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The Ripple Effect

The ripple effect

Some days you seem to get all the green lights and the traffic just flows. Other times the alarm doesn’t go off, you catch all the red lights and for the rest of the day you feel like you’re just trying to get back on track. We’ve all been there and we’re all familiar with the concept of ripple effects – the idea that a single event can set off a chain reaction. Sometimes with far reaching results. Really understanding the consequences of even small events or changes (the ripple effect), especially in a live production environment, can be hugely advantageous.

Now is not the time to make waves

Let’s be realistic, it’s rarely the case that unplanned changes or delays are going to have a positive effect on your schedule. If not resolved or responded to quickly they can affect your overall throughput and can significantly increase the time and expense of production. You know that saying, prevention is better than cure? A prioritised electronic work queue and WIP booking system is one means of attempting to prevent that first ripple inducing event. It minimises the risk of operations going late by giving the machine operator explicit live status indicators of both active work-in-progress (is it on target to meet the planned finish time), and all the subsequent operations queued to the resource (are they going to be started on time?).

  • Operator confirms the start and completion of each operation to dynamically update the status in the Scheduler
  • Enter part counts and scrap reasons
  • Send a record First Off Inspections
  • Attach meta deta such as files and comments
  • View notifications of non-conformance to help control quality levels
  • Follow the overall flow and progress of operations both live and historically via the digital batch card

> Watch our Seiki AIR WIP Booking demo video

With this visibility of the forward workload and latest manufacturing priorities the operator is empowered to take action to ensure that your planned productivity targets are achieved. It creates the right conditions for a more proactive approach.

Go with the flow

Even the best laid plans go awry. The most effective way to ensure the flexibility and agility needed to respond to ripple inducing events quickly, before they turn into a wave, is to maintain an effective flow of information between the shop floor and production planning. Integration between your WIP booking and scheduling systems allows you to visualise the ripple effects from both functional and performance perspectives.

For example, if the first operation on the Seiki Work Queue isn’t started when planned, the Seiki Scheduler will reflect this in real-time. The latter works to finite capacity, so an overrunning job will automatically be pushed back within the defined scheduling rules. This is the functional factor. In terms of performance, the ability to visualise the consequences of changes or delays to your entire production schedule is infinitely more valuable and much harder to appreciate if attempting to assess manually.

As a dynamic solution, the Seiki Scheduler will update all the jobs across all resources on the graphical planning board using built-in planning and scheduling rules, so you can run scenarios and see the impact.  Another level of detail is added with a colour coded view of the deviation from planned delivery dates for all production orders. This gives you a quantifiable assessment of the impact on your overall performance and allows you to take corrective measures to minimise the effects.

  • Capture the actual time attributed to works orders supporting more accurate job costing
  • Empower your shop floor to make a direct contribution to on-time performance
  • Co-ordinate activities to ensure equipment and people are available when required for operations to be started on time
  • Ensure all changes to priorities, workloads or specifications are communicated quickly and known to all

Fundamentally what we’re talking about is having the ability to visualise and manage all those events and interdependencies that have the power to impact your productivity performance. It may just help you make all those green lights!

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Suggested Further Reading


Seiki Scheduler Overview

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