What is your focus on operational excellence models towards achieving the long-term goals in your organisation?
Lean Six Sigma philosophy is practiced aggressively as an operational excellence model, which is primarily based on five elements, viz 5S, standardisation, visual management, problem-solving and employee integration. In our shop floor, continuous improvement in material flow is mainly driven via Value Stream Map. Six Sigma DMAIC approach is being practiced for problem solving on various assembly and
machining processes. 5S is a chosen journey to continuously have the shop floor uplifted.
Can you brief us on the various manufacturing principles/ tools & production concepts used in your plants? Can you highlight some of the continuous improvement programmes practiced in your shop floor?
We have incorporated the smart technologies within the process, such as, assembly stations integrated with bar code scanning and data traceability, position/sequence control, torque & angle control screw drivers with feedback mechanism, force and stroke/displacement controlled pressing, verification of part presence by image processing and verification by camera.
Scrap cost and customer complaints are the key indicators for the operation performance leading to not just customer satisfaction, but it also determines customer delight. Built-in quality is enhanced through initiatives like Red flag, used as a tool to highlight, monitor and improve the conformance level on process as well as product and Layered review & audits, that weekly reviews with layered mechanism that triggers the action and implementation on all quality concerns.
In addition, Poka Yoke are extensively used across various assembly and machining processes, as well as extended in the packaging and logistics process. Kanban with 2 bin system triggers material feeding to assembly lines.
What do you think on the kind of automation or advanced technology strategy that has to be implemented in the shop floors for optimal ROI?
Consistency in quality and productivity can be sustained with the robust processes. Automation, to the extent of avoiding human dependency on process conformance, shall enable to have reliable processes and fulfil the customer demand. It will further have leverage over the competitor and retain the business as well. A strategy of having reliable and robust processes will lead to optimal ROI.
What are the major challenges faced in today’s shop floors? What would be your recommendations for them?
Today’s shop floor employees are educated and skilled with a high degree of IQ. Monotonous and repetitive tasks, without a learning journey makes them demoralised. Therefore, an approach of engaging the lowest level person in the company’s vision and a mission statement with a focus on individual development plan will support to motivate the people.
I would recommend change management as a solution. Any change in the product or process may have a vital effect on the product performance. Practicing robust change management, addressing the Four M (Man, Machine, Material and Method), change verification and validation will support so as to address the potential risk of shipping the deviated products.
Global technology analysts suggest that the advanced technology concepts like Industry 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), etc will certainly boost the productivity and growth in manufacturing industries. What are your views on this?
Yes, Industry 4.0 will boost the productivity by keeping the value stream completely connected from the supplier to customer. It would have real-time information of performance and enable management to act quickly and with speed. Overproduction, waiting time and excess inventory are the wastes, which can be overcome by deploying a smart technology like Industry 4.0.☐