In my last blog post, I talked about three steps to improving productivity in made-to-order manufacturing environments. These steps were: Establish standard processes using standard inputs Ensuring information and manufacturing flows Automate or Autonomate In this article I want to explore the step carried out prior to any of these, that was briefly touched upon Read More...on
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All the talk at present is about productivity and how we can’t, as a nation, afford to pay ourselves more as productivity has not improved. The productivity being talked about is the value we create per individual. Within a production environment we can define value add as the new margin (sales value minus direct costs Read More...on
In recent years much of my work has been within ‘make to order’ environments where the products are tailored to the specific requirements of customers. As is so often the case, managers are focused on keeping the production staff busy, sometimes pulling orders forward when demand is slack. This risks customer’s changing requirements resulting in Read More...on
Recently I have been working with manufacturing companies which make to order because the product they make is specified by the customer prior to manufacture. In both cases the process of manufacture is consistent, it is just the size of the product that varies. Orders typically involve a mix of sizes. One manufacturer has semi-automated Read More...on
A lot of companies record a lot of data. Financial information, orders, process data, people data, quality data, outcome data. This data is often used to check whether things are OK or not. What about using this data to answer those questions we’d love to answer? Such questions include: Why is my rework so high? Read More...on
As companies grow and employ more staff, the dynamics change. Everything is different when there are 25 employees as opposed to 6. In the dot com era, the fast growing companies that were spinouts from large companies really enjoyed their freedom to act. Then, as they grew, they found the maximum number of employees they Read More...on
Human beings are creatures of habit – so embracing change can be a big challenge for us, especially in the workplace. However, when a business is failing, or not performing in the way we want it to, change is clearly required. So why do some companies seek advice from consultants like us, ask us to Read More...on
Being part of a long supply chain can be fraught with difficulties – often thanks to product demand. As a cog in such a system, you may have experienced large peaks and troughs in manufacturing loads and inventories. This issue is known as the Forrester Effect. In 1961, Jay Forrester wrote an article about the Read More...on
It’s a problem-solving technique with proven results, yet Six Sigma is sometimes equated with using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. However, if you get to grips with working inside its structure and understand the tools it employs, Six Sigma can transform the performance of your business. So, how does it work? There are three Read More...on
One of the best methods of measuring how well a production line is running is Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). To help explain how OEE works, below is an example. Example I have a plant that I know runs at 10 tes per hour when everything is great. It runs 24 hours a day. That means in theory I Read More...on