With the rise of new technology, Big Data, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), it is now easier than ever for manufacturers to generate and collect data about production performance, processes, and product quality. At the same time, these companies are also managing increasingly complex supply chains — sometimes running multiple plants across wide regions and even around the world.
Monitoring every production line across multiple sites around the clock, quality professionals often find themselves overwhelmed trying to dig through data. Even those that have implemented quality software to generate metrics — such as scrap, rework, and yield — may not know where to begin when searching for quality improvement opportunities. But what they need is not data; they need information.
Prioritizing Quality Efforts and Resources
To grow and stay competitive, companies require the right information to assess and improve quality levels across their entire enterprise. Corporate-level executives and quality professionals need an easy, efficient solution to not only view quality metrics within individual plants, but also compare production performance from site to site, across all regions, to understand the “big picture” of quality within their organization.
With the right tools for analysis, manufacturers can roll up this massive amount of data and then extract valuable insight into how they can improve their business performance at the site level and enterprise wide. Using these operational insights, companies can easily identify where the greatest opportunities for improvement lie — and prioritize quality efforts accordingly. With many quality professionals stretched too thin and process improvement funds tight, this prioritization is critical to generating the greatest return on investment from limited resources.
When prioritizing quality efforts, manufacturers must not only be able to quickly pinpoint which products, processes, or equipment require attention, but also determine what kind of attention is needed. For example, a quality issue may simply require improving operator training or correcting equipment settings. These “easy wins” can be addressed immediately using little time and few resources, but can deliver the greatest impact for the least effort.
On the other hand, some projects require increased expertise and greater expenditure. After digging into the root cause of an issue, companies may find that they need to replace outdated or broken equipment, or upgrade production lines. Knowing the resources and effort required enables manufacturers to effectively plan their process improvement budgets and receive the greatest return on their investment.
Drilling Down with Data Stream Grading
Recognizing these modern challenges and needs, we developed Data Stream Grading — the latest feature in our Enact® Quality Intelligence platform. Data Stream Grading offers Enact users a unique way to quickly and easily determine which facility needs prioritized attention. Users can then drill down to take a closer look at grades for specific production lines, processes, products, and features. Grading can be applied locally or enterprise wide. Grading within Enact is easy to read and helps management better understand long-term results. Using the vast amount of aggregated data in Enact’s centralized data repository, Grading automatically applies Statistical Process Control (SPC) techniques and analysis, and then generates a simple letter-number combination that represents both expected and potential yield for each part, process combination and can be rolled up to the site level. These letter-number combinations inform users, at a glance, how each site is performing —and if it is living up to its full potential.
Together, these yield metrics offer manufactures a new way of looking at quality performance that enables rapid prioritization. Grading provides the ability to drill down, layer by layer, and identify the root cause of reduced yield, enabling you to develop targeted solutions.
Gaining a Competitive Edge
In highly competitive industries, businesses that make agile decisions gain a strong advantage over the competition. Whether your company operates one plant or hundreds, Data Stream Grading can help you quickly determine where and how to allocate resources for the biggest impact on business performance — and become more competitive on a global scale.
To learn more about Enact’s Data Stream Grading feature, click here