Changeover during runout

Consumer goods manufacturer wanted to start new work orders as soon as the first zone of a line became available, rather than waiting until the product was completely run out.

Scenario

Factora’s role was to:

  • Review and update legacy code and reports to work with this new plan
  • Coordinate changes and testing across siloed departments
  • Create a department-specific test plan for any changes made
  • Create a deployment plan for an inexperienced implementation team
  • Work to a tight deadline to complete the project before the end of the fiscal year

Problems

  • Change had the potential to affect 4 separate teams who were not used to working together.
  • Some teams, not heavy users of MES, struggled to identify issues ahead of time.
  • Test environments lacked realistic data.
  • Implementation would be done by a separate contractor, who would lack Factora’s level of MES experience.
  • Factora’s contribution to the project lay directly on the critical path – any missed deadline would result in a project delay.

Solution

Factora:

  • Reviewed new issues as they were identified and proactively identified concerns before rework was needed.
  • Successfully implemented a test line and imported data from another server to ensure that changes could be thoroughly tested before delivery.
  • Generated step-by-step implementation guide for inexperienced operators
  • Named dedicated resources to ensure all work was delivered on time and that any roadblock that could not be quickly resolved was immediately escalated.

Several additional actions helped to ensure deliverables were provided on time:

  • Started project with a full-impact analysis by interviewing all 4 customer teams to ensure the solution would address all business areas, plus gain buy-in.
  • Factora team committed to responding positively to surprises. Focus was to ensure any new issue was fixed without pushing deadlines.
  • Meetings were held twice weekly between Factora and various customer departments. Questions and concerns could be raised immediately upon discovery.
  • Factora team met internally to ensure optimal use of time. If a team member finished a task ahead of schedule, they were resourced to other tasks.

Results

  • Client MES now associates a work order with a given zone, rather than entire line. Two different work orders can be run simultaneously, so the line front is not idle while a work order finishes at the end.
  • Production metrics are associated with 1 zone rather than averaged for an entire line. Operator can more easily identify where a slowdown is starting.
  • Efficiency was significantly improved without making changes to day-to-day tasks of line operators.