Manufacturing is undergoing a digital revolution. But not every company within the industry is keeping up with the constant changes. In the years that I have been working with large manufacturing companies across the country, I have noticed shared pain points and solutions that have helped plants not only work to become world-class organizations but have been able to adapt to the digital transformation, streamline processes, reduce costs and boost efficiency.
These companies and even specific roles all have clearly defined KPI’s, measurements or goals they are monitoring whether it be parts per year, dollars saved, energy costs, percent increase, percent decrease, and more. What is getting in the way is the inability to see all their data in one place, dig deep into that data and understand why they may not hit their goals as well as understanding hidden costs that may affect their bottom line.
This means not just observing if parts or processes have broken down but identifying why the parts or process broke down. Data visualization tools allow them to see trends across but don’t allow access to the database to see where something went wrong. This can be challenging with tools or platforms that only present the numbers, but don’t allow you the opportunity to dig deeper and track the root cause of the problem that then contributes to hidden costs.
A large automobile manufacturer I have worked with was previously using phone calls, email, Microsoft Access and spreadsheets to track machine breakdowns and parts replaced. This process was largely inefficient because it became difficult to track the path of this one part that was costing them money down the line. By having a platform in place that tracked where pieces originated from and explains why the piece broke down, they have been able to move closer to becoming a world class organization, be better prepared for audits as well as reduce hidden costs.
Companies have also been hindered by silos that prevent plants or departments from sharing useful information company-wide that could reduce rework costs down the road. It’s important to enable organizations to identify an issue, resolve it and then take it and apply it to every other scenario where this problem occurs across multiple plants or wherever else the same issue exists.
I have observed a six-phase journey these manufacturing companies go through while working towards becoming a world class organization. They are: