August 16, 2016
With WinSPC, one 70-year-old instrument manufacturer is tracking sub-assemblies into the assemble stage and beyond for traceability and analysis.
This seventy-year-old Japanese instrument manufacturer operates in more than one hundred countries and produces a variety of award winning and market leading test instruments for the automotive, environmental, medical and semiconductor markets.
This firm’s instrument production team was facing challenges going from prototype to production. Those responsible for design and prototyping believed that they could benefit from a better exchange of early production data with the team responsible for developing and refining each model as it scaled in final production.
Closing-the-loop on these production lessons was a necessary step in maximizing their speedy ramp-up to full output. Additionally, customers were requesting more complete documentation about the goods shipped to them. The vocal customers certainly helped to get the capital allocated, but the technical teams knew that the real gains were to be found after complying with their customer’s requirement to document manufacturing capability and outputs.
Part of the challenge was that prototype development was documented with the aid of flexible spreadsheets that evolved along with the product as it came into final form. The prototype team felt that this flexibility and workflow met their needs.
But production systems and the data about early ramp-up problems flowed into the Microsoft database systems on the production floor. These systems collected production data that was key to tracking various assemblies or products. Bringing these flows together would be required to report on manufacturing capability or compliance for customers. To do this with the existing environment would require extensive manual exchanges of data to build reports or specialized integrations.
The instrument production team sought the assistance of the WinSPC team. A solution was then designed and implemented on-site in a matter of days. The solution will track sub-assemblies as WinSPC parts and use tags to track these parts into assemblies and beyond for later traceability and analysis.
The manufacturing process provided a clear way to implement this because testing occurs typically at the end of every stage of production and then at each point of integration. This information about how various parts and assemblies change at these stages will be key to their goal of getting to final values on new products as quickly as possible.
Rather than document the development process in an isolated system, the new definitions will be constructed in WinSPC as they prototype. Then as the parts, assemblies and finished goods move to production these setups will be used there as well. The final result is a unified solution that will later provide guidance for the key decision points in their process, while helping to quantify their manufacturing capabilities for customers today.
More importantly they will be able to reduce the guesswork in determining the initial specifications and settings for adding new products to production and speed the path to full output using the knowledge contained in this system.
Even though their initial goal was to use WinSPC to assure a large client that they had the process capability required to deliver the instruments requested, they have already achieved far more benefits than that. They have unified their data storage and created relationships in the data that follow the history of items moving through production and on to customers.
In the future they intend to move beyond thinking in terms of customer dictated compliance and instead focus on reducing the time and cost incurred from mistakes during early production. By driving improvement up-stream in the production process, they are optimistic of meeting their company’s goal to produce finished goods more quickly and cheaply.
About DataNet Quality Systems
DataNet Quality Systems empowers manufacturers to improve products, processes, and profitability through real-time statistical software solutions. The company’s vision is to deliver trusted and capable technology solutions that allow manufacturers to create the highest quality product for the lowest possible cost. DataNet’s flagship product, WinSPC, provides statistical decision-making at the point of production and delivers real-time, actionable information to where it is needed most. With thousands of installed facilities worldwide and distributors across the globe, DataNet is dedicated to delivering a high level of customer service and support, shop-floor expertise, and professional Continuous Improvement, Six Sigma, and Lean Manufacturing services.