Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Going Green – Efficient use of machines

vicinity software
As a conscientious member of this environment I felt it was appropriate for me to share some ideas on how companies can "Go Green" and still make a buck.
As I prepare my thoughts I find that this topic is broader than a single blog supports. So I am going to break my thoughts into three different topics.
  • Efficient use of machines – lower carbon footprint
  • Increase yields to consume less raw material per finished good
  • Identify and replace current components with eco-friendly alternatives
So watch over the next few days as I release more on these topics. For now let's start with scheduling.
Efficient use of machines – lower carbon footprint
One of the key advantages formula manufacturers have over assembly manufacturers is our ability to fulfill multiple finished good requirements with one batch. We can make different packaged items from the exact same formula. These finished goods may be in different sizes or the labeling may be different. The common element is the formula.
Therefore there is an opportunity to consolidate production and make multiple finished goods from the same batch or compound.
So why is this "Green"?
One of the key initiatives of "Going Green" is to utilize all our resources wisely. By consolidating our production where ever possible we are reducing our overall energy consumption. This reduction can have a significant positive impact on the carbon footprint of the manufacturing facility.
So how can you accomplish this today? And why am I not already doing it?
The key is to group all finished goods by formula and then schedule at the formula level. Not all manufacturing tools support this scheduling model. Your tool may only schedule by finished good SKU. Without a scheduling tool written specifically for formula manufacturing this goal may be tough.
Fortunately there are some manufacturing applications that do in fact address this challenge. Vicinity by Vicinity Manufacturing has formula based scheduling at its core. A user can view the schedule by facility and then by formula. Within a formula the finished goods are scheduled. This view of the production allows your scheduler the opportunity to perform needed consolidations and fill the production gaps with products that family well with a proposed schedule. You can make more products with fewer batches.
If every company could reduce the number of batches or change-overs by 10% we would see a profound impact on our utilization of energy.
Not only is scheduling by formula good for the environment it is also often times more profitable.
So take a look at your scheduling tools and see how you and your organization can do a better job of reducing the number of batches and fulfill more finished goods with single runs. The dividends will be seen beyond your bank account – our children's children will thank us.
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