Detailed Process Documentation Enables Quick and Effective Relocation of Assembly Operations
An industrial equipment manufacturer of highly customized utility industry equipment, materials processing machinery, and tower and rough terrain cranes implemented Proplanner’s Assembly Planner and MES systems at one of their plants about four years ago. This implementation involved a substantial time commitment by their engineering team to define the tasks, times, tools, parts, and images required for a complete and reconciled process plan capable of publishing mixed-model shop floor work instructions.
Recently, management decided to relocate assembly operations several states away with nearly an entirely new shop floor assembly team. This was successfully accomplished in record time as the new assembly team was able to quickly learn the assembly procedures and benefit from the substantial detail about quality procedures put in place to address previously discovered field failures.
Additionally, this manufacturer sold some of their existing products and consolidated manufacturing around a subset of modified vehicles. While the shop floor workers were new, the engineering team transferred with the new products and knew how to utilize their past process documentation within Assembly Planner.
Process and challenges:
The new products only required 3 models with short build times, compared to the 15 models the engineers previously managed. Having detailed process documentation loaded into Proplanner prior to this move made it much quicker and easier to define the necessary process changes and print any part and tool lists needed so that workers could immediately begin creating their new workstations.
The newly hired assembly workers logged into Assembly Planner’s Shop Floor Viewer via tablets to learn what the workers before them had defined and the engineers had modified, so that these new workers could come up to speed quickly and effectively. Any missing tasks, tools, parts, or images prior to production were quickly identified by these workers and electronically posted to the appropriate engineers for very quick updates which were republished often multiple times a day.
The engineering team consisted of onsite and offshore resources from India which were able to collaborate immediately since the Assembly Planner implementation was hosted on the same Cloud.
A challenge noted by the MES supervisor was the varying degrees of technology experience each team member had. Not everyone on their team regularly used computers to know the basic foundations of how things worked with tablets. Some team members were quick to train, while others needed more time. This created another challenge as it then affected the assembly line due to the difficulty of the production line only being partially implemented at the start of production.
Although there was a time constraint to getting started due to training, one of the benefits the client noted was with their quickly changing processes having current documents all accessible on a tablet was very beneficial. The MES supervisor also mentioned that it was easy to submit and track change requests.
“In one year, we had over 1,000 SOP requests and about 99% of them were closed within 14 days”- MES Supervisor at industrial equipment manufacturer.
When changes were made, it was done with a few clicks versus the previous process which required going through different work instruction Excel documents that weren’t up to date with multiple duplicate versions.
Since the industrial equipment manufacturer has seen positive results using Proplanner, the client is now working towards utilizing Proplanner’s Assembly Planner software in other ways. To start off, they will include Proplanner training in their Foundations to speed up the training process.
The client is then going to use Assembly Planner to manage their torque wrench log and calibrations as well as utilize Proplanner’s Line Balancing module once they complete inputting their data.
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