21 Nov The Role of IT in World Class Manufacturing
The Role of IT in World Class Manufacturing;
saving trees and providing evidence
In our last post exploring World Class Manufacturing we discussed how WCM requires total commitment to Zero, and how organisations should strive to operate like well-drilled F1 pit crews.
Although at a Grand Prix the cameras are trained on the cars and the drivers, every F1 race team has a network of powerful, interconnected computers around the world. Each Grand Prix is a thrilling example of the Internet of Things, where teams gather and analyse huge amounts of real-time data harvested from sensors built into the car.
F1 Teams build a car for each track based on historical data and simulations generated by the current season’s sensor data. The process ensures that every aspect of the car’s design is based on data.
The driver, however, cannot (yet) have a data-gathering sensor implanted, and so race performance relies on a symbiotic relationship between the driver and the technology.
Similarly, IT does not dominate or dictate in the WCM process, but it does have a powerful role to play in the organisation achieving World Class Manufacturing status. The efficient use of IT systems, combined with the collection and analysis of quality data, will be an invaluable approach for those organisations striving for the WCM podium.
The traditional benefits of Manufacturing IT
- Easy access to useful information, making audits easier and ensuring legal compliance
- Security of data storage, meaning vital information isn’t lost or destroyed
- Flexible, real time reporting, where consistent, reliable data drives informed decision making
- Rapid communication, meaning problems are quickly identified and resolved in a timely manner
Pure WCM theory states that analysis, problem-solving actions and calculations should all be done on paper, but this is at odds with the future direction of UK manufacturing. Many UK manufacturing organisations are wisely investing large sums into efficiency technologies and software to streamline and improve production line performance.
On a purely practical level, relying on pieces of paper to demonstrate regulatory compliance is simply inadequate: Health, safety and environmental regulations apply to all manufacturing operations and legally traceable evidence must be provided.
Therefore, those organisations who are considering adopting WCM should run through a basic checklist to confirm that they are technologically prepared for the journey.
IT requirements to implement WCM
- Infrastructure; network and communications
- Hardware; computer, phones, visual displays boards
- Software; data capture, analysis and reporting
- Secure systems
For example; to verify that WCM objectives are being met for the “Professional Maintenance” Technical Pillar, the Idhammar WCM system will both prompt you to ensure that the work is actually carried out on vital machinery, at specified intervals and record the details of the maintenance activity undertaken.
However, what happens in the WCM process when something goes wrong unexpectedly?…
Next time…. Emergency Work Orders, Technology & WCM:
- What is an EWO?
- The 5Ws & 1H
- Root cause analysis