Tying it all together

Author – Tim Smith

My role in enhancing manufacturing has provided me a unique view into an industry which is desperate to perform and paranoid to advance. Many manufacturers today understand conceptually that improvement strategies can greatly benefit their productivity and bottom line, but they have no sound understanding of how it all ties together. The tyranny of the immediate demands all of their focus and time just to keep feeding the beast, staying competitive and meeting delivery dates and deadlines. How many of you struggle just to meet the demands of your current job? That many.. So, what’s the point of my post? The typical manufacturing floor is made up of assets. Machines are assets and personnel are assets. The latter do a lot of communicating, the former do not.

The machines which populate the shop floor not only do not speak the same language, many have no capability to speak at all. MTConnect has championed an open standard by which machines can communicate, ( see mtconnect.org ). There is now a Rosetta Stone for machines. With MTConnect equipped machines a manufacturer can “See” their shop floor. Even in it’s simplest implementation, the ability to have the shop floor visible means “knowing” what assets are producing and which assets are not. This ability will immediately garner productivity improvements by identifying capacity and utilization constraints.