Written By: Cordell Hensley – KCTS Consultant
The Value of Information
In a blog posted back in July we talked about why businesses should record data. “The main purpose of recording factory losses is to understand where we are losing time, speed, quality and ultimately money. This allows us to focus our (limited) resources by identifying the big problems across the manufacturing elements of our factory and profit centres”. Is that enough though? Do we always get it right?
I was recently working with a client who called us in to help them sort out their problems with machine availability. The site had a good data collection system in place (or so we thought) and their data was telling them that their biggest problem was with breakdowns. We agreed to develop an internal planned maintenance system but during the first visit, after trying to figure out their specific data recording and reporting system I realised that breakdowns were NOT their biggest problem.
The site had been recording breakdowns, changeovers, cleaning time and unplanned production, but there was no data recording for minor stoppages. Effectively the site captured the easy data, and assumed the rest of the time was productive. In fact there was a large gap between what the machines produced when they ran and what they should have produced given the amount of time that they ran.
For example, if they were supposed to produce 1000 units per hour, and only produced 800, the remaining time was unaccounted for unless there was an actual breakdown. When we dug further we found that breakdowns were not the biggest problem, minor stoppages were.
The company had losses of around 10% due to breakdowns, and over 15% due to minor stoppages. Of course we still set up their maintenance system as requested, they still wanted to reduce the 10% of downtime losses, but we also introduced an improved data collection system to capture the details of where these minor stoppages were occurring so we could begin to tackle these issues
Recording data will help you identify your losses and focus your efforts in the right area; however, this is only the case if you record the right data! Think about what information you need – does your data collection provide the right information? Is it at the right level of detail?
Data is just data until we convert it into information – but if we aren’t looking for the right information, then we won’t be recording the right data.