5 More Easy Shop Floor Quality Improvements

Production Control Systems and Quality Improvement

We are all in the quality business. Wasted time, scrapped materials and customer turnbacks reduce margins and damage our reputations. It’s only by putting the proper systems in place that our shops can achieve maximum efficiency and profitability.

With your existing production control system (PCS) and these five easy steps, your business can eliminate scrap and accelerate production in a matter of weeks.

  1. Review Non-Conformance Issues Daily
    Evaluate your previous day’s non-conformances in your morning production meeting. One competitive advantage your PCS provides is access to real-time production data. Don’t let your team revert back to weekly updates. Keep your processes as agile as your operators. You have all the data you need at your fingertips; use it.
  2. Monitor Quality Throughout Live Production
    Leverage buy-offs and tolerance checks at critical points throughout production. Stop non-conformances in their tracks with your Production Control System’s quality gates. If a check fails or a measurement is marked out of tolerance, use your PCS’s real-time alerts to notify the right team member to resolve the issue and keep production running. If you expect to increase both production velocity and quality rates, it’s essential that you monitor quality throughout production, not just at the end of the line.
  3. Properly Schedule Machine Maintenance and Tool Calibration
    Update and expand your machine maintenance program with digital control. Schedule more frequent maintenance to limit disruption or implement your PCS’s asset management capacity to track usage rates. Why risk falling out of compliance on a run when you have all of the tools you need in one system? Guarantee your customers that every operator, asset and machine is certified for its role in production.
  4. Create Standard Workaround and Rework Paths
    Plan standard workaround and rework paths to maintain production velocity when problems occur. Your ERP is an essential tool for running your business, but your Production Control System shines when production doesn’t go as planned. Take advantage of your PCS’s ability to map proactive solutions to problems from the common to the critical and resolve production issues before they have the chance to disrupt ship dates.
  5. Review Reports and Trend Analysis to Identify and Resolve Errors
    This is why you invested in a Production Control System in the first place. Successful shops require the visibility to track and control production with the agility to handle even the most complex of processes. Use reports and trend analysis to identify the source of common errors, and then utilize process control to eliminate errors in the future. Take control of your shop, eliminate scrap and deliver your customers the highest quality product available.

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Efficient Manufacturing

How one midwest manufacturer increased production by 35% while reducing scrap by 80%

Case Study: Scrap Down. Production Up.

A midwest make-to-order manufacturer was experiencing both escalating levels of scrap and a consistently under-performing shop. After experimenting with a series of homegrown solutions, a production supervisor connected with CIMx to deliver a comprehensive, sustainable solution.

“Now we can zero-in on problems very easily… as long as I’ve been in my position, I’ve never been able to dig into my business like this. It’s been great!”
– Assistant Production Supervisor

The previous processes had utilized a homegrown Access database to track parts, tools and materials and paper sign-offs to document quality. When the team member responsible for managing the database retired, a more sustainable, efficient and reliable approach was required that would both accurately track the manufacturing data on every order and control the production process from engineering through delivery.

The Power of Production Control

CIMx Software’s Quantum production control system was selected to both migrate data out of the legacy systems and the provide shop floor visibility and quality control for every order. CIMx worked closely with the production team to understand their production processes and map out the solution that met their needs. Once configured, the Quantum solution was not only familiar to the operators but offered extensive hard and soft cost savings for the company.

35% Increase in Production. 80% Reduction in Scrap.
– Data from 2018 CIMx System Engagement Review –

In the first 6 months, this shop has already reported dramatic savings and increased revenue generation from the implementation of Quantum. By enforcing quality checks, utilizing digital planning and delivering interactive work instructions to their operators, production has increased by an average of more than 35% per day. As production rates increase, there has been a simultaneous 80% reduction in scrap!

See what Quantum can do for your shop!
Explore the Power of the Quantum Production Control System!

Imagine reporting these numbers to your CEO. What could you do with all that additional revenue returned to your budget: upgrade facilities, hire more operators, increase outreach? Whether your shop has outgrown past production processes or your facility is being pushed to deliver more with less, Quantum is your solution.

Learn more about the timeline and impact of introducing a production control system to your shop by connecting with a CIMx process expert today!

Ready to track, control and increase production velocity?
Connect with an Application Specialist today!

Accelerate and Achieve your Production Goals with Analytics

Companies often set aggressive business goals at the beginning of each year, only to find those targets unachievable or untraceable by Q4. The initial excitement slowly fades as the day-to-day business needs take priority. This is especially true for manufacturers.

With Q2 only a few days away, are you on track to meet your 2018 goals?Manufacturers need a way to make goals achievable and sustainable. That’s what a Production Control System (PCS) provides. Real-time production data, analytics, tracking systems and process control all work to make the goal not only possible, but easily achievable.

  • Production Visibility:

The key to setting realistic goals is understanding your production capacity, velocity and bottlenecks. ERP data points alone can only imply slowdowns on your shop and it may take weeks for them to come to light. Production control systems however deliver the operator monitoring and WIP dashboards to pinpoint obstacles and opportunities. Having confidence in your data is the best way to begin and the only way to achieve KPIs.

  • Select KPIs to track and measure progress:

Now that you have numbers you can trust you need to introduce a bit of creativity. Projecting opportunities and then strategizing an optimal path to success is all about your metrics. Establish a baseline by reviewing existing trends and immediately put in place the means for tracking success. Failure to do so leads to moving targets and a lack of urgency for meeting deadlines.

  • Make the goal visible to the company:

Visualizing and tracking progress builds collaboration and a sense of accomplishment for your business. Presenting the challenge to your team lets them know your company is forward thinking and trusts in their abilities to succeed. Set and celebrate milestones along the way and take pride in your team’s accomplishments.

  • Sustainability:

Don’t let success or failure be the end of the journey. Carry forward the momentum into the next project, quarter, year, etc. Now that you have set a culture of excellence in your organization it’s up to you to define how far you can go. Sustainable production control systems stay on your shop for years assuring your data collection is consistent and accurate. Granular insight into production lets you see what works and what doesn’t. Turn success into a standard, repeatable process.

 

Next Steps

There’s still time to get the right systems in place to achieve your 2018 goals. April is the final month of the CIMx Software 18 Free in 2018 promotion so now is your last chance to connect with the CIMx team about free installation. Contact CIMx to let a specialist review your needs and see how a Production Control System can make those goals achievable.

How to Turn Production Data into Actionable Manufacturing Intelligence

There’s a critical difference between raw data and actionable manufacturing intelligence. Data is just information. Actionable manufacturing intelligence adds value. When provided to the right person at the right time, action can be taken and value added – that could mean higher throughput, lower costs, and more productivity.

Companies utilizing actionable intelligence find success in the marketplace. They have the flexibility and production agility modern manufacturers need.

The Morning Reports Sinkhole in your Production Cycle

For companies relying on spreadsheets, paper travelers and their ERP for production data, information is compiled at the end of the day and then shared in a morning report. A morning report is data, and not actionable intelligence.

The data in the morning report is often flawed, if not completely fictional. The ERP was never designed to collect production data, so patchwork and dubious methods are used to gather information. Employees pencil whip information on a traveler before clocking out for the day, or fudge numbers when memory fails. A coffee spill on a spreadsheet can ruin the data and leave you scrambling to decipher a smudge.

Manufacturers using data like this to track and control production are hurting themselves. Decisions are made on speculation using the best data available (data that was never very good in the first place). This leads to a lack of discipline and control in production. Waste and scrap increases, and problems stymie production velocity with no clear solution as management isn’t sure what happening on the shop floor.

Manufacturers need actionable manufacturing intelligence, and actionable manufacturing intelligence requires real-time production data.

The Key to Manufacturing Intelligence

The Quantum Production Control System (PCS) is designed to provide accurate and actionable real-time information on production.

Using Quantum and your current build books and work instructions, you can begin collecting real-time production data from your current processes and standard use of the system. Accurate updates and Work In Progress (WIP) reports are just a mouse click away. Capturing data is done automatically throughout production.

Take Action on Improved Production

Real-time data is actionable, while a morning report is nothing more than a review – a window into the past. With the PCS in place, real-time production data is fed to the right people at the right time to make a positive impact on production. Supervisors can see a problem occur, such as a machine going down or a late material shipment, and then take action to mitigate and solve the problem. Feedback loops at the work station provide rapid resolution to problems, keeping production on schedule.

Contact CIMx Software today and connect with our team to see how quickly Quantum can empower your production team with actionable manufacturing intelligence to accelerate productivity and eliminate waste for you. Ditch the spreadsheet and embrace efficiency in your processes with Quantum.

Process Improvement graph.

Use Your Data for Accurate Production Costs

For manufacturers, accurate estimates are critical to managing costs and margins. If estimates are based on guesswork: bids can be lost, delivery times missed or costs can spiral out of control. Too often, operators will pencil-whip work times on their way out the door rather than accurately tracking and recording their work. This skews the limited data available causing misinformed directives from the top.  When both the historical data and the analytics at the foundation of estimates are suspect, problems quietly grow costing the company money that has to be made up in additional production.

Turn Production Data into Profit

Accurate estimates require both clean historical data and production visibility, both of which are provided by the Quantum Production Control System (PCS). Let’s look at a few areas a PCS can enhance your estimates:

  • Accurate Labor and Production Data

Know who did what and for how long during production, and then turn that data into more precise estimates. The PCS automatically tracks labor and production through standard use of the system. This includes machine time and labor, so management can see how much time, effort, materials and parts are required to complete work. Over time, as accurate data is accumulated, the company can begin providing more accurate estimates and labor loading.

  • Identify and eliminate scrap

Scrap can turn profitable products into an expense for manufacturers, and yet many companies struggle to understand the cause. The production control system collects production data that reveals where and how scrap is generated. The PCS links the scrap to the work being done at the time it occurs. With this information, the manufacturer can either eliminate the root cause of scrap, or better estimate standard losses in production.

  • Focus on profitable work

Once you are tracking labor and production costs, leverage the data to identify and prioritize the most profitable work. Refine your gross manufacturing margin using production data to identify products and goods with a higher gross margin. With this information, you can make more profit on every sale and shipment. The company makes more and spends less.

Increasing Profit Velocity

Many companies look at a production control system to solve a specific problem such as a failed audit, late shipments, or poor visibility into Work in Progress (WIP). Even with the solution in place, the company finds more value in the critical data the system feeds to the sale and production cycle. With higher gross margins, accurate estimates, and control over scrap and production the company finds expenses go down and profits up.

If you’re ready to take control of production costs and enhance your profit on every product built, contact CIMx Software today to learn more about Quantum. Discover what a PCS can do for you.

How to Turn your KPIs into Profit and Production

There’s an old saying, “If you can measure it, you can manage it.”

Manufacturers with Production Control Systems (PCS) know the truth of that saying. With the PCS providing the real-time data and process control, these companies supercharge their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with real-time data to accurately track and measure shop floor progress. That real-time data turns KPIs from an instrument of observation to a tool for radically accelerating and sustaining production while generating profit.

Turn Raw Production Data into Efficient Operations

Here are four ways real-time data and KPIs deliver powerful benefits for manufacturers:

  • Accelerate and sustain continuous improvement programs.

Continuous improvement is critical, but many companies have difficulty maintaining progress once the program is over. New behaviors are difficult to maintain, and old habits die hard. KPIs allow the company and team members to monitor the progress. Your team can use that real-time data to support improvements long after the program is over. With everyone sharing the KPI and monitoring progress, collaboration increases and success is shared.

  • Benchmark performance to identify areas for improvement.

Use KPIs to benchmark and compare areas of the business. Identify underperforming areas and discover what works in areas of high-performance. With that insight, you’ll discover those slight adjustments that pay big dividends. For example, higher scrap and non-conformance rates at certain operations may indicate machines or tools that require maintenance, or a problem with a supplier. Target and eliminate the problems for a positive net effect across the production value chain.

  • Identify higher profit work

KPIs are an excellent way to evaluate production data in real-time, revealing the inefficiencies that cripple profit margins if left unchecked. For example, Estimated versus Actual production times, a common KPI, identify products that consume more resources than expected, delivering a lower profit. By focusing on higher-profit work, the company generates more revenue for less effort.

  • Evaluate planned workarounds

When an issue occurs in production, supervisors will implement planned workarounds that often result in more problems than they solve. KPIs monitor progress as the workaround is implemented. Evaluate the solution in real-time and implement additional changes as needed to maintain progress. With KPIs, the orders stay on schedule and ship dates aren’t missed.

Turn Real-time Data into Production and Profit

Most, if not all, manufacturers utilize Key Performance Indicators to monitor production. The difference for manufacturers with a Production Control System in place is the real-time data that fuels the KPI. Supervisors and management track and monitor production, accessing critical KPIs from anywhere. The PCS makes the company more agile, able to control production and manage work. The shop floor reacts to issues and opportunities as they happen, rather than studying events in a report a day later.

Contact CIMx today to see how Quantum can supercharge your KPIs and reports with real-time data to accelerate production and profit for your business.

Where’d the money go? – How to turn Manufacturing Assets into Profit

If you don’t know where your materials are and how many you have, you don’t know where your money is. The purchase and storing of assets (materials, tools, parts) for manufacturing is one of your largest expenses, so why don’t you have complete control of it?

We see many cases where manufacturers simply don’t know what they have. One shop in particular comes to mind. In walking through a manufacturing shop floor for carbon components in the aerospace industry, we passed the Material Review Board (MRB) area. It was enclosed by a cage to protect the parts from walking off. Inventory in this area was scrap but too valuable to just throw out.

There were shelves upon shelves, and stacks upon stacks, of carbon parts rejected by Quality. Oven times may have fallen short of required minimums or temperatures may not have registered high enough.  Without a fast process for review, these parts were being housed and shelved (literally). They were useless. The manufacturer had an enormous, labor-intensive future job to go through all these parts and create a disposition for each.

The Connection Between Process Control and Manufacturing Scrap

What the team was ignoring was the money that was tied up in these parts. It seems obvious from the outside, yes, but they were focused more on the disposition process and what they were going to do with all those quality rejects. Not to mention how sloppy it looked when upper management came through.  But what they were really missing was the key, hidden issue that this prospect had yet to uncover.

When I see that many pieces of contained scrap [and yes, it happens all the time] I begin looking for the scrap that hasn’t even made it to the cage. The amount of scrap in the screened area signals to me that there is a process problem. Solving process problems are what we are really good at. Control the manufacturing process and you control the scrap. Control scrap and you have a really tight handle on costs, too. That’s where you really start making up lost margin.

When a team is unable to control what is happening on the manufacturing shop floor, especially within the tolerances that their own engineering teams have thought possible, it signals a lack of control in parts and tools. Have you asked for an inventory count of your tools recently? Are you over-ordering or over-stocking in order to make up for “lost” tools [which are inevitably found on the shop floor]?

Ultimately, that same prospect closed manufacturing for a few days to complete a tool inventory. Yikes.

Know where your stuff is, know how much what you build costs you and control the processes that you use to build your parts. These three key concepts are completely linked and fundamental to successful manufacturing, and completely controllable with the right tools. Just ask us how.