Real Time Visibility
Real Life Savings
Creating a truly nimble production environment
requires up-to-the-minute information.
When a production process slows or, worse, a line goes down, it’s oftentimes enough to make a manufacturing company CFO’s heart skip a beat. A recent infographic developed by the CMMS
software company eMaint factors in tangible and intangible
costs, and suggest that downtime in some applications cost
manufacturers up to $22,000 per minute — which equals out to
$1.3 million an hour.
And yet, of industrial facilities that estimate TDC (total downtime cost), according to the infographic, “almost every facility
loses at least five percent of its productive capacity from downtime, and many lose up to 20 percent. Of the 20 percent that
can estimate their downtime, (they) usually underestimate TDC
by 200 to 300 percent.”
Real Time Access
So the problem may be more massive than most companies –
and their bean counters – even realize. Many companies focus
on the preventative angle, equipping themselves with highly
trained employees, cutting edge machinery, and the tools for a
strong predictive maintenance programs. But it’s important to
consider what software can do to improve your ability to react
when the faced with an unforeseen production snafu.
One of the key factors in preventing downtime severity is
real time access to data. According to William Shema, Senior
Manufacturing Consultant for Paper-Less – an MES software and
services provider – having this data in real time provides immediate visibility to any problems before they become larger concerns.
And besides just downtime, this access can alert plant management to slowdowns where “the promised delivery date may not
be met unless some action is taken. A work center may be behind
schedule due to a machine that is not operating at its expected
performance because of a need for repair. These problems can be
quickly identified and resolved if manufacturers have real-time
access to the data,” explains Shema. He goes on to explain that,
with timely response to issues as they arise, the manufacturer can
take care of problems and fulfill their promised delivery to their
customer. Without real time access to data, these problems might
be discovered much later and could result in over processing, late
delivery, excessive direct labor or, worse, a lost customer.
Additionally, data can become a plant manager’s best friend
by creating better ways of material scheduling due to the instant
visibility. “Issues such as equipment downtime, quality control
errors, and over processing times in both setup and WIP can
be addressed before they create scheduling delays,” says Shema.
“Schedules are updated in real time, giving the latest information
to production control and the manufacturing areas. The ability
to change in real time allows material scheduling to be more
proactive to potential open areas in the schedule.” The Paper-less
MV2 supports the micro level sequencing of jobs that production
supervisors do on a daily basis. With visibility to orders that are
ahead or behind and the ability to look across multiple work
centers, the scheduling tool enables good decisions. An easy to
understand user interface supports drag and drop techniques
to move jobs around in a single work center or even to another
work center. The results of the supervisors scheduling decisions
are communicated real time to the production floor through a
Paperless Electronic Dispatch List.
Similarly, products like the eMaint X3 customizable reports and
dashboards (within eMaint’s CMMS) enable users to create and
modify reports that can be emailed automatically at pre-determined
times, allowing management to spot trends and better track KPIs.
A Competitive Edge
According to Shema, access to real-time data in the manufacturing environment can give a manufacturer a competitive advantage
in lead time reduction, cost containment, and customer satisfaction.
Removal of the wastes found in the manufacturing process enables
speed that can be translated into both customer lead time reduction and increased inventory turns, yet turning materials and labor
into profit faster can be a very complicated process itself. “Using
the correct continuous improvement tools appropriate to the manufacturer’s processes is important in the success of the program.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all Lean Manufacturing/Kaizen system
that works for all manufacturers,” he explains. “A manufacturer’s
culture needs to be understood when accessing the successful tools.
Increasing the speed of goods through the manufacturing environment creates a need for increasing the availability of more timely
data. Gathering data in real time and minimizing the effort required
doing so by both the operators and supervisors helps to create a
proactive, nimble, customer focused manufacturing environment.”
For a look at the infographic referenced in this article, visit