Operational Excellence (Part 3)

Blog by Mark Scanel, Vice President of Operations: 

As Glebar advances its Operational Excellence Program, we are presented with the opportunity to fine tune our operation and take a closer look at how and why things flow through the facility.  

Our cloud-based machine monitoring solution, Glebar Advanced Analytics, is now collecting data from over 60% of our in-house CNC equipment.  Watching the data sets grow and develop into actionable data has been very exciting.

Here is one scenario; we receive and explore a comment from the facility floor, such as, “I had to go looking for tools.”  Right away all the buzz words come to mind; 5S, Lean, Six Sigma, etc.  But with countless potential projects, how do we know which one will be the most impactful to our operation?  Using the graphical data generated from Glebar Advanced Analytics, we can see what time is value-added (making the part) versus non-value-added time (downtime) – for example setting up a job or waiting for inspection.  This data proves empirically that we can greatly affect output by focusing on reducing the non-value-added time.  It can also help produce an ROI for a specific project.  This isn’t anything new, and you probably didn’t need any system to tell you that, but as with most companies, our resources aren’t infinite, so where do you focus your attention?  This is where Glebar Advanced Analytics shines.  

It isn’t enough to just collect information and divide our time into the value- and non-value-added time buckets.  We need quick and specific summaries for the mountains of data without spending a lot of time and/or resources in maintaining a data system.  The flexibility of Glebar Advanced Analytics allows us to break down the non-value add time in to downtime codes quickly and easily.  

Most of our machines can tell the solution what is happening in real-time while that non-value time bucket is filling up.  We can even ask the operator to capture an event right from their terminal and we are now collecting things like tool change, program edits, program holds, manual holds, inspection, feed rate reduction, and machine errors.  Hopefully in the next few weeks, we will be able to prioritize what needs improvement first and focus our operational team on that.  

One great thing about working with Glebar Advanced Analytics is being able to implement and use the system first-hand on non-Glebar equipment and relating our findings to our customers.  Reciprocally, using the solution internally with the same goals as our customers helps us improve our system.  Just like our customers, Glebar is a manufacturer, and giving our customers the right tools to answer or even ask the right questions, can go a long way in developing long term success.