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Is achieving optimum manufacturing flow a dream? (Part 2)

Jay Gorajia

Jay Gorajia

Posted Dec 21, 2010

Let’s say we are chasing that dream…. what would be the goal to achieving optimum manufacturing flow?

This is the 2nd post in a series of how to achieve optimum manufacturing flow in an assembly factory.

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!

Material Velocity

Without a doubt, the largest variable cost in manufacturing is material. Purchased components sitting in stock depreciate and eat away at value. Material sitting on the factory floor as WIP also costs money and goes into a void where only regular inventory counts or manual material counts bring them back into view…normally a bit too late to make any adjustments before it hits the Inventory Turns metric. Highly interoperable systems allow this communication seamlessly.

However, one of the most painful bottlenecks in production lines is parts exhaustion. What happens then? Typically, the SMT machine alerts the operator, then operator runs to a sub-store or stock area, pulls the material (or worse orders the material and waits), while the machine sits idle. How can this be reduced or eliminated? Again, we go to a systematic approach.

What if there was a way to completely eliminate the problem of material shortages on the production floor? What if you knew exactly how much material was needed and not too much was ordered, “just in case”?

The average factory sees about five material shortages per line per week, according to a study by the Aberdeen Group (Table 1).

Aberdeen-Factory Performance Metrics (Material)

While that material is being pulled, production is stopped, adding to the opportunity cost. To eliminate the possibility of parts exhaustion on the manufacturing floor, material pulled from stock, kitted and prepared for production also needs to be monitored in real-time on the floor. As feeder errors, nozzle rejects and component drops add to the consumption of issued material, the stock room needs to be alerted and advised of:

1. What material is needed (Part Number).

2. From where (Location in Stock).

3. Delivered to location (Line and Machine).

Only if a SMT monitoring system is interoperating with a material management solution in real-time, which is polling the consumption and generating these “material pull” instructions can this be achieved. However, just knowing that a part will be out is not enough. An alert when material is exhausted in a machine or feeder provides no additional value. In most cases, that’s the status quo.

To be of true value, the alert must be predictive in nature. If the monitoring system provided low-level warnings that a part will be out after five boards or 10 boards, then we can truly react in time to provide material “Just in Time.” Eliminating machine wait time due to parts exhaustion and moving material around the factory more efficiently reduces both of those bottlenecks and optimizes the material velocity, further improving the cost of inventory and inventory turns.

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 2 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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