In this installment, we continue our discussion on why it is important for your Demand Driven Flow Technology (DDFT) line design must evolve, adapt and align to the requirements of the business now and into the future, (read Part 1). Any new DDFT environment must change through the life of the organization to sustain performance and to enable business growth to take place. It’s going to take more than just the odd tweak here and there to ensure that your DDFT line is achieving its maximum potential.
To evolve, Demand Driven organizations need to constantly think back to their original DDFT and the first principles of this Business Strategy. The Demand Driven Flow Technology framework walks a team through a series of steps using specific tools to collect data that will enable sustainable flow designs to be established. Product flow from process to process through the factory is documented in Product Synchronizations. Sequence of Events (SOEs) are written to understand what tasks and Actual Time are required to produce the product in every process identified in the Product Synchronizations. As the DDFT implementation continues various business functions work together to understand the needs of the customer; what level of response time they require, what products are required and in what quantities. Everyone signs off on this and more importantly, the Steering Committee typically led a senior member of the company’s management team agrees on these design parameters.
Once product mix and levels of demand are agreed we can then determine what resources will be required; how many operations, how many machines and how many people the design will require to function at capacity. Operations are balanced and IPK logic is defined ensuring that the entire environment is balanced and aligned, allowing products to flow effortlessly. Supporting material requirements driven from the demand specification are calculated to ensure that the Material Replenishment System can sustain the daily demand for parts on the production lines. Once the entire operations team have been trained to work in the new environment, then and only then are we able to start producing products on the new DDFT lines.
As time goes by, process improvements will be made, equipment and machines may change, customer requirements will change, materials may change, suppliers may change, products reach their end-of-life, new products are introduced, and of course people on the line will change. Also, most companies would normally look to generate further bottom-line gains. The list goes on but there is one common factor, change has to be tied back to the Demand Driven Flow Technology design process.
What must you do is ensure that a Demand Driven Flow Technology line continues to generate benefits for a company and that older habits do not surface? Other than expecting companies to continually measure performance, I would recommend that key design parameters such as demand and product mix are reviewed at least every 12 months to ensure that the line design maintains future capability. In some businesses, future demand and product mix need to be reviewed every six months. It is important to note that most production planners will be reviewing demand at least every week, if not every day, and most Demand Driven companies will be following a Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) process. So, this task is not an extensive one. Feeding data back into a DDFT line design is a vital part of the feedback loop in a Demand Driven S&OP process. This review will then ensure that the flow line design has the capability to meet any changes in these conditions.
Supervision and engineers need to continually work together to ensure that the physical flow design on the shop-floor is reflected in the Demand Driven Flow Technology design model and that the model is always kept up to date and make minor changes to line configuration as required. For some companies, this update is performed in Excel (which has its issues) and most forward-thinking Demand Driven companies will use TheONE Flow Design software.
With up to date design models and an understanding of demand and mix, monitoring the overall validity and capability of the Demand Driven Flow Technology line becomes a relatively simple task. The result of such a review will provide detailed information as to the extent to which you need to adapt or convert the design of your flow line to meet the changing requirements of your business.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to remember that when a DDFT line requires rebalancing, resource requirements have changed, alternative material requirements are required then a redesign must be executed. Failure to do so will result in a DDFT environment becoming less efficient and unable to meet the needs of the business.
A Demand Driven Flow Technology environment will never remain constant, continuous improvement is vital. When we return to companies that we have worked with over the years we absolutely expect changes and improvements to have been made to the original flow design and we expect further benefits to have been attained from these changes. Growth and further improvements are enabled throughout the organization with series of defined processes across all business functions that will recognize the need for change and make adjustments to the design to ensure the future needs of the business are met.
So, is it time to redesign? Align your facility to the needs of tomorrow’s customer, not yesterday’s. Start today and achieve the maximum potential that your facility has to offer.
Contact one of our industry experts today to discuss Demand Driven Flow Technology and the redesign of your flow design.
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