Don’t you hate interruptions? One moment you’re cruising along, the next, you’re dead in the water. Stranded. All momentum lost. That feeling of being in the zone, fully immersed and focused, is sometimes referred to as the flow state. In this world of attention deficit and people’s focus being pulled in a hundred different directions all at once, to be able to get to and stay in a flow state is pure bliss.
The same applies to manufacturing.
When operations are firing on all cylinders — full staff performing their duties, machines up and running, materials flowing from one location to another without impediment — it too is pure bliss. However, such a state has become more and more difficult to maintain recently. If it’s not one interruption, it’s another: a shortage of people resources, materials getting delayed at port, machines going down, wild swings in customer demand. Manufacturers can feel like the proverbial Dutch boy fruitlessly plugging holes in the dike with their fingers.
While there is no magic bullet to end every malady along the supply chain, there are very intelligent ways to control what we can.
In a world rife with shortages, it’s critical to ensure you are maximizing yields. Consider that industrial production fell 1.3 percent in September of 2021, with manufacturing output dropping 0.7 percent the same month. Mining production alone fell 2.3 percent. While some of those hits can be attributed to the effects of Hurricane Ida, the point stands that in order to minimize the effect of “acts of god” and the like, manufacturers better be on their A game.
The more yields are increased, scrap rates reduced, and RMAs, returns, and recalls minimized, the more value can be wrung out of what you do have to work with. Simple, right? Snap your fingers and optimize your way out of the bottomless hole. If only it were so simple.
What if there were a way to double production yield, eliminate 99.999 percent of recalls, and recoup tens of millions of dollars in operational savings, all while enhancing customer engagement and loyalty? “Poppycock!” you might think (or some other colorful expletive you prefer).
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