.  Even when there’s a status quo in market conditions, regulatory requirements, and other factors, nearly every manufacturing enterprise is doing something to improve manufacturing performance.  When something happens to disrupt circumstances — whether it affects just your business, many companies, or an entire group — there’s no doubt you’ll respond to your company’s best advantage.  But will you also use the experience to uncover “the hidden factory,” and discover new ways to create capacity without adding equipment?

Quality Management in Manufacturing: Paperless Quality

There are many well-documented benefits of digital factory and paperless quality initiatives for manufacturing plants.  A paperless quality system reduces costs, facilitates faster implementation of changes, provides tighter change management control, and makes quality data available for reporting and analytics systems.  Ultimately, paperless quality is already a large part of the Industry 4.0 value proposition.  As technology costs continue to drop, companies are prioritizing paperless quality initiatives.  However, many organizations struggle to migrate from their existing system to paperless quality in manufacturing.

Three Steps to Improve Production Scheduling

Production scheduling in manufacturing is complex; it’s difficult to produce a production schedule that is both achievable and meets business requirements.  Have you ever been part of an organization where the production planner’s life seems like groundhog day?…Every day, that person adjusts and re-issues the master production schedule?  If so, you probably saw lots of frustration and people continually scrambling — not just the shop floor and other internal operations teams, but also suppliers and customers. Operations has to readjust crew and equipment plans, suppliers have to rush orders, and customers often receive less than what they need.  Many organizations look squarely at the production planner to fix the issue.  The reality is that production scheduling isn’t just about production planning software; a cross-functional approach is required for success.

OEE: 3 Questions Clients Always Ask, and 4 They Should (but Don’t)

Manufacturing companies are still eager to use OEE.  Some industry analysts say that it's “dead,” but not everyone in manufacturing agrees.  Yes, it’s high-level, and as a standalone metric it’s not particularly actionable.  However it’s also a powerful measurement that nearly anyone in a company can quickly digest and use as a starting point to uncover why things aren’t going the way they’re supposed to.  That’s not to say that OEE hasn’t been the subject of significant debate — and even angst — since it first made an appearance in Seiichi Nakajima's 1982 book TPM Tenkai. (later published as Introduction to TPM: Total Productive Maintenance, also by Seiichi Nakajima).

Is Your Production Scheduling Process Helping or Hurting the Shop Floor?

A lot of companies wonder why the production schedule gets off track, and why there’s so much angst between production planners and shop floor people.  “This production schedule is ridiculous!  We just ran that last week!  What are they thinking in the office — do they even have a clue?”  Those are statements I've heard more times than I'd like to admit, and it's tough to hear.  People with these (and similar) comments are clearly frustrated and fatigued by the situation; they are simply tired of it!  Fortunately, there are lots of ways a manufacturer can create alignment and balance between shop floor staff and production planners.

Beyond Production Scheduling: Data Eliminates Conflicts

Does your company think of production planning and scheduling as simply a plant process to convert orders into a daily manufacturing plan?  If so, it might be missing out on some of the greatest opportunities to improve on-time delivery, optimize inventories, and increase profitability.  Over the years I’ve observed repeatedly how data helps companies eliminate conflicts, set priorities, and bring people together around shared objectives.  The longstanding plant-supply chain balancing act is a common one among manufacturers, and for the last five years I’ve had a front-line view of how world-class companies use data to overcome plant-supply chain conflicts.

Discovering Lean Tools and OEE

Not everyone in manufacturing roles has a lot of experience with Lean or OEE.  In fact, here we are nearly 40 years after OEE was first described in Introduction to TPM: Total Productive Maintenance , and people are still asking how to calculate OEE.  Everyone has a story about how they learned about OEE and Lean, including me.  What’s fascinating is that despite all that’s been written on these topics, manufacturing companies still struggle to capture significant value from Lean tools and OEE calculations.

Mirror Image: Manufacturing Execs, Private Equity Firms Both Seeking Value Creation

It doesn’t matter if it’s a manufacturing company looking for an investment partner, or a private equity company looking for an investment in the manufacturing sector.  Either way, it takes an expert in manufacturing enterprise operational excellence to identify, quantify, and prioritize operational improvement opportunities to deliver high ROI.

1 2 3 4