General Cable

General Cable saved on raw materials by decreasing inconsistencies

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General Cable (NYSE: BGC) is a Fortune 500 Company with a 165-year history and more than 14,000 associates on six continents. The company is headquartered in Highland Heights, Kentucky, and operates 57 manufacturing facilities across 26 countries. General Cable is a global leader in the development, manufacture, design, and distribution of aluminum, copper, and fiber-optic wire and cable products and solutions for the energy, construction, industrial, specialty, and communications sectors.
 
Serving commercial, industrial, electric utility, telecommunications, OEM, military/government, retail, electrical, and communications distributor customers worldwide, the company is the largest wire and cable company in North America and the third largest in the world with annual revenues of more than $6 billion.

The challenge
As the company continued to grow and acquire more product brands, General Cable saw the need for consistent production data analytics across its global manufacturing base. Although the company continued to produce high-quality products, it wanted to implement a system that improved the ability to control process variation from plant to plant.
 
With a standard approach to data collection and analysis, the company could ensure high quality, control raw material use, and prevent operational inefficiencies associated with rework, giveaway, production delays, or customer complaints.

The solution
General Cable approached InfinityQS®, the global authority on Manufacturing Intelligence and enterprise quality, about implementing ProFicient™, a proven Manufacturing Intelligence hub powered by a centralized Statistical Process Control (SPC) analysis engine. Together, General Cable and InfinityQS worked closely to create a solution that addressed the needs of the company’s supply chain while increasing visibility and production consistency. To date, General Cable has implemented ProFicient on premises in a terminal server environment at 14 of its manufacturing locations.
 
The company has created a centralized repository for seamless data collection and analysis. General Cable’s on-premises implementations included more than 100 individual applications to monitor manufacturing processes and ensure product quality. These applications collect critical-to-quality data to control process variations. General Cable also integrated numerous devices such as micrometers, microscopes, scales, cameras, and more.
 
With InfinityQS ProFicient, data points are automatically collected every 100 to 200 feet of cable to produce flow charts and control charts. Plant floor operators use SPC to assist with machine control adjustments, while General Cable’s quality team analyzes data to help identify areas for improvement.
 
Zack Tran, Project Manager at General Cable, says, “The implementation of InfinityQS ProFicient is creating visibility across our global manufacturing base and elevating the level of trust in the data. This work helps us identify opportunities, improve process variations, and control raw material use, as we continue to uphold General Cable’s commitment to produce quality products for our customers.

The results
Over the course of one year, General Cable focused on data collection and analysis on specific production lines in two of its manufacturing plants: a copper line in a Texas plant and two lines in an Indiana plant, one copper and one aluminum. This project was specifically intended to identify ways to reduce process variation and improve raw material use while maintaining or improving the quality of the products.
 
With InfinityQS ProFicient, General Cable used SPC to drive out variations and retarget raw material use through analyzing process capabilities and implementing the use of control charts.
 
Tran concluded, “The key to successfully implementing SPC is not only making sure data are collected frequently — a single data point isn’t meaningful — but also knowing what to do with the data after they are collected. By utilizing control charts in InfinityQS ProFicient, we can clearly identify trends in our processes and make adjustments accordingly. In one case, our actions resulted in significant increases in processes capability and that makes me very happy. If a process is capable, it improves product quality and saves money on all fronts.”
 
General Cable intends to continue its implementation of InfinityQS ProFicient in more plants to achieve Manufacturing Intelligence across its vast global manufacturing base.
  • Saw significant savings in raw material use during one year on three production lines
  • Used control charts to identify trends and increased Cpks to 4 or 5 on key processes 
  • Eliminated duplicate data entry, drove out variations, and retargeted raw material use
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