Once we have our structures and teams aligned, we will see an automatic improvement in equipment performance without any specific improvement programs. This may surprise some, so we need to understand why.
- Alignment of department policies to a central focus with commitment from team members will ensure that full support is available all the time. An example of this is a changeover in a production process. Planning and preparation for the changeover must be completed before the end of the current run, and the changeover must start immediately after line closure. The teams measure the time taken at each change over, and strive for continuous improvement.
- Maintenance of equipment is planned in advance and included in the monthly and weekly production schedule, so that we eliminate breakdown maintenance, and over time reduce breakdowns to the minimum.
- Performance measures are aligned to promote Compliant Productivity, rewarding teams for collaborative effort.
- Key departments like the QC laboratories are scheduled in the same manner as the factory. The use of standards, reagents and Analytical columns are monitored and prepared in advance of use, calculations and report writing is automated as far as possible. Raw materials testing is scheduled separately from product testing to ensure materials availability to meet the schedule.
- Buffers are filled to ensure that constraints are optimized.
Changes like these mentioned above require constant practice until they become an automatic function, they are measured on an ongoing basis so that we can track our performance and levels of improvement.
The next step is to study the process or line to ascertain where it’s constraint is and to then ensure that it runs permanently. Remember that the constraint will always determine what the throughput is so any time lost here is lost throughput.