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Higgs Boson and Batch Manufacturing

Finding that elusive thing holding the universe together has been a hot topic in the 21st century.  And last week scientists believe to have discovered the elementary particle that has been holding our universe together; the Higgs Boson.

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One of the interesting things about this discovery is that scientists were unable to see the actual Higgs Boson itself, but rather they were able to determine its existence by analyzing large amounts of data, identifying abnormalities that were only explainable if the Higgs Boson particle was present!



As I’m sure those theoretical physicists know, sometimes it’s difficult to put your finger on a very complex system. Operations excellence in manufacturing is also a complex interrelated system, which is often challenging to determine if you have achieved success. Sometimes the focus and improvement in one operations area will cause poor results in another area; operations managers cannot help but to feel like they are playing the arcade game ‘Whack-A-Mole’.

Batch manufacturers face similar challenges of complexity. Balancing schedule adherence with high quality, while simultaneously trying to ensure increased efficiency in the use of personnel and resources, can make determining success a very challenging activity. Visibility into this is not as easy as directly observing one simple measurement.  Many types of manufacturing data must be collected as materials are received, process steps are executed, and quality readings are taken to determine if the plans are being met, quality is maintained, and resources are used efficiently. 

Dunn-Edwards, a US based paint manufacturer, was faced with this type of dilemma. They were challenged with a constrained throughput, inefficiencies, and lack of required flexibility for growth. They built a new plant and wanted the business and the plant “to talk to one another” from day one. They did not want to be left like the theoretical physicists chasing the Higgs Boson wondering if they were achieving success or not – they wanted more control over their destiny.  They leveraged pre-built templates for batch manufacturing within SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (MII) to reach a challenging time-line to go-live with full shop floor batch execution and integration to the business on the first batch!

SAP MII provides real-time analytics, aggregates, calculates, and delivers a single view of events, alerts, key performance indicators, and decision support.  With this solution, Dunn-Edwards was able to identify success in efficiencies requiring half the people and half the time to produce a batch of paint. However, their greater success was the strategic advantage this flexibility brought with their ability to penetrate new channels of big box retailers and overseas markets. And fortunately for other manufacturers who face similar dilemma, SAP offers a rapid deployment solution for SAP MII, which can implemented in as little as eight weeks. Watch the overview video to learn more:

Follow SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions on Twitter: @SAPRDS

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