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How To Survive As A Modern-day Business

Paper-based systems and analogue machines are still common within the industrial sectors, but writing on a piece of paper just isn’t adequate in today’s environment, says SYSPRO Chief Product Officer, Paulo De Matos.

With the need for continued innovation and tighter controls, businesses are now realising the urgency to replace legacy and manual systems with technologies that will improve visibility of critical data and reduce business risks.

The ability to increase productivity, reduce waste, lower production costs, enable greater quality control and improve the management of schedules and production rates without having to manage multiple systems from various vendors also remains a modern day necessity.

SYSPRO’s global research into the inflection point for the factory of the future shows the dire consequences of reliance on old manual systems, where only 38% of businesses felt that their business systems were adequate to cope with the disruption caused by the pandemic.

But before investing in a digital solution, manufacturers need to understand what industry requirements exist, how visibility enables control and how to mitigate overall risk.

Industry requirements

Reliance on manual systems can be a hinderance for industries that are governed by regulatory control – there is too great a possibility for human error.

The food and beverage industry is similar to the other compliant regulated sectors, such as the medical devices industry, in that it requires extensive record keeping as a measure of control. Packaging for the food and beverage industry requires retention samples of all raw materials beyond the shelf life of the products.

Tinned food manufacturers, for example, need to coat the inside of the can with a specific lacquer to protect the tin plate from the food product or ingredients. At the same time, a sealant needs to be applied over any welds to protect the product attacking the compromised area, and the can corroding from the inside out.

With those measures in place, a tin may have a significantly extended shelf life. Samples of the internal lacquer and sealant will need to be kept by the supplier for a specified number of years.

Taking control of the shop floor through complete visibility

During manufacture, frontline managers need complete visibility and control of the shop floor to prevent problems such as overruns, bottlenecks, downtime, poor employee or machine performance and excessive scrap. To achieve this, modern software needs to be combined with a digital strategy that ensures that the critical information is available digitally.

Now, many manufacturers are automating the simple jobs and relying on people to manage the remaining processes. This often places a heavy demand on human resources.

As an alternative, a sophisticated system like Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM), integrated within an ERP solution, can be implemented to support the complete manufacturing lifecycle, without the risk of human error.

A MOM solution enables manufacturers to automatically connect with machines to collect critical data without manual inputs. MOM helps manufacturers in three ways:

  • Measure performance of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). This refers to how well machines run and the measurement is based on a combination of uptime, speed and quality. The MOM should not track every single machine but should ideally just track the bottlenecks or older machines.
  • Measure overall labour performance (OLE). Often a lot of time and productivity is lost through human error.
  • Measure total effective equipment performance (TEEP) or the amount of downtime

By measuring these three elements in unison, manufacturers can identify specific challenges and optimise operational efficiencies through the better workflow of core manufacturing activities and secure a reduction in the ‘Six Big Losses’ in manufacturing.

The six big losses in manufacturing

  1. Equipment Failure: Defects and failures in equipment results in downtime, financial losses, variances in inventory and a lack of quality control. This scenario can play out for several reasons. It could be a result of unplanned downtime, no available operators and even a lack of raw materials.
  2. Setup and adjustments: As the name suggests this refers to when equipment is scheduled for production but is not running due to a changeover or other equipment adjustments.
  3. Idling and minor stops: This refers to when the equipment stops for a short period of time.
  4. Reduced speed: This is when your equipment operates at a slower time than the ideal cycle time.
  5. Process defects: This refers to the need to account for defective parts produced during stable (steady state) production.
  6. Reduced yield: This refers to the defective parts produced from start up until stable (steady-state) production is reached.

Thanks to legacy systems, manufacturers had no clear visibility into the manufacturing process and could not always tell where issues had arisen, or where the bottleneck was occurring. Now with MOM, manufacturers have a single source of data and in turn, full visibility of production.

While MOM may seem like the obvious next step for manufacturers to optimise operations, many have been reluctant to move away from their traditional legacy systems. The reality is that the industry has reached an inflection point, where digital transformation and the need to fast track to a smarter factory is vital to remain competitive in the coming months.

Manufacturers should ideally consider a MOM solution that adheres to world-class manufacturing standards and is importantly fully integrated into their ERP, to leverage a single platform to monitor and improve factory performance. This will transform how an organisation manages people, equipment and processes to drive better business performance and strategic outcomes.

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