Manufacturing Operations ManagementManufacturing Operations Management RSS
There is long list of manufacturing metrics used to measure manufacturing performance. One of the most common KPI metrics for machine performance is OEE, or Overall Equipment Effectiveness. When correctly applied, OEE is a useful standardized way to compare performance between machines, lines and factories. The “Overall” part of the OEE formula is key since OEE measures how performance is degraded by three over-arching factors that generate lost time in production. These are 1) time lost by building product that goes into rework or scrap, 2) time lost by reduced production rates from factors like poor line balance, bottle necks or feeder errors etc., and finally 3) production time lost by reduced machine availability created by downtime episode during change-over and setup, or lack of material, or engineering time to “tweak” program data such as component rotations or placement offsets. These areas of loss fall into three broad camps, i.e. Quality, Performance and Availability. Even if your score in the areas of Performance and Availability are high, if you have a low first pass yield at test or inspection, the OEE result will be poor. To see a detailed discussion on OEE, how it is calculated and how it gives the manufacturer tremendous insight into target areas for improvement, see our new on-demand webinar “Achieving Real Benefit from Performance Monitoring”.
These areas of waste in Quality, Performance and Availability, I refer to as the Zone of Opportunity, or ZOO for short. If you want to see improvements in manufacturing performance in a significant way, you need to go to the ZOO and attack the “zone”. Performance Monitoring solutions are most effective when they can be tuned to help you attack the zone of opportunity, isolate the root cause of waste, and correct it. When you think about it, the data revealing all of the production time wasted by poor quality, bottle necks, machines that run too slow, feeders that drop too many parts, lines that are out of balance, material that is not delivered to the line on time, machine programming errors or part data errors, creates opportunity. Manufacturing data is a terrible thing to waste. For the savvy process engineer, quality engineer or production manager this data can be used to make significant improvements to profitability and competitive advantage. Just go to the ZOO!
To make your trip to the ZOO worthwhile you will need some tools. Collecting and displaying the right data in the right way through dashboards and interactive reporting, taking full advantage of real time operational data, historical and transactional data, is essential. I have a white paper on this topic that may be of interest to you- “Mentor Graphics Performance Monitoring Converts Waste into Profits”. Why settle for the status quo, when you could become a “ZOO-ologist”? Check it out.
Who knew that you could balance 100′s of work orders simultaneously across the factory for truly optimized production plan?
Our electronics manufacturing factories today are finally picking up steam. This is creating pressure on many companies who are looking for ways to improve performance-to-schedule. One of the most important factors in attracting and keeping customers, is the ability to continuously meet delivery commitments for production and to keep the delivery time as short as possible. This is especially true in consumer electronics where product life cycles can be extremely short and the demand cycles are volatile. Therefor the rate of on-time delivery (measuring your ability to keep your promises) and the span of time from order to fulfillment (measuring the value of your promise, assuming you keep it) are arguably the two most critical Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the success of a manufacturing operation. Mentor Graphics may be one the first companies ever to deliver one solution that can solve both of these problems at the same time! This solution is our new Line Executive (i.e. LX) product. You can see many of the product details in the data sheet, plus several interesting use cases, but I want to call your attend to a few of the more amazing capabilities of this tool.
One of the most difficult challenges for manufacturers who build many different products (high mix and ultra-high mix), is how to assign work orders to the right line and in the right sequence to achieve the fastest production. This is a complex problem. The complexity comes from the many factors that are in play. I’ll try to list them here without getting a head ache:
- Capacity of each machine in terms of an honest placement rate and how many feeders are can be installed based on the variety of feeder widths needed for different component sizes
- Don’t forget, that just because the machine can hold say, 100 feeders of a certain mix, does not mean that you have 100 feeders available of the correct size to load part numbers you need for your present plan!
- Combined capacity of each line defined by rolling together the individual machine and feeder data
- Don’t forget that you may be relocating a line to a different factory, or a line may be down for preventative maintenance, or this, or that , etc. etc.
- Number of different part numbers in each work order and the build quantity and expected delivery date.
- Don’t forget about the fact the some jobs are more important than others regardless of the delivery date in the work order!
- Knowing which machines and feeder types are qualified to handle each different part number in each BOM in each Work Order in the plan
- Don’t forget that some machine use Dual Feeders which requires certain qualified pairings of part numbers, and which are very time consuming to change over, so you want to pick components pairs that work for as many Work Orders as possible!
- Knowing how many work days are available this month or this week, or how many shifts are assigned for this line or that line
- Don’t forget about Holidays!
Now just when you think you’ve got all of the variables listed in your spreadsheet and all your formulae dialed into perfection, there is still a serious problem. How do you know if you have enough material available to execute your perfect plan?
And then, you start your day with the perfect plan, only to get that phone call where the VP Sales tell you company XYZ must have their shipments expedited by 3 days! Good bye perfect schedule. The dominos start to fall and all you can think about is that vacation coming up soon.
OK, I think that spells out the complexity pretty well. Who knew that there was a software solution to this problem, one that comprehends the vast complexity and dynamics of the shop floor? The keys to success of the Line Executive tool are 1) all the variables are dialed in and can be adjusted so easily and 2) the Line Executive applies all these details to generate intelligent product groupings from the work orders that fit the requirements dictated by the BOMs and line configurations. The magic happens when all of this is done for hundreds of work orders instantly and the newly formed groups are assigned across all the lines within seconds, in such a way that the best delivery plan can be achieved according to your needs and priorities of the day.
Now when the VP of Sales calls to scramble your production plan so he can win a massive new contract for the company, within seconds you can tell exactly which other accounts are going to suffer from being bumped. Before you send the plan to the floor, you will also know exactly how many of each work order you can build with the inventory you have on hand, and equally important, how many you cannot build until the component shortage is resolved.
One more thing to highlight before you run off to read the white paper or the datasheet: When you want to see the trade-offs between adding another shift or adding another product line, you can run a what-if analysis and make decision based on objective evidence. Man, I wish we had tools like this back in the day of my youth, when all we had were pocket calculators and big chief yellow tablets!
If I have your interest and you would like to see a demonstration of this software tailored for you, please let us know.
In the June issue of Electronic Sourcing North America, there is an interesting article titled Today’s Smart Buyers Need Smarter Software. We all thought software from Mentor Graphics was intended for circuit designers, manufacturing engineers, quality engineers, test engineers and manufacturing managers at all levels, and of course this is true. So why did Mentor target the professional buyer by publishing an editorial in a purchasing magazine? Simple. Buyers need good software too. In fact, since it is very common for purchased material to comprise 80% or more of the added value in an electronic product, especially from the point of view of a contract manufacturer, it is obvious that buyers can have a great deal of impact on the success of a New Product Introduction from purely a bottom line perspective. But a buyer’s contribution can reach much farther into the success of a manufacturing operation, provided they have the right tools. That is where Mentor Graphics Valor Division software comes into the picture. How is this possible? I’m glad you asked.
Profitability in manufacturing often hinges on the ability to be flexible, to quickly react to changing conditions. This includes components. Suppose you are sole sourced on too many items, and due to some unforeseen market condition, perhaps a product recall, you wind up with a shortage on parts the prevent your on-time delivery. Ouch. There may be penalties, certainly lost revenue and lost confidence in the eyes of the customer. If you had spent the time to find and qualify more alternate parts and have them listed in the AVL (Approved Vendor List), such a shortage may have been prevented. Many manufacturers use an AVL that simply lists several “approved” vendors who supply equivalent components in what is presumed to be equivalent packages. Ah. There’s the rub: assumed equivalent packages. If I had a nickel for every time I have seen an assumed equivalent package fail to fit the pads on the circuit card, well, I would have a lot of nickels. Mentor’s vPlan engineering solution together with the VPL (Valor Part Library) can be used by buyers to build and validate their AVL. The software captures the physical models of over 30 million part numbers and links a detailed dimensioned package model to the manufacturers part number. Then the software provides detailed comparisons of the packages of “equivalent parts” in all dimensions that impact the assembly process. In this way, the buyer can ensure that every alternate part on the AVL is in fact an equivalent interchangeable packages, based on the tolerance level he can live with. No guesses. No assumptions. Now that is smart buying! And this is only one of several ways that smart software can help the buyer become the hero he always dreamed he would be. Read the article and you will find several more keys to unlock the buyers potential for success!
What do you do when manufacturing operations poke you in the eye, or otherwise toss troubles into your lap, enough to give your start to a really good day, a sharp turn towards another massive headache? Face it, those of us who have worked on the shop floor of electronics PCB assembly operations love the pressure, the fast pace, the certainty that one day will never be exactly the same as the next. It is never a boring job. Something always goes wrong and challenges our problem solving skills. Manufacturing engineers love solving problem. What they cannot stand is chasing the same problems, over and over, that never get solved, that constantly rob the time needed to really be effective. I spent many long years of my life chasing problems with solder paste, stencils, feeders, parts data, CAD data, BOM data, component rotations, placement offsets, material shortages, MSD expirations, and change notices that seem to multiply like rabbits. It can be enough to make your head spin. Then I got the opportunity to work with a software company that really understood the need to equip PCB manufacturers with solutions that actually solve many of the problems that used to make my days to spin out of control.
Take component rotations for example. No matter how hard we tried, when we ran our first articles, some components would be rotated 180 deg in the wrong direction. Even if we had the rotation right in the program, the component would be reversed in the reel, and still the part would be placed 180 deg out on the PCB! So we wasted engineering time we did not have, and then we wasted more time on the line to stop and fix the problem. Of course these problems always seem to occur during the days when we had the most urgent schedule and there was no time to lose.
Years later at Valor, we developed a solution for rotation and placement offset issues within our manufacturing software. I knew immediately it would be a huge success. To date, I have never yet met a process engineer that did not really love this capability built into vPlan, and I have met hundreds of engineers. Process engineers really love to see all the rotations neutralized in exactly the same way, regardless of the designer or what EDA solution was used, and then to be able to see graphically, offline, in a virtual simulation, precisely how each part would be rotated and placed, given the actual part data in the machine library and the actual program created to run the product. Most of all, they love to use one common solution even when they have several machines from different vendors. What we used to do with sticky tape applied to the PCB, to actually see the physical parts placed on the board to check their rotations, now we do in a virtual world, before a single minute is spent on the SMT line. In fact we call this software module, “Virtual Sticky Tape” or VST for short. There is no doubt that many, many hours of engineering time and SMT line time have been saved based on this one solution. Our customers tell us this all the time.
I have decided to name my new Mentor blog “callMOM”. I will bring out a variety of process problems that are common to all us who have ever worked on the manufacturing shop floor, and discuss how the latest software technologies can solve them, for good. Back when I was stirring solder past and tweaking part data, we had no one to call when the problems outweighed our available solutions, so we got creative and plowed our way through. Today is a different world. There are many MOM (Manufacturing Operations Management) solutions in the overall manufacturing space, but very few that are tailor made for PCB assembly operations. Come visit the new PCB Manufacturing, Assembly and Test section of Mentor.com and browse through the many solutions that can help you stop chasing the same problems over and over again. Our MOM technology will help your factory become more productive. Now when you callMOM, you’ll get more than good advice, you’ll get real solutions to your manufacturing problems. And we won’t ask you if you are eating your vegetables or getting enough rest, promise.
About Manufacturing Operations Management
This blog will explore how Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) can be fine tuned to improve performance and shorten the time-to-cash for new product introductions (NPI). When your KPIs get blurred, your running blind on inventory and your assets are under-utilized, check out this blog for some new ideas.
- Going to the ZOO – the Zone of Opportunity
- Who knew that you could balance 100′s of work orders simultaneously across the factory for truly optimized production plan?
- Buyer Beware
- Don’t Let Rotation Corrections Ruin Your Day