Smart Manufacturing Blog

Supply chain experts, smart manufacturing engineers, data and applications architects, and manufacturing business consultants share best practices for using smart manufacturing and supply chain solutions.

Aaron Muhl

Aaron Muhl
President



Aaron is the President of Toward Zero, and is passionate about the role manufacturing plays in our society and quality of life.
Find me on:

Recent Posts

Planning, Scheduling, and OEE: A Mighty (but Untapped) Trio - Part 1

Is your company using overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) data for better planning, scheduling, and optimization? Production schedulers are typically masters at applying available information in creative ways. However, some production planners are unsure how best to put OEE data to work in their production scheduling software to improve and optimize the manufacturing production schedule. If your company has an OEE system to record unplanned downtime, micro stops, and other reasons for capacity loss, you have access to a rich source of efficiency data. Every machine, line, and work center using the OEE system can benefit even more from your schedule optimization efforts if you apply the OEE data for a better production schedule. The key is understanding what the OEE data means and how to use it for even better planning, scheduling, and optimization.

This is part one of a two-part series. Check back for part two on May 31.

OPC UA & MTConnect: Which Data Protocol Better for Smart Manufacturing

As companies continue to prepare for digital transformation, the debate around which data protocol is better for smart manufacturing systems rages on. The need to capture data from HAAS machines and other manufacturing equipment is a critical component because much of the data required for smart manufacturing originates in your company’s machines, robots, processing equipment, and inspection equipment. In some cases, the data resides in a computer on board the equipment; in many cases, the data sits in a proprietary controller. These data sources use a wide variety of protocols. Many standards organizations have attempted to consolidate communication protocols. A few leaders have emerged, but that perhaps has made decisions about how to capture machine data for smart manufacturing even more complex.

How to Handle Unplanned Downtime on the Production Schedule

Your company's production planner might be searching for a better way to handle unplanned downtime on the production schedule. Without the right production planning and scheduling software, dealing with unplanned downtime in manufacturing can be a headache. Yet unplanned downtime happens more often than people think: An unexpected maintenance issue causes a machine to stop working. Material is late or misplaced. A changeover takes longer than anticipated. Perhaps a trained operator is unexpectedly out for the day. Dozens of scenarios like these cause lines to stop. When unplanned downtime happens, everyone is relying on the production planner to make the right adjustments to minimize the impact on customer service commitments, staffing schedules, and operations in general.

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.

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.

IIoT and OEE

When we have conversations with manufacturing leaders around the country there are two topics that are brought up more than any others. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

How to select the right OEE software

You want to select OEE software that matches your manufacturing process, integrates with your existing manufacturing technology, and will be accepted by your people.  

Free Production Schedule Template: New for 2020

We just released a new free production schedule template for 2020 — it’s now bundled together with our free production planning software trial.  You can use the all-new template as-is, or we can configure it with your operations data like job number, operation number, need-by date, work center, quantity, and minutes per unit.

Production Planning and Scheduling Basics

Finite Capacity Scheduling is a method of production planning and scheduling that manufacturing companies use to maximize asset usage based on materials and orders on hand. Typically the most expensive, and thus the most valuable resource in your facility is your equipment.  Each piece of equipment has a limited or finite capacity, and the goal is always to maximize usage of these resources.

Toward Zero IIoT leadership recognized by Kepware

Toward Zero has been recognized for it's Internet of Things (IoT) leadership by being named a Kepware Silver System Integrator.

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Aaron Muhl

Aaron Muhl
President



Aaron is the President of Toward Zero, and is passionate about the role manufacturing plays in our society and quality of life.
Find me on:

Recent Posts

Planning, Scheduling, and OEE: A Mighty (but Untapped) Trio - Part 1

Is your company using overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) data for better planning, scheduling, and optimization? Production schedulers are typically masters at applying available information in creative ways. However, some production planners are unsure how best to put OEE data to work in their production scheduling software to improve and optimize the manufacturing production schedule. If your company has an OEE system to record unplanned downtime, micro stops, and other reasons for capacity loss, you have access to a rich source of efficiency data. Every machine, line, and work center using the OEE system can benefit even more from your schedule optimization efforts if you apply the OEE data for a better production schedule. The key is understanding what the OEE data means and how to use it for even better planning, scheduling, and optimization.

This is part one of a two-part series. Check back for part two on May 31.

OPC UA & MTConnect: Which Data Protocol Better for Smart Manufacturing

As companies continue to prepare for digital transformation, the debate around which data protocol is better for smart manufacturing systems rages on. The need to capture data from HAAS machines and other manufacturing equipment is a critical component because much of the data required for smart manufacturing originates in your company’s machines, robots, processing equipment, and inspection equipment. In some cases, the data resides in a computer on board the equipment; in many cases, the data sits in a proprietary controller. These data sources use a wide variety of protocols. Many standards organizations have attempted to consolidate communication protocols. A few leaders have emerged, but that perhaps has made decisions about how to capture machine data for smart manufacturing even more complex.

How to Handle Unplanned Downtime on the Production Schedule

Your company's production planner might be searching for a better way to handle unplanned downtime on the production schedule. Without the right production planning and scheduling software, dealing with unplanned downtime in manufacturing can be a headache. Yet unplanned downtime happens more often than people think: An unexpected maintenance issue causes a machine to stop working. Material is late or misplaced. A changeover takes longer than anticipated. Perhaps a trained operator is unexpectedly out for the day. Dozens of scenarios like these cause lines to stop. When unplanned downtime happens, everyone is relying on the production planner to make the right adjustments to minimize the impact on customer service commitments, staffing schedules, and operations in general.

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.

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.

IIoT and OEE

When we have conversations with manufacturing leaders around the country there are two topics that are brought up more than any others. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

How to select the right OEE software

You want to select OEE software that matches your manufacturing process, integrates with your existing manufacturing technology, and will be accepted by your people.  

Free Production Schedule Template: New for 2020

We just released a new free production schedule template for 2020 — it’s now bundled together with our free production planning software trial.  You can use the all-new template as-is, or we can configure it with your operations data like job number, operation number, need-by date, work center, quantity, and minutes per unit.

Production Planning and Scheduling Basics

Finite Capacity Scheduling is a method of production planning and scheduling that manufacturing companies use to maximize asset usage based on materials and orders on hand. Typically the most expensive, and thus the most valuable resource in your facility is your equipment.  Each piece of equipment has a limited or finite capacity, and the goal is always to maximize usage of these resources.

Toward Zero IIoT leadership recognized by Kepware

Toward Zero has been recognized for it's Internet of Things (IoT) leadership by being named a Kepware Silver System Integrator.

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