Electronic Work Queues
When implementing any production control system into a manufacturing organisation, key project objectives typically include a desire to reduce paperwork, as well as to control the flow and improve the overall speed, efficiency and accuracy of the delivery of critical job information to the shop floor. One area that can make a significant difference to achieving these objectives is the migration from paper based work-to-lists to an electronic work queue to deliver accurate and complete information to the operator on the factory floor.
Why move away from a paper based work queue?
The sight of an in-tray on the shop floor full of paper based project document packs is not uncommon in many organisations today. In effect the in-tray can become an operator’s work-to-list. As efficient as we all strive to be, the inherent problem with this is the lack of overall prioritised visibility and control over the paper document package once it has been released to the shop floor. For a manager to have an overview of what jobs are assigned to a resource, their live status and the risk of causing bottlenecks in the work flow, they would probably have to physically walk around the shop floor and look through each individual in-tray. The problem then becomes how accurate and current this information can be in a dynamic environment, where changes to the workload or individual job specifications can have significant consequences.
Using electronic work queues to improve visibility and efficiency
As an integral element of the Seiki SFDC module, Seiki’s electronic work queue software is designed to address these issues with a flexible and configurable solution that can be used in all areas of the organisation to help improve control, visibility and efficiency of this critical stage in production process. It enables users to view associated job information derived from the ERP, MRP or APS system such as the Seiki Scheduler, directly on the shop floor or in an office environment.
A prioritised list of jobs queued to the resource is then displayed on the shop floor terminal, where the operator is advised and able to respond accordingly for the start and completion of each job operation to support Work in Progress (WIP) booking and tracking. The Work Queue extends the level of real time Works Order status visibility further by providing a graphical indication of the status of any scheduled job in relation to its planned start time for queued job operations or planned finish time for those that are already in progress. The software displays explicit configurable status descriptions such as Queued Warning, Queued Late or Started Overrun on the shop floor Work Queue terminal to show whether the active works order is currently on target against planned times. A similar view only version can also be delivered to a production office environment with the Seiki Work Queue Viewer, providing the business with a fast, simple but intelligent live view of the shop floor.
The other major benefit is the electronic Work Queue can easily be updated to reflect any changes in the work load as they are issued from the planning office, giving the operator forward visibility and confidence that the latest production priorities are displayed on the screen. If the Work Queues are driven by an APS system then the queues will update dynamically. If they are driven by the Seiki Scheduler the WIP booking entries will also dynamically update the operation status in the Scheduler works order view. This increased level of detail ensures that companies are able to work in a more real-time, collaborative and priority driven way by aligning people and processes in the goal of achieving on-time deliveries and customer satisfaction – bringing demand flexibility to the shop floor and real value to the business.
The benefits of electronic work queues
- Delivery of accurate and complete information at the point of use
- Operator visibility of forward workload and latest manufacturing priorities
- Confidence in having the right information, in the right place at the right time
- Reduce the time spent looking for information
- Eliminates the time and costs of reproducing revised paper work queues
- Supports sustainability/green initiatives by reducing paper based communications
Electronic work queues are an integral part of the Seiki SFDC module. A number of additional features are available if the following modules are also integrated:
Allows users to view and record of all productive and non-productive events occurring on each resource. This module focuses on the machine as a critical variable in the analysis of your overall efficiency, as it enables users to quickly identify, evaluate and respond to important events whilst increasing equipment availability and reliability. When combined with job data collected from the Seiki SFDC module, the organisation benefits from a complete picture, both in real time and historically, of all the variables that can inform continuous improvement strategies.
Delivers accurate and complete works order information (NC files, drawings, etc.) to the operator terminal on the shop floor, eliminating copy and distribution times for paper-driven operations. The system includes an administrative toolkit for the management and control of NC Programs, including file status and approval, assignment of user access privileges and generation of traceability reports.