It has been my privilege to perform numerous consulting projects for large and small industrial clients. My philosophy is that a consulting project is an implementation of a re-usable solution. Maybe one of these solutions is right for you. Please enjoy reading about some of these success stories, and let me know if I can do something similar for your business.
How do you squeeze more uptime out of your production line with minimal effort? A high-volume producer of disposable medical devices was having trouble with a special-purpose production machine. This machine, which included several dozen work stations, a dozen PLCs, and a team of operators, was experiencing downtimes of close to 50% of its 24-hour a day schedule. A variety of breakdown causes were evident, but no hard data existed to guide improvement efforts. The first step in solving this problem was implementation of a FRACAS (Failure Reporting and Corrective Action System) to collect information as to time, duration, and cause of each breakdown, as well as how it was repaired, and how effective the repair was. After a few weeks of operations with this FRACAS feeding a database, the top three downtime causes were easily identified, as well as some long-term solutions. Uptime was increased to over 85% in the first month following upgrade.
Production Process Redesign
How do you deal with explosive growth of your product's market? A supplier of defense communications components had operated a very low-volume production line for years, which functioned basically as a piece-work job shop. Suddenly, however, as the result of a windfall contract award, they needed to increase their production rate by a factor of four! Merely upscaling their facilities and personnel, even if that would have met with cost goals, would not have gotten them up to speed in time. Instead, a process flow analysis of the entire production process was conducted, using IDEF0 methodology. Using this IDEF0 model as a starting point, an entirely new production facility was designed, utilizing the economies of scale suddenly made available. The new production facility is being phased in to meet the schedule requirements of the new contract.
Weibull Reliability Analysis
Can you effectively and scientifically describe how good your product is? An aftermarket supplier of heat treated components for the transportation industry was having trouble convincing their customers of the superiority of their product over their competitor's product. They had access to large quantities of wear data for both the competitor's products and their own, but were unsure of how to present it in standard reliability terms. A Weibull analysis was performed on both sets of wear data, which generated industry-standard, and industry-accepted, reliability plots of both manufacturer's products, clearly demonstrating, in black and white, the anticipated service life for items from each supplier.
Plant Layout and Facility Planning
Are you confident that your planned expansion will work as intended? A manufacturer of plumbing supplies wanted to stop outsourcing its electroplating processes, but had no extra floor space for new equipment. Squeezing a new electroplating line into current space was possible, but the impact of the new plant layout was unknown, as was the size of electroplating line needed. A computer simulation of the plant was developed, and several new layouts tested. Also, electroplating lines of several different throughput capabilities were tested, to ensure that the line was properly sized to handle the throughput and variability of the rest of the shop. The best overall shop layout and electroplating line capability were selected and installed, with minimal disruption to the rest of the factory.