Improve with XL
The XL Productivity Appliance™ is an extremely flexible and powerful tool for improving manufacturing productivity. Our goal with XL is simple – make it incredibly easy for you to achieve unprecedented improvements in manufacturing productivity.
To give you a better sense of how XL can help, we have put together a collection of popular manufacturing improvement initiatives and applications that are enhanced by XL.
The Core Imperative
It can be difficult to know where to start when embarking on a broad program to improve manufacturing productivity. There's a lot of well-written and insightful theory, but much less in the way of practical tips and insights
So while you are evaluating large-scale initiatives like Lean Manufacturing, Theory of Constraints, and Six Sigma, we have hand-picked three of our favorite strategies for delivering quick wins.
Unlock Your Hidden Factory
Have you ever heard of the “hidden factory”? It's a really useful concept, based on the fact that most equipment is not used anywhere near its true capacity. In fact, the difference between typical manufacturing (OEE score of 60%) and world-class manufacturing (OEE score of 85%) represents a 41.6% increase in capacity.
So before you purchase new equipment to increase capacity, make sure you know how much untapped potential there is in your factory.
More Run, Less Inventory
Changeovers are periods of time where equipment is unavailable due to tooling changes, material changes, or any other changes to production that must be performed while equipment is stopped. By applying best practices to changeovers, their duration can often be reduced to less than 10 minutes.
Shorter changeovers mean more time for running production, smaller batch sizes, and less inventory.
Make Every Cycle Count
Cycle time loss occurs whenever equipment runs slower than its maximum theoretical speed (the Ideal Cycle Time). It's an aspect of production that benefits greatly from automated measurement as cycle losses are extremely difficult to capture manually. As a result, many manufacturers find that cycle time losses are hidden – they are not tracked and not acted upon.
Attack the Largest Source of Lost Time
Down time typically gets a high level of focus in manufacturing. Equipment failures and breakdowns are highly visible, and for most manufacturers unplanned stops are the single largest source of lost production time.
Reducing down time is often the fastest and most direct path to improved manufacturing productivity. Unfortunately, many companies don't realize that their down time information is both inaccurate and insufficient. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to fix.
Spend Less, Make More
There are two particularly interesting perspectives on reducing manufacturing costs: spend less (manufacture the same number of parts in less time) OR make more (manufacture more parts in the same time).
Lean Manufacturing tends to focus on the former (by eliminating waste), while the Theory of Constraints tends to focus on the latter (by increasing throughput). Both offer proven techniques for reducing manufacturing costs.
Deliver Real-Time OEE to Your Entire Team
Displaying your OEE score in real-time brings an entirely new momentum to OEE improvement initiatives. OEE reports are usually only available to managers as a record of what happened in the past. You can learn from the past – but you can't change it. On the other hand, you can most definitely change the future, and the best way to do that is to take action today – preferably right now.
Displaying OEE or related metrics in real-time enables supervisors to proactively set live targets, and enables your production team to immediately see the results of their improvement actions.
Supersize Your Counts
Use production counters for much more than just counting – use them to drive improved productivity. Did you know that with just two sensors you can generate literally dozens of meaningful and insightful metrics that will help you improve manufacturing productivity? Metrics like Down Time, Run Time, Cycle Time, First Pass Yield, Efficiency, OEE, TEEP, and so, so many more.
Win the Shift
KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are a proven tool for aligning the actions of individuals. They focus a disparate group of people into a high-performance team. When KPIs are used in manufacturing there is an extra dimension to consider – the importance of communicating real-time KPIs to plant floor employees.
Scoreboards are an ideal way to communicate real-time KPIs to your plant floor team. We recommend that you design real-time scoreboards to communicate three types of information: Expectations (“Where should we be?”), Performance (“Where are we?”), and Achievement (“How are we doing?”).
The Rhythm of Production
One of the core Lean Manufacturing principles is to use Takt Time to match the pace of production to customer demand. In practice, many companies choose to use Takt Time in a slightly different way – to pace actual production to the expected rate of production (the customer in this case being an “internal” entity).
Paying attention to Takt Time will help you develop a steady rhythm in production and make it much easier to know if you are ahead, behind, or right on schedule.