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FLEXO Magazine : October 2010
Technologies & Techniques Today, your home computer has multi-gigabyte drives and external drives hold terabytes of data. To put this in perspec- tive, one terabyte can hold the printed pages from 50,000 trees. Ten terabytes can hold the printed collection of the U.S. Library of Congress. Needless to say, developers of MIS soft- ware no longer need to worry about how much information is collected and stored about a flexographic printing operation. And your IT department should no longer be purging data and making it inaccessible. And what about the relational database? The well-de- signed MIS database is the foundation for statistical process control. Relational databases provide nearly infinite ways of relating one piece of data to another through reports, dashboards, and spreadsheets. The percentage of quotations converted into jobs can be relayed by year, by product, by salesperson, by estimator, etc. Similarly, substrate waste can be relayed by weight or MSI (thousand square inches), by job, by operator, by piece of equipment, etc. It can also show the change in orders per hour by machine type over the course of the third shift. A relational database provides the foundation to look at these statistics. Baseline Performance to Goal Although the capability to store the data is practically infinite, the ability to cost effectively collect that same data may not be so easy. Let’s look at the simple objective of reducing makeready waste using SPC as a tool. The goal may be keep- ing average makeready waste at 5 percent or better. The first step in SPC is measuring where the process currently stands. MIS shop floor data collection modules record this information in two ways. The first way is through manual input by employees, either onto a time sheet, which is keyed into the MIS at a later time, or directly into a shop floor data collection terminal. The second way is through a direct connection of the MIS into the equip- ment through tapping into programmable logic controllers (PLCs) or aftermarket counting systems. There are obvious benefits to the second method from an efficiency and accuracy perspective. This data will certainly be more reliable. Either way, this data will give a baseline for SPC. Analyzing the base- line can be done through reports and dashboards, but we’ll discuss this later on. The MIS can also be used to identify not only the baseline, but aid in bringing the baseline waste percentage into the desired range of 5 percent waste or better. The simplest way is through SPC charts displayed on a daily basis in each department showing actual results against a goal. Real-time reporting is also available, which takes the data from shop floor terminals or direct machine connections and displays this information on large monitors throughout the plant. And thirdly, shop floor terminals can immediately let operators know when they are performing better than plan, at plan, or worse than plan. Simply changing the monitor screen from green to red is an effective way of controlling the process. The challenge with collecting shop floor data is the ac- curacy of said data. A direct machine connection, taking advantage of the connectivity of today ’s equipment, is by far the most accurate and time-efficient method of data capture. Employee input into shop floor terminals is only as accurate as what and when an operator chooses to enter into the sys- tem. And this accuracy and time lag is only compounded with paper time sheets. sPc for Business Processes Management information systems are comprised of an integrated set of modules including estimating, job planning, scheduling, invoicing, and generally full accounts. Most sys- tems time-stamp any and all transactions. For example, the date and time an estimate was created and/or modified, the date the estimate was converted into an order, and the date an invoice was created, among myriad other dated transac- tions. These time stamps can provide a wealth of informa- tion to measure business process cycle times for cycle time improvement efforts. Time is the universal measure and can be equated to dollars, waste, inventory, and other key business indicators. Time is also the perfect measure for employee-based pro- cess improvement teams. Using tools such as value-stream mapping and A-Delta-T, the time stamps available in an MIS can provide data necessary to measure business process cycle time. For example, a team looking at decreasing the time it takes to send an invoice to a customer could use MIS time stamps to measure actual results, institute new pro- cesses, and measure progress. All of the milestones of the invoic- ing process are available in the MIS. The invoicing process begins with a shipped order (time stamp). It continues with receipt and entry of outsourced work invoices (time stamp). The pre-invoice is issued for review by the account manager (time stamp) for issue and time stamp for review. The invoice is sent to the customer (time stamp). The delta between each of these steps can be tracked and the effectiveness of process improvements can be measured by the increase or decrease in these deltas. Other key performance indicators that can be tracked with the MIS in- clude the conversion rate of estimates to jobs, on time delivery percentage, and month-end close time to name a few. The conversion rate can be A dashboard showing data analytics. 10 FLeXO october 2010 www.flexography.org FLX_Oct10_mech.indd 10 10/15/10 12:31 AM
Sustainable Fall 2010