SUPPLY CHAIN EFFICIENCY
to optimize production practices by navigating from data to dashboards to decisions. In doing so, they will apply mined information
toward comprehensive yet digestible operational feedback that, in
turn, leads to logical adjustments for improved production practices.
Data. Unique unit-level serial numbers for enhanced supply chain product visibility are only the beginning. Emerging Io T
technologies like wireless sensors and gateways offer opportunities to enhance datasets collected by traditional “
transaction-based”systems like ERP, MES and WMS. Additional environmental and location-based data can tremendously enrich previously
untapped metrics with unprecedented granularity. If there’s a
fourth D, it’s“details.”
Dashboard. Converting raw data into actionable insights
through business and management platforms, made available to
personnel throughout an organization depending on their specific roles. For example, managers could access live dashboards
showing all production lines, and view pre-configured reports
showcasing exceptions, trends, and downtimes in unprecedented
detail. Undesirable situations can be addressed faster and more
effectively. Conversely, optimum outcomes are identified so that
ideal conditions can be replicated.
Decisions. Data and dashboards are utilized for critical resourcing and prioritization decisions. For example, scheduling
work orders on shop floors using real-time data and historical
trends can significantly improve resource utilization and over-time/waste reduction, while increasing capacity and throughput.
TRACKING YOUR TRACK & TRACE OPERATIONS
Recently, a client faced the challenge of significant efficiency loss
while upgrading a pilot bottle packaging line with serialization/
aggregation technologies. Concerned with post-compliance OEE
impact, our two companies jointly developed a solution that digitally tracked line operations. We called it OEE Tracker. The project
ran for a year, expanding into all facility packaging lines. The tracking system proved highly successful in revealing a variety of issues.
By replacing manual and/or paper-based tracking activities with
digital tracking capabilities, the starkest improvement occurred
in operational visibility. Live dashboards of operations detailed
unexpected stops and production delays, revealing root causes
and pinpointing their locations. Implemented on multiple lines,
the OEE Tracker also afforded comparisons between similar lines,
indicating each line’s strong and weak points.
Through digital tracking, certain procedure-driven activities
showed significant variability in duration. Here, digital factory
implementation feeds upon itself by identifying sources of variability and, in turn, allowing manufacturers to hone in on the root
causes of these variabilities. For example, in many cases knowing
the number of operators available to conduct a certain procedure
makes the procedure’s duration more predictable.
Once the visibility and newly found capability of “variability
tracking” were in place, our client was able to define what is“reg-
ular” or“acceptable,” and what is an exception. Tracked activities
are assigned an expected duration, as well as maximum (and in
certain cases minimum) allowed duration. Algorithms automat-
ing the reporting of exceptions provide reports highlighting ex-
ceptions for managers to analyze and ultimately improve upon.
Another important area the OEE Tracker troubleshoots is real-time personnel allocation: the time it takes to find the proper
personnel for a project, exactly when required, at any given line.
For example, bringing the right quality assurance (QA) personnel
to release the line after it has been cleaned could sometimes take
up to an hour. Similarly, getting the right mechanic to a line for
impromptu maintenance causes costly line stoppages. A simple
“call support” function implemented in the OEE Tracker solution
now notifies desired workers via emails/texts with comprehensive instructions on when and where to report.
SCHEDULING AND BEYOND
Of course, real improvement in efficiency isn’t possible until a
true change of operational behavior occurs. The incorporation of
digital tracking already contributed to our client’s OEE performance; without any policy change, an improvement of 10-15%
is achieved by the change in behavior of supervisors & operators.
More fundamental performance improvement, however, required a fresh look at how work-orders were scheduled—an effort to minimize overtime and reduce changeovers. Given a digitally strong foundation of OEE Tracker and a digital log of all shop
floor activities, a more robust scheduling process was created. Early
results from the analysis of actual monthly schedule data is quite
promising, with 10-20% reduction in labor cost—primarily due to
reduced over-time—and a potential increase in capacity/throughput
of 20-40% through improved scheduling capabilities; namely, ones
using mathematical modeling and machine learning algorithms to
constantly improve data-sets for more informed decision making.
In all, our work with our client improved the way they manage
their packaging operations. After incorporating the OEE tracker,
the company quickly highlighted areas that impeded productivity, calculating and ultimately utilizing metrics for line operations
that significantly improved efficiency. Having worked extensively
with our client, we have concluded that while data is important,
all three aspects of“3D”—including dashboards for operational
insights and decisions for actual step change in behavior—must
work together to form a complete solution, one that we know is
possible with the support of software solutions, Io T sensors and
an open-minded and supportive leadership. CP
EVREN OZKAYA, PH.D., is founder and chief executive officer of Supply
Chain Wizard, LLC. Dedicated to optimizing operations for growth, service
and efficiency, Supply Chain Wizard offers strategic innovations in products
and services targeting serialization and supply chain transformation initiatives,
along with a team of consultants providing comprehensive support toward
cost-effective compliance with serialization mandates and post-go-live operational support.