Factory Re-Design: A Problem or an Opportunity?
It was nice to see Manufacturing ended the year with net expansion. It was also nice to see an increase of “in-sourcing” or “re-shoring” to American manufacturers. According to a 2012 survey published in Forbes “40% of companies indicated that they have won new manufacturing business this year that had been previously offshored.” As this trend is predicted to continue to increase, many manufacturers will need to improve their processes and/or build new manufacturing capacities. How are you planning to address the challenges outlined below?
Since my early professional days as an Industrial Engineer helping companies to improve their shop floor operations, I have witnessed a countless number or production executives view the redesigning of their factory layout as an expensive, labor intensive, and risky problem. “Sure,” they’d say, “better factory layout could help me improve through-put and better exploit our production planning capabilities, but it’s time consuming and expensive to move equipment and difficult to efficiently build a realistic simulation model in advance.” Perhaps you share this point of view, or are you more like the recent manufacturing leaders I’ve had the pleasure of working with, who, are choosing to attack this challenge with new tools and techniques and treat it as an opportunity?
- Where to begin?
- Had to determine which parts to run on which machines
- Had to determine which machines could be moved and where they could be moved
- Estimate cost impact of moving and consolidating machines
- What layout will provide the optimal benefit?
- Had to determine which machines to move and where to move relative to routings and value mapping rules
- Had to estimate how layouts with routings would impact through-put and WIP
- What tools to use (what were available)?
- ERP, Excel, Access, Lean tools, Value Maps, and manual effort
- Where to next?
- Train engineers on approach
- Develop templates to make adjustments (new machinery, routes, parts, etc.)
- Execute plan and evaluate results verses plan
- Develop continuous improvement process based on lessons learned
- Where to begin?
- Does your organization view ReDesign as a pressing problem that needs solving?
- What’s holding back your organization today from solving this challenge (technology, costs, risks, other)?
- What is the Value (the opportunity) to your organization if this challenge could be addressed (large, small, unkown) ?
- In your opinion, what else do you require in a technical solution that was not addressed above (namely the integration of
ERP routings, BOMS, costing data, with visualization, spacial interpretation and advanced analytics)?
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About the Author
Patrick Maroney is a Principal at SAP. He works closely with SAP customers to help understand the impacts of business trends on their processes and the use of technology in order to help drive business improvements. Patrick has a background in industrial engineering and business transformation consulting. Since 1992, Patrick has been working with the management teams of leading companies on improving their processes and leading business transformation initiatives.
Patrick Maroney in a 2012 interview on key trends in manufacturing and how customers can engage with an SAP Industry Principal.