Continuous Improvements Add Up Over Time 


With live scheduling, visualisation and a good shop-floor process in place, how do you make improvements ? How do you get more bang for your buck?

Get your team on the floor involved, now.

Maintenance & Improvement Projects Go Hand-in-Hand
With a shop-floor system installed and running in your factory, and live scheduling, production planning and visibility under control, you may wonder how to drive further gains? While these features alone offer considerable utility, the real value to the business is in what happens next.
Some people are very good at maintaining and improving systems and like to drill down into the details to continue moving forward. These people love having good information at their fingertips on the plant floor. This empowers them to do their job. While others enjoy finite projects and the bigger picture. Projects have a start and a finish and they can be very rewarding.
So taking these two skill sets and combining them in your improvement process is key.
Day-to-day maintenance, observations and improvements carried out in real-time will certainly improve the business, but it is important to embed processes that enable the recording of accurate data on the plant floor as you go. Some issues will not be obvious to individuals at the coal-face and will only become apparent when an analysis is carried out.
This is where the project approach kicks in.

For those project people, the key is to have the data available to run meaningful improvement projects. Perhaps once a month your operations leader should sit down with the team and identify the largest issues for the last month or even the last quarter.  Depending on the size of your team, you could divide them into say, the “Performance Team”, the “Availability Team”, and the “Quality Team”. If your group is small just pick one of these components each month. If you have the luxury of more people, run all three together and swap them around over time.
So how do you make progress?  Well, run some reports on each subject and provide your teams with accurate data. Let them decide what is the most unacceptable result from the reports. Emphasize the importance of identifying the exceptions that create the largest problems. People on the plant floor know what is abnormal. They know, for example, that always waiting for raw materials preparation, poor performance of one or two products and excessive start-up rejects and high reject rates during a period of time are not acceptable. Pick just one initiative for the team. Guide them along, give them access to the data and ensure they use the actual data to make recommendations on improvements. Don’t allow a person's intuition, based on their job title, to influence their decision. We know many setters who believe the biggest downtime in their plant is set-ups. They may be correct but the set-ups may be to standard and as budgeted. You’re looking for exceptions to the rule. Measure yourself against your own standards and set some KPI’s for review.
And then act upon the recommendations! Make some changes and monitor the results over the coming months. Let the project run for a month or longer if you need to. Don’t be reluctant to include someone from outside the existing teams' particular skill set. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes and a different perspective can be refreshing.
Next month or next quarter do it again and pick some new exceptions. Keep the process going. Don’t stop. Remember the fifth S, Sustain”. Continuous marginal improvements add up over time.
 As a team, you may occasionally not quite get it right, but you can be assured, by doing nothing, nothing will improve. 

OEE improvement; Here's what one AspectPT client achieved over six months. Increases in OEE = Increases in ROI. ​


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