Lean Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, AI, Automation and Industry 4.0

These are all fancy terms that executives and experienced leaders know but does your shop floor know what these terms and principles are? How do you teach your operators the basics of a manufacturing process with the constant turnover in today’s market?

The fact of the matter is that our manufacturing processes and improvement processes are very similar to the manufacturing processes created during the industrial revolution.  We have put lipstick on a pig and come up with fancy names.  These flashy terms are more for sales than they are to improve your manufacturing operations.  But what if your production tracking software also helped educate your operators on manufacturing processes while creating the next generation of manufacturing professionals?

Enter “The Gloria Effect”. On a recent project, one of our consultants was walking the shop floor in a client’s plant and stopped to ask an operator named Gloria how she liked using ProductionNet.   Gloria liked how easy it was to use but said that she does not understand OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) even though people tried to explain it to her many times.

Our consultant, borrowed the tablet and showed her the ProductionNet Dashboard. 

He said “Gloria, look at our Total Loss Overview chart.  The green is good parts, the red is defects, the blue is performance, and the yellow is downtime.  What percent of this graph is the green?”

Gloria said, “About 75%.”

“Bingo, that is your OEE.”

The lightbulb went off and Gloria began to tell Jeff how she now understands how good parts, downtime, defects, and performance on her line are all related and affect the plant’s production.  Gloria now has buy-in. 

The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of manufacturing processes are human-dependent and will be for quite some time.  We cannot continue to invent new and complicated terms and ideas while leaving our operators behind.  When you invest in your people, you are improving your operations in the short and long term.  These operators are the next generation of supervisors, managers, and COO’s and should be treated as such.  Your software tools and manufacturing processes could be teaching your staff while they work.  Invest in your people, invest in your operations and use tools that are constantly improving your manufacturing processes.

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