Automation of production management

Yosif Levi-Technoclass

The success of automation of production management

It is known for everyone that the success of the production management automation project is determined by three components. These are the desire of the head of the enterprise to achieve a result, the competence of consultants and the availability of the necessary functionality.

The level or scope of the implementation of a production management system is determined not so much by the number of modules and tasks that the enterprise uses. It is determined on the basis of the level of scope of business processes and the collateralisation of the company’s management with management tools.

Often, in their desire to get professional satisfaction, consultants force users to implement tasks that do not contribute to particular efficiency. But they are moving the project closer to the “ideal” of management. That is not bad. It is simply necessary to define an ideal to which we should aspire – the ideal of consultants, of leaders or of common sense.

Automation of footwear production management

I remember when we implemented the first project for a footwear factory. I insisted that each size of model have a separate identification number. I explained how correct this was and what great oportunities it provided for production management. I did not want to listen how much the document flow and labor for the operation of the system will increase. After a joint meeting with the plant, a production management concept was developed with the use of “the set of shoe sizes in relevant quantity”. This proved to be a unique key to success in the management of this type of production. Seeing this decision, the head of the company „Ralf Ringer” immediately decided that he wanted to see the system implemented in his factories.

In this sense, we should not force everyone in a row to implement tasks within MES. MES has its place, but it is not a panacea that always and everywhere helps. It often turns out that production is well managed without the use of the full functionality of the MES system, but only with the help of some of its elements.

I turned my attention to this because of a man who was one of the most swuccessful project managers for the implementation of a management system in a machine-building enterprise. Based on the results of the project, the owners of the enterprise appointed him as a director. He succeessfully implemented ERP, including a production management system (MRP). It has achieved wonderful results by changing the way the enterprise is managed. I offered him to continue the MES implementation project and he shared with me the following ideas.

The effect of MES System based workshop control optimization

If we talk about a normal conventional mechanical engineering enterprise with established processes and want to increase its efficiency by implementing an integrated production management system, it is necessary to emphasize that in mechanical engineering the business process of production management is divided into three parts:

  • Production Data Management
  • Material Requirements Planning (MRP)
  • Manufacturing Execution System (MES)

According to my colleague’s opinion, the ratio between the degrees of influence of each part of the overall process efficiency improving production management should be 25:60:15.

If there are 10 workshops in the plant, then improving the management of each of them can affect the overall production efficiency within 1,5%. If the efficiency in a workshop increases by 10%, which is quite optimistic, then the overall efficiency will increase by 0,15%. How much resources and effort does it take to achieve this result?!

Equipment load optimization

He continued: And what can we expect if we go on the path of optimization of the load of the universal equipment in the workshop. For now, we will not discuss how this will affect corporate production management policy (not everything that is useful for the workshop meets the interests of the plant).

Setting time norms of operations that are close to reality, we can expect in serial and large-series production, where chronometry of operations takes place. But in these productions, the flows are usually optimized at the design stage of the workshops.

For serial and individual production, errors in the estimation of time norms within +/- 15% can be expected. And this is an optimistic assessment, applicable in cases where these times are not used for wage management purposes.

The good load of universal equipment in such production reaches up to 75%. We assume that we try to increase the load by 10%. Taking into account the norming error, we also get an error in the optimized load almost 13% (75%х110%x15%=12,4%)

It turns out that the result we are strving for, the less erroneous data with which we operate, defines the result as doubtful. As a result, talk about optimizing the load of universal equipment makes only a good marketing impression.

Moreover, for such optimization of the load on the equipment, where minutes are evaluated, it is necessary to provide feedback on the execution of the job tasks within minutes. Without stopping the operation of the machines. If during the planning there is no feedback on the execution of job tasks, we can not expect any optimization of the load.

Let’s assume that we have planned the most optimized load on the machines. The system has distributed the job tasks in such a sequence where the maximum load is obtained. We approve the job tasks, we start working, but today with Uncle Ivan the productivity does not work. “Triffle”, but violates our “best” plan, since the system implies compliance with the set technological performance. The violation of the plan by one machine alone leads, avalanchely to a violation of the plan of the others. Half an hour after the start of work our plan becomes an obstacle that has nothing to do with the optimality of the load.

 Should we abandon MES? Absolutely not! We just need to make the right changes.

What did our director do to improve production management at the plant?

With the help of „Technoclass” system, the plant analyzed the assortment of the details. Based on this, they developed an alternative production model based on CNC machines. As a result of that, they created two sections with two production cells.

The first cell includes 10 CNC turning centers and the second – four machining centers (they are 8 now). All equipment was purchased from MAZAK corporation. They integrated Technoclass system with the CPC Production Scheduler Yamazaki Mazak Corporation for management of production cells.

The choice of tooling was also carried out on the basis of an analysis carried out in Technoclass. The analysis showed that 82% of the production represents the production of 63 details. The tools were selected on the basis of the analysis for the production of these details. As a result, a saving of 30% of the standard set was achieved – costs decreased by 500,000 euros.