6.6.6 Case studies

Tyre Manufacturer drives improved Inventory management.

Overview

A tyre manufacturer desired to update their green tyre inventory system to improve operations and production efficiency. The current system for inventory and scheduling tyre-building machines used a basic Excel spreadsheet that was in use for some time and was a conglomeration of personal theories, formulas, and ideas on how best to schedule tyres for machines. The spreadsheet was handfed data from manual tyre counts. The new system will automate data collection to allow better management of machines, shifts, and teams while allowing efficient reporting tools with real-time views of all production phases.

Solution

The tyre company with the help of external consultants built a solution to monitor and manage the current tyre inventory. The system takes cycle counts from tyre building and curing machines and uses these counts to modify the current green tyre inventory levels for all tyre codes. Operators, tyre codes, tyre types, tyre sizes, and build schedules are assigned from a system interface or an Oracle RDB database. The system also allows inventory levels to be adjusted after manual inventory level counts.

How The Customer Benefited?

The customer now has a system that utilizes real-time data for accurate planning and reporting while allowing confident scheduling of machines, shifts, and teams in the plant. Productivity has increased, data collection is now automated and less costly, and the system is designed for future scalability


Large Engine manufacturer Revs up tracking system

Overview

A large engine manufacturer was forced to locate and recall a number of engines due to defective components. The recall was a difficult and costly process. In addition to the recall, the manufacturer had difficulty tracking the material back to the forger batch or production process that caused the defect. The manufacturer concluded it was necessary to track engine components to avoid similar issues in the future.

Solution

The engine manufacturer with the help of external consultants designed a solution with a multi-tiered software architecture that abstracts the functionality according to the business requirements. Each tier of the solution addresses a unique responsibility. The solution provided a lean custom manufacturing execution system that was able to serialize and track engine connecting rods by capturing information about the batch and die from the forger and relating this information with production process information thus enabling the manufacturer to see a complete genealogy for each part. Finally the solution related this information with information about the engine and cylinder number that each specific rod was assembled in. The solution included only the functionality that was explicitly essential for the rod and engine tracking.

Benefits to the customer

The manufacturer now has the ability to retrieve precise information about what rods are assembled in which engine, this can be done by a variety of different criteria, such as time, forger batch, operator, etc. Information about the processing of rods including various data collection is used by the operations management to coordinate and plan work. The engineering quality group is using information collected by the system to optimize and improve production processes. The system also enforces manufacturing processing rules, such that human error can be minimized and the quality improved. Finally the system provided automated scrap and rework tracking, which was previously done manually.


This chapter based on InnoSupport: Supporting Innovations in SME. 6.3 Production strategies, 2005