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Is achieving optimum manufacturing flow a dream? (Part 1)

Let’s say we are chasing that dream….

What would be the goal to achieving optimum manufacturing flow?

Identifying areas of bottlenecks in the manufacturing process, and systematically implementing systems and/or processes to eliminate those bottlenecks and further optimize the operations. Process engineering, production planning, SMT, material handling and manual assembly are all areas that will be reviewed to evaluate how to potentially optimize the flow in each of those areas, and optimize flow overall.

There are many opportunities for improvement in factories, and only those willing to investigate, identify, plan and act to make changes, will succeed. Can you lose business because a factory has lead-times and delivery times longer than their competition, due to an less-than optimized factory? Absolutely!

Managing schedule

In many factories an ERP may create a production schedule. However, they find that a tactical shop-floor schedule needs to be created as well, to compensate for the real-time changes of machine availability, material availability, feeder availability and material supply-form. This is done tools such as MS Excel or a large board on the factory floor.

Key production bottlenecks introduced in production scheduling include:

  • Scheduling work orders with material not available to KIT
  • Scheduling sequence of work orders the inefficient changeovers
  • No visibility to material availability to ensure ECN or Revision update cut-ins.
  • Work Order cut-in into current schedule as material suddenly available.

Ideally, if we could put all the products that are scheduled to be built into a part and capacity analyzer, a “Line Executive”, which would advise them of what products may work together based on factory capacity and part distribution and what can be built based on material availability that would reduce bottlenecks. The production planner can identify the products that need to run on a particular day on particular assembly lines and the software can build optimal schedules and setups, limiting the need to wait for changeovers and risk of parts not being available would be dramatically reduced. Changeovers are non-value add task.

Line Executive - Scheduling

The “Line Executive” or scheduling software should have the following characteristics:

* Allow planners to change the order of products and groups in the sequence easily. The system should immediately reflect the affects of the change on the overall production plan and timeline.

* Identify material availability risk, BEFORE committing a product to a production plan

* Minimize changeovers by grouping products based on materials needed, machine capacity, feeder inventory

* Assign production start or end times

* Let the system calculate the remaining times available for production (effects of active production plan)

* Timeline will be updated based on production times

* Manage working / non-working time (shifts, hours of production)

* Export schedule as text or Excel

Products and Parts optimization

Production schedulers using the system above would reduce or virtually eliminate “buffering” the planning lead-times, which normally leads to elevated work-in-process levels and part inventory levels. Managing the production schedule while knowing the affects of moving products in and out on the overall production schedule, material availability and due dates, and being able to produce efficient optimized machine setups would dramatically reduce bottlenecks at production preparation and material setup.

Bringing in tools to better optimize tactical factory scheduling would be a huge step in achieving the goal of an “optimized factory”.

This is part 1 of a 4 part series of blogs coming your way to focus optimizing key aspects of a factory.

I look forward to your continued comments….

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About Jay Gorajia Follow on Twitter

Jay GorajiaJay Gorajia is Worldwide Consulting Manager, PCB DFM and Manufacturing Solutions, for the Consulting Division of Mentor Graphics. He works to improve efficiency and help define productivity solutions in design, manufacturing engineering and production for OEMs and PCB Assembly manufacturers. Mr. Gorajia holds a Bachelor’s degree (B.Sc.) in Electronic Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in Technology Management. He has published a number of articles and White Papers in industry leading technical magazines and industry conferences. Visit Electronics Assembly .… Exposed

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