Digital technologies enable transformation opportunities hidden in plain sight

Manufacturing operations often consist of repetitive processes. We often find opportunities in those operations. However, often we overlook the opportunities presented in some repetitive processes. Here are just a few examples to assess in your own organization.

Parts Availability: In companies with customized products, ensuring availability and rapid delivery of repair parts is often a key focus. This is particularly true because of the high margins associated with these proprietary parts. In addition, company reputation is often negatively impacted if customers can’t operate the expensive products they purchased. Therefore, knowing the status of individual parts and being able to direct management attention to accelerate production and delivery is often material to the economic health of the business. We recently helped a client reduce replacement part production planning delays by ~95% through lean transformation powered by digital technology.

Materials Ordering: In many organizations, ordering raw materials is still a manual process. With one of our clients, we found that they were dedicating an extra 4 hours per week to rigorously evaluate on-hand raw materials in relation to the upcoming schedule. We partnered with the client to design a Digital workflow technology to address the issue. The client can now evaluate their material needs in seconds every week instead of hours.

Labor Optimization: In most organizations, labor strategy is defined quarterly through the S&OP process. This is particularly true in cyclical organizations, where this plan determines the number of employees required for each production area to produce the expected output per day. If this information is not optimized or incorrect the cost impacts can be catastrophic. We have helped our clients use predictive analytics to move from quarterly to weekly S&OP planning, optimizing the employees required to produce the target outputs at a significantly lower cost.

Parts Scheduling: In integrated manufacturing areas, it is difficult to determine the optimal changeover cycle. Too many changeovers create obsolescence risk, while too few changeovers create a customer shortage risk. Determining what order to move from product to product can heavily impact changeover time. Developing the rules and workflows to enable the most efficient changeover strategy can be more impactful than focusing on changeover reduction on the shop floor. We are working with our clients to leverage cost effective IoT sensors and Analytics to analyze and revolutionize the changeover process.

We would love to hear from you about how technology has helped be more cost effective.

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Scot Armstrong