2013 – Adapt or Die

Information presented at the MTConnect 2012 conference in Cincinnati, OH. clearly emphasized that the Manufacturing world is going to change extremely fast in the next few years.

Many examples of “How and Why a Royalty-free and Open-Source Standard is Revolutionizing the Business and Technology of Manufacturing” are provided in the book written by Dave Edstrom, President of MTConnect, To Measure Is to Know.  The main point of the book is that the new manufacturing equipment will have a common “Bluetooth type data” speak-ability to interface with software monitoring, your enterprise resource planning (ERP), and any other software, including your financial software.

This common speak-ability will allow for the capturing and linking of detailed real-time performance monitoring of shop floor actions, with planned road maps executing customer work orders for real-time proactive intervention, and, more importantly, historical information to analyze for strategic competitive advantage and continuous improvement.

Stop and read the above paragraph again.  Think of what “accurate real-time shop floor critical information” would mean in your current work environment.  You could make better decisions throughout your daily manufacturing processes, regarding order tracking, quality, rework, overall scheduling optimization, customer delivery, and most importantly, the impact on profit.  Detailed historical data could dramatically improve job estimates, material usage, updated work order planning values by individual work station, and optimizing product mix decisions using “Contribution by Constraint hour” information.[1]  Guidelines would be implemented for the sequence of handling unplanned events and would be made visible from the shop floor to the top floor, enabling all levels of the organization to automatically take immediate corrective action.

Now you might say “that is great for those manufacturers getting new equipment, but we aren’t in that group.”  This is where the “Adapt or Die” situation becomes visible.  You can either choose the current criteria that is on the market and remain “blinded” because you don’t have the new manufacturing equipment listed above (and in turn, you can get eaten up by the competition with the new equipment).  Or you can launch your own new real-time information revolution on your already existing equipment.

So how can this be done?  How can you launch a revolution on your existing equipment?  Your organization must first be able to recognize that the compatible MTConnect hardware/software information capability is already available for ALL Legacy machines.  Providers such as the Memex MERLIN system and the advanced Financial OEE value stream analysis can be applied specific to your site using your current Line of Business product portfolio.[2]

But what evidence exists except for this Blog?  A brief review of Modern Machine Shops “2012 Top Shop” survey indicates that of the 350 completed surveys, the top 12% show that the average Top Shop versus the average of the “Other” shops are 70% more likely to do Continuous Improvement, 75% more likely to do Value Stream Analysis, 150% more likely to do Theory of Constraints and have 12% higher OEE. (These results are all from data driven activities).  Over half of the completed surveys indicated that they were Job Shop environments.  Top Shops show that the days between order placed and product delivery is 39% less, and the Top Shop customer growth rate is double that of the “Other” shops.

Overall, the “Adapt or Die” scenario is about launching a new information revolution on the already existing equipment, focusing on speed and proficiency.  The real question is “how fast can we implement real-time data collection and incorporate the education to leverage the new information revolution?”  If you are not in front of the competition, you are behind it, and chances are that you will experience several set backs along the way.

– Robert Hansen

Author OEE: A Powerful Production/Maintenance Tool for Increased Profits

R.C. Hansen Consulting, LLC.


[1] 20% More Profit for Free – Last weeks Memex blog

[2] www.OEE-College.com