Production Processes are crucial for profitability
For a technology based company the optimization of the Production Processes is a fundamental factor to satisfy the quality, reliability, time and costs requirements.
Usually the poor-quality costs can be quite high due to expensive operations such as reworking, repairing and defect recovery, especially during warranty period. Moreover, very often the corrective actions regard only the specific products affected with non conformity problems, so that they do not result in systemic solutions.
Corrective actions also often do not identify the real root causes related to the product design and production processes, so that they do not result in decisive and effective solutions.
The effective approach to improve production processes
The maximum benefits are achieved by developing the production processes simultaneously with the product development, applying the Concurrent Engineering methods, in order to limit the variability of the product characteristics, in spite of the parameters variation of the production process (see Product Development Process).
However, regarding the production processes already operational, some effective actions can be taken to make the production processes robust, on the base of the concept to pass from product non-conformity corrections to product characteristics control up to the variability control of process parameters, taking into account the cost-benefits evaluation.
This approach follows the following scheme:
- Identification of the critical product characteristics that should be kept under control to fully realize the main product functions
- Assignment of the related capability targets (product characteristic tolerance to process-dependent characteristic variation ratio)
- Process Control of the product characteristics according to the Control Plan.
More benefits are achieved with further steps regarding the process parameters:
- Identification of the factors ("5M", i.e. machines, methods, etc.) impacting on product characteristics variability
- Sensitivity analysis of the factors
- Classification of the importance of the process parameters
- Control of the process parameters according to the updated Control Plan
- Monitoring of the long term capability of the product characteristics, to verify the process improvement achieved regarding stability (main value) and variability (variance).
The improvement implementation phase is strongly dependant on the actual process, but it is crucial to focus on the following key factors:
- Application of structured methods, e. g. Process FMEA, DOE, Tolerance Analysis and Allocation, Problem Solving
- Appropriate measuring systems (accuracy, repeatability, reproducibility)
- Error-proofing techniques to limit human errors
- Personnel competences for the key operations.
Who is the client of these services
Any manufacturing company.
Services for Company Capability Improvement
4S has identified basic organizational and technical guidelines to set up effective production processes during the Product Development according the concurrent engineering approach (see Product Development) or to improve an actual Production Process.
4S provide the services listed hereafter to permanently structure the production processes.
Maturity Level Appraisal
The Maturity Level Appraisal performed by 4S on the Production Processes Management gives the picture of the “as-is” situation versus the minimum requirements to set up robust processes inside your Company.
The Maturity Level reference model used by 4S is tailored to your company organization, product line and technology to identify the critical areas to be improved.
Company Processes Development
On the basis of the results of the Maturity Level Appraisal, 4S helps your Company to improve Production Processes, following the approach briefly described in the above paragraph "The effective approach to improve production processes".
Company Methods and Processes Audit
During the improvement phase of the Production Processes, 4S performs audits to monitor the implementation progress and propose possible corrective actions. The gaps identified in the Maturity Level Appraisal are the reference for the audits.
Personnel Training and Qualification
Training on-the-job programs are performed by 4S to fill the gaps identified for the improvement of the crucial Production Processes, to embed the best practices and assure the required competences.
Products: software tools
4S can provide customer tailored software tools to manage the optimization of the Production Processes for specific industry sectors, including Process FMEA and Control Plan.