Sunday, January 29, 2017

Do you have a Plan, Part II

A schematic of the "set up" for the Thanksgiving work
Continued from Do you have a Plan

Today I am going to talk about  the other factor that monkey-hammered the work done that Thanksgiving weekend.  I will also give a few reasons why this problem should concern more than just industrial planners.

Line fill

The original thinking is that installing the equipment would take one shift.  Then, there were six different products that had to be programmed into each piece of equipment.  The conventional thinking was that it took one shift to tune in each product, i.e. programming, for any given work cell.  Let's do the math:  1 shift install + 6 shifts programming = 7 shifts.  4 day X 3 shifts per day = 12 shifts.  It should be a walk in the park, right?

Let's assume installation started on first shift, Thursday.  They did the installations.

Second shift walked in and indexed the set-up by one job.  Product F was in the first "Empty" station.  The remaining five empty stations to the right of the one now holding Product F were still empty.  Second shift had all kinds of workers scheduled but no productive work was available for them because the set-up did not comprehend line-fill issues.  They got Product F programmed into the first station.

Third shift showed up.  They indexed the set-up by one job.  The first two "Empty" stations now held Product E and Product F.  They easily got them programmed by the end of the shift because they had way more resources than work available.  There are still four Empty stations where nobody had done a lick of programming work.
This is what the line looked like when First Shift showed up the second day.

First shift showed up.  They index the set-up by one job.  The first three "Empty" stations now hold Product D, Product E and Product F.  (And you can bet that they complained that second and third shift had not done more work)

No programming is done in the last "Empty" station until the start of the seventh shift.  At the end of the seventh shift there are five shift remaining in the weekend and there are five products (Products A-through-E) that still needed to be programmed through the last empty station.

The same problem occurs during the programming of the last empty station on the last few shifts.  There are gobs of resources but they cannot be activated.  There is no way to have multiple people simultaneously "programming" a single piece of equipment.

There was no margin for hiccups...like shifts deleting each other's work or the dimensional integrity of one of the products being used for programming being destroyed.

Even more critical is that the line was not validated by "running at rate" before production walked in on Monday morning.  Did I mention that the post-mortem was ugly?

The solution was pretty straightforward.

If the planners had taken the time to ask Who, What, How, Where, When, Why on a half-shift by half-shift basis, they would have easily foreseen the problem.  They would have also seen the solution.

Extra material was staged in the set-up.  At the completion of the equipment installation the line was indexed six times so that there was product in every station.  Then the line was indexed once at the end of each shift.  See if you can figure out why Product A is not repeated.

Product is expensive.  Not starting up on Monday morning is much, much more expensive.

Back to prepping
I have a few readers who are interested in prepping.

The concept of "line-fill" is germane to prepping because of the lead time associated with replacing purchased inputs with home made or home grown inputs.
These potatoes are from our 2016.  They are going to Willie, one of my coffee drinking buddies.

Consider a garden.  If you knew in advance, you would till up your back yard the fall before you needed 2000-to-3000 Calories/day/person.  In Michigan, you would plant potatoes on May 1 or field corn on May 15...remember, we are after gross Calories.

We would nurse them along through the spring and fall.  We might start harvesting the potatoes in September and the corn in October.  We do not have significant amounts of home-grown calories until one full year after we started our garden.  And that assumes you have all of the tools, fertilizers, pesticides and seeds.  It assumes you know how to use, mix, spray and plant them.  It assumes that your backyard has decent soil, enough sunlight and is not too steep.
Storing food until you are ready to eat it  is part of the production process.  You can gain expertise in storing food by buying inexpensive produce and practicing.  These "deer carrots" were less than $5 for forty pounds.
Fruit bushes and fruit trees have even longer lead times.

Ideally, the prepper will have had a couple of years of "running at rate" to validate their production plans before things get tough.  Remember, there is no way to schedule when the poop will hit the propeller.  You are either ready, or you are not.

Having garden produce to give away or feed the wild life might be expensive, but it is far cheaper than not having 2000-to-3000 Calories a day when things get tough.

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