The affordability and quality of a product are fundamental determinants of customer satisfaction.
To meet ever-rising customer expectations, companies need to design, execute and constantly improve manufacturing processes which ensure optimal product quality at a low cost, minimal waste and maximum employee safety.
This is why, many companies worldwide have embraced World Class Manufacturing (WCM) – an integrated approach to continuously improving all aspects of production performance in all areas of the production system, represented by the 10 pillars of WCM, from cost deployment to people development.
The ten pillars of World Class Manufacturing
The implementation and management of WCM involves continuously capturing and analysing data, tracking, reporting and counteracting losses and directing initiatives for continuous improvement of production processes.
WCM professionals thus have the responsibility of coordinating the design, execution, measurement and optimisation of manufacturing processes. The globalization of production, with thousands of factories spanned across the world, poses the additional challenge of consistently implementing WCM in every site. This poses the question:
How can digital technology both simplify and improve the design, execution, measurement and optimization of manufacturing processes?
With a platform which supports the self-serve, code-free maintenance and implementation of operational standards, WCM experts in the head office can configure procedures to the local requirements of every site, digitally transforming operations so that checklists, routines and workflows can be seamlessly performed and recorded on the shop floor, without the need for specialized IT support.
Digital technologies such as mobile equipment monitoring and automated alerting can help measure execution standards and ensure operational excellence in every manufacturing plant. This way, companies can easily identify areas of improvement and provide each location with specific guidance on how to raise operational standards. For example, IoT sensors can send data on incorrect equipment settings, causing reduced speed of production, and workers can receive specific guidance on how to implement a fix.
Rather than waiting for the next external assessment to identify process improvement opportunities, teams on the shop floor can pre-emptively access best practice guidance in the cloud and record the corrective actions taken. Interactive to-do lists and automated alerting for important checks can enable them to easily report issues and incidents, helping to simplify and streamline the capture of production data for every line and shift. This way, capturing data on the shop floor becomes a predictive capability, helping to pre-empt issues and continuously raise operational compliance.
WCM professionals such as facilitators or data analysts need to ensure that all production data for each line and shift is captured. They need to verify the accuracy of the data and ensure that it is securely stored, backed up and in compliance with pre-determined standards or KPIs such as throughput, capacity utilization and overall equipment effectiveness. Equipping the shop floor with digital tools to more efficiently track production data and report issues transforms the way WCM analysts are able to monitor KPIs, identify losses and initiate process improvements.
This is one of the reasons why the concept of connected factory has been gaining prominence. A connected factory provides greater access to real-time information on factory operations, inventory and supply chains and machines on production lines. With the help of a remote equipment monitoring solution, manufacturing managers are able to better capture information throughout the manufacturing process. They can more reliably automate the production process, increase manufacturing flexibility, speed product introductions and reduce network downtime, all resulting in KPI improvements1. In addition, moving records into the cloud increases visibility and makes all data accessible anytime, anywhere, unlike paper records, further facilitating KPI monitoring.
Site mangers need to measure the performance of a number of plants which is only possible if the captured data from each location is comparable. Standardising reporting across shop floors with one consistent data architecture can ensure the accuracy and reliability of evaluations and improve visibility over all sites’ performance, ensuring that they are always consistently measured against the same standards.
A continuous view on compliance and on-demand access to KPI analysis enables WCM professionals to continually identify losses and improvement opportunities, helping to realise digital operational excellence. For example, regular reports on low yield – the percentage of products that are manufactured correctly and to specifications at the first attempt without scrap or rework – indicate the need to redesign manufacturing procedures and provide the shop floor with improved best practices.
Knowledge, execution and reporting in one place for World Class Manufacturing