Operationalizing Proto-Build to Serial Production

Our client specializes in the engineering, modeling and analysis of the latest generation technology. They are known for their top-class equipment that enables to master critical conditions in the application of advanced technology.

Objective

In the run-up to our assignment, the client went through a detailed NPI process to realize a number of high-tech proto modules. These were intended for a major player in the chip industry. As a result, the customer rewarded our client with an order for the serial production of these proto modules. The NPI process, and the establishment for serial production, were also realized under the supervision of one of our own Process Engineers.

The above resulted in a multidisciplinary assignment (Operational Control and Process Improvement) with the following project goals; increase move-rate production, guarantee output (QLTC) and optimize the project organization.
Because, among other things, there was little insight into the customer long term demand, a sudden move-rate increase led to the necessary output problems at the beginning. Some examples; supplier delivery times under pressure, frequent production stops, staff fluctuations, increase in quality issues, etc. In short, in order to guarantee the physical output, the organization of both project team and production process still needed to make some steps.

Approach

In order to guarantee the desired output increase, we initially shifted our focus to stabilizing the current process (Operational Control).

The activities that we have unfolded were as following;
• Reviewing agreements with suppliers and customers based on forecast (demand & supply planning)
• Optimize planning tools for purchasing & production (MRP, Project and Shop floor planning)
• Secure the required competences by educating and training on the job
• Tackle quality issues based on impact and repetition (RCA, 8D)

Next we shifted our focus to make the process more manageable and improvable (Process Improvement). By organizing a more KPI-driven process, among other things, possible waste in the field of QLTC now became visible. By using several Lean and Six-Sigma techniques (DMAIC, RCA, PDCA) we were able to improve and prevent future wastes.

Results

All this resulted in achieving the desired customer move-rate, with even room left for handling additional temporary move-rate increases. In addition, efficiency increased and a stable and flexible production organ was created. The FTEs that were unlocked can now manage the operation independently. After a short training session from our consultant they know what to do without losing the focus on the QLTC aspects. Finally, we have provided a blueprint for future serial proto-construction projects for our client.

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done

“A goal without a plan is just a wish”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery –

 

Rob Mertens – Industrial Engineer