Without any capital investment.
Every manufacturing company aims to increase its production efficiency. It’s a goal that’s woven into business operating strategies, a top priority when considering process changes along the value chain and is essential to enhancing gross profits and remaining competitive in the market.
What if we told you that proper implementation of one tool can increase your main performance measurement, Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE), by at least 5 points, and up to a whopping 12 points? We want to let you in on what major manufacturers like DuPont, Dow and Appvion have long recognized: Product Wheels have the ability to transform your production scheduling, resulting in improved OEE, higher throughput, and increased ability to meet market demand.
Product Wheels are used to introduce a regularly repeating sequence of the production of various products. The sequence is optimized to simplify changeovers, increase throughput and reduce loss. Wheels can be applied to a major piece of process equipment, such as a paint mixer, or to an entire line, such as a shampoo bottling line. Implementation of Product Wheels results in production scheduling that drives significant, sustained improvements in several areas of operations, including OEE.
Top 5 ways Product Wheels can impact your OEE
Reduction in the number of changeovers
A main feature of Product Wheels is the optimization of changeovers. A key driver of this optimization is implementing fixed, repeatable production cycles that allow each product to be run only as frequently as the run length will justify the changeover.
- Cycle lengths for each line are set to match the optimal run size for the largest volume products assigned to that line. Typically, this results in a reduction in the number of runs for higher-volume products, with the remaining runs increasing in length, saving you time and resources by cutting down the number of changeovers required.
- While high volume products are made every cycle, lower volume products may be made every second or fourth cycle. This significantly increases the run length of lower volume products and reduces the number of changeovers. Analysis may reveal some products are most appropriate to run on a make-to-order basis rather than make-to-stock, further reducing the number of changeovers required.
These adjustments to production cycles significantly increase average run length resulting in fewer changeovers overall – nothing but good news when it comes to OEE.
Reduction in the complexity of changeovers
As part of the Product Wheel implementation process, the key parameters needing to be adjusted on any changeover are carefully examined. This may include characteristics such as bottle diameter and height, cap type, or allergen content. By gaining a full understanding of these parameters and the products they belong to, products are grouped into families with similar changeover characteristics. These families are allocated to a specific production machine or packaging line, dramatically reducing the number of parameters needing to change on any line. A line which had traditionally run as many as 10 bottle sizes within a month, for example, may be reduced to running only 3 sizes in the same length of time.
The products included within each cycle are then placed in an order designed to further simplify changeovers. In collaboration with key players such as a team leader, planning manager, and set-up mechanic, the sequence is determined based on the main parameters affecting changeovers to ease line reconfiguration and limit material losses. This is done for each production line. The result: simpler, faster changeovers, contributing several points of OEE improvement.
Reduction in the number of minor stops after a changeover
Because Product Wheels reduce the number of parameters that need to be adjusted on any changeover, there are fewer opportunities for things to be slightly misadjusted. Run lengths are longer, which means more time for production lines to run “settled in” after the often inevitable fine tuning done at start-up. Overall run patterns are more predictable, allowing the opportunity for planned maintenance. As a result, the equipment tends to run much more smoothly after the re-start, with fewer minor stops or adjustments required.
Reduction in the material losses on changeovers
Using Product Wheels to strategically group products and allocate them to a specific production line reduces the complexity of changeovers required, minimizing material waste. The optimal order of production within each line and cycle further reduces waste by making each individual changeover simpler and faster, with a reduction in the time it takes to get back up to full speed. Having production arranged in optimal sequences on fixed, repeatable cycles means the reduction in material losses will be sustained for as long as the wheels are maintained and used.
Increased time available for preventative maintenance
Companies quickly experience increased stability and predictability with their scheduling after implementing Product Wheels, as most of the production follows standard patterns. This frees up capacity to focus on rush orders, other disruptions, and preventative maintenance. You may think that taking the time for preventative maintenance reduces OEE in the short term but having the time available to perform these vital tasks ultimately improves equipment reliability, increasing OEE. The extra capacity also provides an opportunity to reduce overtime or sell more, if you are oversold. Product Wheels for the win – again.
Interested to learn more about the impact Product Wheels can have on your OEE? Zinata has extensive expertise, experience and the tools to work with you to rapidly implement Product Wheels. We also have a proven method that will make ongoing scheduling with Product Wheel patterns easier and faster. We’ll provide you with the knowledge and skill to easily and effectively schedule your production day to day for sustained results. Let’s work together to create a significant uptick in your OEE, throughput, and ability to give your customers what they want when they want it.
Peter L. King, CSCP, is a principal consultant at Zinata Inc. specializing in the application of lean concepts to process manufacturing and global supply chains. Previously, he spent 42 years at DuPont where he transformed manufacturing operations and global supply chains through Value Stream Mapping, Supply Chain Mapping, inventory optimization, and other Lean tools. King is the author of several books including The Product Wheel Handbook. King may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alan H. Nall is a principal consultant with Zinata Inc. specializing in manufacturing improvement and program and project management. Prior to Zinata Inc, he spent 32 years working for and with companies like P&G, DuPont, Eli Lilly & Co., Pioneer Hi-Bred, MillerCoors and NBTY, consistently identifying and executing change that has improved results, saved money and built capability. Nall may be contacted at email@example.com.