Quantifying "productive" or "value adding activity" in a visual and meaningful way is often the first step in achieving significant productivity improvement objectives. The following study shows how one FreePoint customer successfully increased the efficiency of their critical processes by 69% over a one-year time span, reducing production costs and increasing capacity without incurring any significant capital expense.
The following study demonstrates how one FreePoint customer successfully increased the efficiency of their critical processes by 69% over a one-year time span, reducing production costs and increasing capacity without incurring any significant capital expense.
The customer is a modern machine shop located in the border region in Mexico. The shop has 4 Electrical Discharge Machines (EDM) that are critical to the company’s production. Tooling shops are very similar to other "job shops" - each job is unique and may only run one time. The time between jobs (when the machine is not "in cycle" or "in production") is often more critical that the time periods when the jobs are running.
The image below (the before scenario) shows pertinent productivity information from these 4 machines from a typical day in October 2015. The blue bars illustrate the EDM machines’ run times for a 24 hour period and the white gaps indicates the setup time between each run. Both the run (blue bar) & setup times (white bar) vary depending on the job. The shop, in the before scenario, required 24 hours of scheduled production time to produce a total of 43.5 hours of “value adding” activity using the 4 machines on that day.
The screenshot below illustrates the exact same 4 EDM machines shown one year later (October 2016). Similar to the previous scenario, the blue bars still vary in accordance with the jobs being run on each machine, however, the setup times (the white gaps between the blue bars) are now consistently smaller than the 2015 snapshot. The result is that less time is being lost between productive “value adding” periods. For the customer, this means that more value adding activity (specifically 57 hours on this day) occurred in less scheduled production time (two 8.5 hour shifts vs. three 8 hour shifts). All of the recovered lost machine time was then aggregated, and the machines were freed up for an entire shift. Not only does this decrease production cost for parts being produced, but it increases the plant’s capacity and ability to take on more work.
The image below compares the month of October 2015 to the same month, one year later in 2016. As illustrated in the graph, every day of the month in October 2015 had machine activity, meaning that employees were in the shop running the machines. In 2016, the machine activity occurred only on weekdays, freeing up most weekend shifts as well. This allowed the customer to increase their capacity and take on more business. The machines efficiency went up from 33% on a typical 24 hour day in 2015 to 56% on a typical 17 hour day in 2016 representing an increase of 69%.
The team in the plant (the company management, supervisors and operators) deserve all of the direct credit for this significant improvement. The FreePoint system was just the internal system that quantified their value adding efforts and displayed them in meaningful ways in real time. (At that rate of productivity improvement, the FreePoint system paid for itself in 20 days, and the cost of the ShiftWorx subscription is recovered in the first day of every month. It’s hard to beat that kind of ROI !)
For more information on how a FreePoint system can be used in your plant to help with your continuous improvement efforts, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org