Operational Excellence (OE) is the foundational framework for any manufacturing enterprise. While each organization defines OE in slightly different ways, the underlying objective of any OE program is to strive for this state:
Each and every employee can see the flow of value to the customer, and fix that flow before it breaks down SMCredits – SM: Institute for Operational Excellence
While Operational Excellence (OE) concepts like Lean, Six Sigma and the Toyota Production System have delivered results and are widely adopted; few meaningful breakthroughs have taken place since those methodologies were created. Although IT and OT technologies have delivered some recent incremental benefits, enabling technology applications have been limited to business intelligence (BI) and some Operational Intelligence (OI) – the enablement has been limited to “past look” intelligence, not in-process manufacturing, quality and business optimization to enable this un-interrupted flow of value to the customer.
Following is a brief description of the challenges and opportunities. For further details on building and Intelligent Operational Excellence System with Machine Learning, refer to this article
Existing Value Model: Challenging the current norms
Ensuring this un-interrupted flow of value requires real-time availability of data and insights to the workflow, both for humans and machines (assets) in the value chain. Additionally, to be agile and flexible, this data flow must provide prognostics and forecasting.
Existing manufacturing processes, while highly automated fail to achieve this due to rigid, hierarchical automation infrastructure, silos of data and lack of predictive insights.
Current State: Disparity of information and interpretation leads to broken workflows
Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing systems and strategies enshrined in frameworks like RAMI 4.0 and the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture (IIRA) allow you to build an Intelligent Operational Excellence system. This is enabled by highly inter-connected digital workers and assets and ensuring perfect alignment between workflows and data flows. Machine Learning and other AI tools also make the supply chain predictive. The agility and flexibility thus provided defines a Smart Manufacturing and digital supply chain enterprise of the future.
Change needed: Data (insight) driven humans and machines
The foundational elements of any existing Operational Excellence program now become dynamic and agile – defining an Intelligent Operational Excellence System.