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Setting Priorities

Discussion in 'Manufacturing and Related Processes' started by Marcusja2002, Jul 27, 2016.

  1. Marcusja2002

    Marcusja2002 Member

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    I'm trying to develop a process that will inform operators what the priority is without having to be directly on the floor at every moment updating them of the new priorities.

    We are a manual process so I don't have access to a computer screen that will show them digitally what product to grab next.

    Just trying to get some ideas to benchmark off of to ensure the highest efficiency and likely hood the employee's will pick up and use. (I already asked operators opinions and they gave the whatever you want we'll do)

    Thanks in advance for any help.
     
  2. normzone

    normzone Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm...

    Just some thoughts here - What in your process flow is so chaotic that they need to be prepared to respond to changing conditions ?
     
  3. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

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    Magnets and a magnet board. We put every order on a business card sized magnet. They then go on a board and are laid out where/when we want run. Easy to update and requires no special skills. Very visual.
     
  4. ncwalker

    ncwalker Well-Known Member

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    It would really help if we had more details of what the process was. How many processes in parallel. Etc.

    You will hear the buzzword "visual management" which wrongly gets interpreted as "put up boards and screens everywhere with colors." That CAN work, but other things will as well. Ever turn in a rental car at the airport? There's usually 3 to 5 lanes to pull in to to drop the car. And they visually manage this by looking at the length of the lane. That's visual management. If you have multiple feeds and you are trying to balance them, you can simply paint lines on the containers or bins. Keep the pile in the green zone .... order more stock in the yellow zone .... yell for help in the red....

    As far as setting priorities on what to work on - and I mean, three things break, you have one maintenance guy, what does he jump on? Different than the replenishment scenario, but priorities just the same.... You can hang cards on the hot machines. Or have a "hot list" in the maintenance area. Same applies for set up people or roving quality techs.

    A long time ago, I was at a place that had a 3 foot long lime green baton. Whatever group was in the biggest pickle for timing, decided on at the morning meeting, the lead of that group had to carry this lime green baton. They literally called it the "passing the baton meeting." This was a 3 shift operation, so it was conducted 3 times a day. Guy with the baton was the guy on the critical path. For that 8 hr period, whatever he needed, he got. Holding the baton meant he implicitly had priority and could request resources with the authority of the site manager. That was very effective.

    You say you don't have computer screens. I've been in lots of places, I think no screens is a good thing. Screens lead to cobbled together systems that aren't flexible. Computers are good for lots of historical data for data mining and root causing long term things and establishing patterns. Also for repeated, mundane calculations. A production floor isn't like that. It's more like a battlefield.

    One of my favorite tricks is this - give your leads a roll of colored sticky dots. Those circular labels that come like 1000 to a roll. Each functional area gets a color. OR each shift. Doesn't matter. Have them go around and do their jobs for a week. Every time they look at a display, or a chart on the wall, or a gage on a machine to make a decision about running the floor, they put a color dot by it. At the end of the week, look where the dots appear. If something doesn't have dots, it may be a distraction. At the end of the exercise, ask them what they would have LIKED to have had. The exercise gets them thinking "Boy, what would be cool and a big help would be if I had a XXXX to give me this information." Objects with lots of dots.... ask yourself ....
    Are they accurate enough?
    Are they located in a good spot? (Some instances, it's best if they are all together to prevent wandering around. But ALL together? Or is it smarter to have subgroups? Can you even move them?)

    The key question is this: If you have a piece of data that generates a decision ... is there a way you can do it with a clever arrangement of things so that it is NATURALLY GENERATED. These always work best. If it requires tending or reorganizing by a human, once you get busy, that falls by the wayside. And you start making bad decisions because you have bad clues. I call it the death spiral.

    Last - do you use "smart books?" Your maintenance lead should have a book where he is journaling things. This gets passed to the second shift guy, and then the third. Changeover meetings are good, but people want to go home. Out of respect, they are then brief. Augment them with smart books. Second shift guy comes on, gets the key points from first shift, and gets his shift rolling. Then, at his leisure, he can browse the smart book for more details. Your major functional areas should use them. Those composition books are ideal. Some even come with graph paper, which can be better for sketching.

    Also - 5S is KEY. Visual management doesn't work in a messy shop. Messes are distracting.

    I can't help more than that without more information on your process and what kind of processes you run.
     
  5. Marcusja2002

    Marcusja2002 Member

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    Some of the chaos is caused due to the work being done in this loop isn't balanced. For example it can take 1 hour to complete all the rework, but 8 hours to then inspect them all. This allows potentially hot items to be bypassed if a smaller quantity, less hot material completed the process and makes it back to rework before the hot item. Its possible due to inspection time multiple items of lower severity make it through the rework loop before the higher priority item is. (also completely understand the rework right the first time, but many of the inspections we have to make can't be inspected on the floor which causes this loop. This is a separate project we are working on.)
    That is why I need someway of telling the operators when the hot inspection is completed that needs to be worked on right away / this is the highest priority on this shift.
     
  6. ncwalker

    ncwalker Well-Known Member

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    That's a little bit better of a picture. What you have here is a staging/priority problem.

    Paint your floor - one color (I would say purple, even though "red" is considered "hot" it is also universally the color of "rejects") for the hot items and one color for the normal items. Then the WIP in front of this process is prioritized by location. You could also put up ropes/flags around them in this way.

    The painted floor has the advantage of a hard limit - instructions are the "hot" area cannot be 100% full for more than a shift. But it has the disadvantage of flexibility. The converse is true for the flags. You can adjust the size of your hot area. But, the downside is you can adjust the size of your hot area.

    Your third visual mark is the "send help" line. If the WIP gets above this point, the line supervisor has authorization to go grab labor off of other things.

    Keep it simple.

    Handle incoming items either by an incoming item area that is dispositioned into the hot and normal areas, say, twice a shift. OR you put up a list of parts you can change when needed that tells which zone they go in if at all.
     
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