After pinpointing its pain points, a company can unlock great potential by implementing Manufacturing 4.0, says Jake Barr, chief executive officer of Blue World Supply Chain Consulting.
Cutting through what he calls the “misinformation” surrounding Manufacturing 4.0, Barr says it all boils down to four pillars or buckets of work.
The first is productivity. That’s always been key to manufacturing, and it remains integral to the process.
The second pillar is flexibility. “How can I flex the operation?” Barr asks. “In the markets in which most companies compete today, they're having an agility problem. So the ability to turn equipment around, to shorten changeovers, to actually automate some of the processes where there's wait and dwell time is really critical.”
Quality is the third important component. “I hate to say it, but in this day and age, we still have a quality problem with the performance of the operations. It's not only yield but scrap levels. It's the performance characteristics of the product.”
Speed is the fourth bucket of work. “Let's be very realistic,” says Barr. “You're running a giant going-out-of-business sale today if you're not improving the speed of the operation to deal with the Amazon effect.”
The pandemic has exposed glaring gaps and pain points in every manufacturing vertical, Barr says. “All of them have had a problem. Truthfully, all it's done is expose the gaps that were already there. Where am I on yield rates today? How much of my schedule has been completed? Have we had off-center line performance on quality? Do my people have the ability to roll when I have an unexpected disruption in a material supplier? The pandemic has in fact been an issue, but it’s just amplified things. This is not a problem that just popped up.”
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