Toward Zero Blog

3 Steps to Uncover Hidden Manufacturing Production Capacity

Are manufacturers aware they have hidden production capacity?  Companies that find and free up hidden production capacity can avoid costly equipment purchases, open the door for additional sales, or reduce the time and cost of existing production.

I’ve been a part of organizations that were struggling to satisfy customer demand — we simply could not produce enough product, or at least the right product at the right time. Determining how to resolve the issue would often put the operations engineering and production planning teams at odds. The solution most obvious to engineering was to continue running products in basically the same lot sizes, but at higher speeds. This approach required expensive new equipment. Besides the equipment purchase, there were other significant costs: inventory builds, downtime for installation, debug after installation, and operator training.

Deciding if Production Scheduling Software is Right for Your Company

If you’re an operations leader or a production planner in manufacturing, you might know how hard it is to get top management approval for production scheduling software. Where technology funding is concerned, senior executives will often question why the ERP system isn’t enough to keep the daily manufacturing schedule on track. However, the ERP system isn’t usually equipped to handle events that happen in real time on the shop floor. When everyday problems disrupt production orders, the people in charge of production scheduling and operations management can join forces to decide if production scheduling software is right for the manufacturing company. Building a business case for production scheduling software helps you quantify the financial impact, articulate how it impacts business goals, and create a powerful tool for engaging corporate executives.

OEE & Automated Data Collection – You Can’t Afford Not To

Manufacturers serious about improving OEE need to invest in automated data collection. Though the intention of manual data collection is good, this approach doesn’t provide real-time insight or the level of accuracy and detail that an automated data collection can produce. Perhaps more importantly, automated data collection helps you shift employees’ attention to high-value work like running machines and solving problems that hinder operational performance.

Savvy Manufacturer: Making Manufacturing Performance Gains Stick

If your manufacturing business has ever survived a crisis — supply chain disruption, market demand fluctuation, distribution problems, or perhaps even a natural or economic catastrophe — it had an uncommon opportunity to shine through the adversity. More importantly it gives you a chance to learn from the outcomes generated by the organization’s responses to the disaster.  We don’t know any that are eager to flush it all away — not just the performance gains, but the opportunity to do even more with the unexpected wisdom.

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).

1 2 3 4 5

3 Steps to Uncover Hidden Manufacturing Production Capacity

Are manufacturers aware they have hidden production capacity?  Companies that find and free up hidden production capacity can avoid costly equipment purchases, open the door for additional sales, or reduce the time and cost of existing production.

I’ve been a part of organizations that were struggling to satisfy customer demand — we simply could not produce enough product, or at least the right product at the right time. Determining how to resolve the issue would often put the operations engineering and production planning teams at odds. The solution most obvious to engineering was to continue running products in basically the same lot sizes, but at higher speeds. This approach required expensive new equipment. Besides the equipment purchase, there were other significant costs: inventory builds, downtime for installation, debug after installation, and operator training.

Deciding if Production Scheduling Software is Right for Your Company

If you’re an operations leader or a production planner in manufacturing, you might know how hard it is to get top management approval for production scheduling software. Where technology funding is concerned, senior executives will often question why the ERP system isn’t enough to keep the daily manufacturing schedule on track. However, the ERP system isn’t usually equipped to handle events that happen in real time on the shop floor. When everyday problems disrupt production orders, the people in charge of production scheduling and operations management can join forces to decide if production scheduling software is right for the manufacturing company. Building a business case for production scheduling software helps you quantify the financial impact, articulate how it impacts business goals, and create a powerful tool for engaging corporate executives.

OEE & Automated Data Collection – You Can’t Afford Not To

Manufacturers serious about improving OEE need to invest in automated data collection. Though the intention of manual data collection is good, this approach doesn’t provide real-time insight or the level of accuracy and detail that an automated data collection can produce. Perhaps more importantly, automated data collection helps you shift employees’ attention to high-value work like running machines and solving problems that hinder operational performance.

Savvy Manufacturer: Making Manufacturing Performance Gains Stick

If your manufacturing business has ever survived a crisis — supply chain disruption, market demand fluctuation, distribution problems, or perhaps even a natural or economic catastrophe — it had an uncommon opportunity to shine through the adversity. More importantly it gives you a chance to learn from the outcomes generated by the organization’s responses to the disaster.  We don’t know any that are eager to flush it all away — not just the performance gains, but the opportunity to do even more with the unexpected wisdom.

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).

1 2 3 4 5