LPC

LPC is a planning and monitoring methodology aimed at reducing waiting time and ultimately throughput time as well. By monitoring the product flow on the work floor, your work-in-process - and therefore your costs - will be reduced. You can regulate the progression of the process by monitoring orders. Process visualisation is the underlying force of LPC.

 

LPC can be linked to any system such as CAD, PLM and ERP. It can be set up as a planning system, or as a complete MES system. Your existing set-ups and procedures won’t have to be changed as LPC works alongside your current system. This will keep your implementation period short. We will guide you through the implementation period and furnish you with  the necessary skills that will allow you to set up and adjust the system to your specification after the introduction period. Do you have plans to expand? You will be fully equipped to train your staff and redesign your systems. LPC is available in a multitude of languages.

 

The two main pillars of the LPC software package are planning & monitoring and continuous improvement, which we will look at more closely below.

 

Planning & Monitoring

Production planning doesn’t involve just planning – in reality there is a lot more to it than that. You too might have experienced long waiting times (resulting in too much stock on the work floor), longer throughput times and unnecessary costs. The more complex the process, the greater the chance of deviation from the original production plan.

 

Why is order planning not that straightforward?

The specifications of an order will vary per order as a result of different routings, varying process times or as a result of being one-off products. This will shift the bottleneck to a different location in the production process.  The bottleneck determines the order’s progress on the work floor. Unfortunately you can’t catch up with lost time on a bottleneck machine. Once bottleneck control has been lost, you will immediately start to incur costs.

By visualising the entire process, the bottleneck and the order specifications will be available for everybody to see/on display. As well as visualisation,  order monitoring is carried out on the work floor. This is why LPC also functions as an internal communication system:  product statuses will be displayed in real time together with any plan deviations, quality additions and rejects.

 

Reality shows that detailed scheduling alone isn’t enough to obtain full process control. We distinguish between the following components within LPC:

-   Capacity planning

-   Orders

-   Planning

-   Monitoring

-   Capacity planning

 

The capacity menu will show at a glance the capacity requirements of all the accepted orders. It will also display the capacity available for new orders. Figure 1 shows an example of the total capacity utilisation.

 

capaplan

Figure 1: Capacityplanning


Screen indicators:
Blue: unplanned available capacity
Green: planned available capacity


By displaying a true representation of the total capacity availability, you will see in an instant if extra measures need to be taken (such as arranging overtime or hiring in additional resources). LPC automatically calculates the capacity planning, taking into account order routing and process times.

 

-   Selecting and combining orders

Prior to order scheduling, you can select and combine orders, allowing you as a planner to apply certain criteria. By combining orders of the same characteristics (plate sizes, coatings etc.), the set-up time will be reduced. Alternatively you can select orders that together will make up the end product, which will guarantee the timely delivery of all the individual parts.

 

-   Planning

LPC’s scheduling method consist firstly of the function `bottleneck planning’. This method makes sure that all orders on a bottleneck (process) will follow each other seamlessly. The production operations will remain intact by using a product stream or routing. This will make the product flow through the production process, leaving you with just the scheduling of the bottleneck; non-bottleneck processes are automatically scheduled by LPC.

Bottleneck planning makes sure that the total number of orders in production won’t exceed the available capacity of the bottleneck process. The number of orders on the work floor is therefore at full capacity, yet at the same time restricted. The visualisation ensures the production of the planned orders. Rescheduling will no longer be necessary.

 

plan

Figure 2. Planning

 

-   Monitoring

Besides scheduling, monitoring is another one of LPC’s cornerstones. Monitoring will show up any deviation from the original schedule. This is a real time communication system that can work within and even across departments. As monitoring takes place on the work floor, the system will generate real data making the work floor ultimately responsible. Any deviation (or its consequence) will become immediately visible and measurable. Monitoring ensures full process control.


Continuous improvement

The principle behind continuous improvement is simple: determine which occurrence is the most frequent and start with that. Limit yourself to one project at the time; tackle things step by step. Focusing on one project ensures a short turn-around and will generate quick results. This will also make the improvement steps visible and transparent to everyone.  After one problem has been reduced, another will surface. The improvement process can now be repeated.

 

Measuring is essential in order to implement improvements. We distinguish between two types of measuring:

-   Measuring to establish what to improve

-   Measuring to establish how to improve

 

Whilst monitoring orders it is possible to carry out a variety of registrations.
LPC distinguishes between:

-   Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

-   Real Time Registration

-   Automated Real Time Registration

 

-   Overall Equipment Effectiveness OEE

OEE is a tool used to visualise performance losses in the production process. Within LPC this can be resource, order or process driven. This will ensure the effectiveness measurement on various resource levels, machines and/or operators. OEE produces real time data of the performance results.

 

Within OEE we distinguish three important factors that have a negative influence on the production process:

-   Changeovers

-   Machine downtime

-   Quality defects and rejects

 

 oee

Figure 3. Real time OEE result

 

-   Real Time Registration

LPC also enables you to map the registration. This would normally be a very time-consuming task and generally regarded as an administrative burden. Something you could really do without. However, LPC has simplified this process for the operator. One scan or one push of a button will get the job done. Once more this will generate real time data, as depicted in figure 4.

 

pareto

Figure 4. Pareto chart

 

-   Continuous improvement

The principle behind continuous improvement is simple: determine which occurrence is the most frequent and start with that. Limit yourself to one project at the time; tackle things step by step. Focusing on one project ensures a short turn-around and will generate quick results. This will also make the improvement steps visible and transparent to everyone.  After one problem has been reduced, another will surface. The improvement process can now be repeated.


-   Automated Real Time Registration

LPC is also able to measure machine values such as temperatures, speed and volume. The data will be linked back to the system, allowing further investigation into any deviations.

 

Field results:

 

- 20-50% increase in productivity compared to before LPC

Twenty percent of the overall production time is wasted by looking for orders. Visualisation puts a stop to this. The production rate can grow to fifty percent by carrying out operational improvements. Having physical insight into the planning and monitoring will lead to different solutions that hadn’t been considered before.

 

- Throughput time reduction 20-70%

By eliminating waiting times from the production process, the throughput time starts to edge closer towards the actual processing time. The progress of the orders will be transparent and visible too. The number of orders on the work floor will decrease resulting in more control over the entire production process. The throughput time will shorten and the delivery reliability will increase.


- Delivery reliability increase 99-100%

The delivery reliability follows on from the two aforementioned points. LPC gives control over the process. What has been scheduled, will actually be achieved.

 

- Co-operation majorly improved = good working environment in the office and in production.

LPC gives real time results allowing everybody to see what’s going on. This saves on internal miscommunication, order searching and process disruption.

 

- Operators are encouraged to think about the process and ways of improving it.

The responsibility for the progress lies on the work floor which stimulates the operators to come up with improvement proposals.

 

- No backlog

This follows on from the two points mentioned above (with the emphasis on monitoring). With visible scheduling, the plan will actually be realised on time.

 

- The customer’s request for an order status or a delivery time can be answered instantly

This is archieved by using the actual ‘live’ capacity plan by generating a delivery date and a status update for any order that is going through the production process. LPC clearly visualises the available capacity and its location as well the status of the product (progress and expected delivery time).

 

- Keeping daily meetings short and focused on improvements

Bottlenecks will be instantly visible in LPC’s real time status overview, which will enable your company to just focus on any deviations that might have occurred.  This should keep daily meetings short and centred around improvements. (In reality we see that meetings can go on forever when topics aren’t limited to just the mere essential.)

 

- No more urgent orders or specials

By having full control over the process, it won’t be necessary anymore to push through an order that has incurred a delay. In the past priorities had to change and the schedule had to be adjusted in order to still deliver on time. This will now be history with LPC.

 

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