Overall Equipment Effectiveness • December 7, 2015

Not a Fix It and Forget It – Continuous Improvement

iBase-t Experts

Don’t you wish that everything was fix it and forget it? I fixed my car – I can forget about it breaking again. I fixed my light, I can forget about worrying the next time I turn on the light. Our shop floor is in continuous need of fixing or perhaps a better word is improving. That phrase, continuous improvement – it’s more important than ever. From new engineering and shop floor staff coming in and needing education to the use of new tools, process, and yes, even software.

Many customers, once they have implemented a shop floor MOM/QMS system, think the problem is fixed and therefore we can forget about it. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Your software tools, especially the one on the shop floor, too needs continuous improvement, evaluation, and maintenance. While the MOM system resolved your immediate need of paper removal, better tracking and WIP information and overall is improving your product cost and quality, that doesn’t mean we get to walk away. Software, just like cell phones, cars, and the products you manufacture, is improving with every release. It is important that a strategy, roadmap, ownership, and evaluation criteria is established and executed. You have spent a significant amount of money on implementation, it’s imperative that you do not let it become archaic.

How do you develop and stay on top of a MOM/QMS implementation? Begin by starting with clear objectives. Here are some of my suggestions.

  1. Vow to only be one to two releases behind the latest package from the vendor.
  2. Create owners at each site along with backups.
  3. Create a training program for those owners to be cross-trained, share ideas, and educate on the newer features.
  4. Create an annual budget. Put 20% on top of your maintenance fees to include care and feeding of the system. This 20% can be used each year to attend user conferences, special interest groups, and evaluate new releases of the product.
  5. After you have a strategy in place, institutionalize it. Make it part of not only your IT strategy but your business strategy.
  6. Invite your vendor to come in once a year to listen a present. Have your vendor perform health checks.

Consider your personal assets. You probably consider or budget every year for home improvements. You may read or talk to other people about what type of improvements they are doing, or even the trend of improvements.   The MOM/QMS system is no different. Incremental improvements must be considered, cross-trained and a part of your overall business plans. Not just a fix it and forget it.