Category Archives: Management

Agile_Project_Management

Agile Digital Transformation – Low risks high ROI

An inspirational video from CEO Peter Schroer of ARAS , a manufacturer of Product Lifecycle Management Software (PLM). Schroer advocates the use of an “agile” approach to factory digital transformation, the same as that used in software development. Strategically it is a mistake to draw up a large complex project, since during the execution of the project many things will change , invalidating many of our original plans:

  • Business objectives change
  • Changes in the business environment (economic down/up turn),
  • Changes in company ownership(mergers / aquisitions)
  • Changes in customer requirements
  • Changes in legal requirements to be met
  • New technology appears

If we limit ourselves to the implementation of simple, achieveable tasks which have a direct and immediate impact on the business, which are achievable over a number of “sprints” (where a sprint is managed in weeks not months) then we have far greater probability of success.

That doesn’t mean that we have no longer term vision or road map of where we are going in the long term, rather it means that we do not devote a large amount of resource to detailed planning or execution of the long term, or paralysis by analyisis.

This approach has important consequences:

We must accept that a single software system or platform is not going to be able to continually adapt to our changing business requirements. This means that communication between systems and the use of open source software is an essential part of the strategy to avoid lock in to a single system.

Large upfront license payments are rarely compatible with this philosophy for the same reason. Software as a service which enables us to pay as a funcion of number of users or volume of transactions is much more compatible with this approach.

We must be prepared to test, put a foot in the water, test, then build on what works, and abandon what fails.  As Schroer says, “Do something we know, make it work, then go onto the next thing”.

You will find the video on agile plm implementation here.

Cibersecurity – 10 steps to reduce risk

Over recent years there have been two key trends in cibersecurity.  The first is a growing tendency for attacks to be made by professional organized groups looking for profit, rather than amateur hackers wanting to prove their ability.  The second is the growing recognition that good defence is more about process and people than the technology used itself.  Continue reading “Cibersecurity – 10 steps to reduce risk” »

Web to Print – Industrie 4.0 In Practise

Following my earlier article on Industrie 4.0 and the benefits of Simultaneous Engineering, I was interested to see that  the print industry has been one of the quickest adopters and one which has taken the concept furthest.

The print industry is under great pressure to provide its customers with short lead times, right first time quality and highly competitive costing.  The application of Web to Print software is Simultaneous Engineering taken to a new level.

Web to print provides the customer with a web interface where they can develop their own products on line, load their own graphics files, see how the products will look , receive a quote and order on line.   The entire pre-sales process of product definition, commercial negotiation and order has been reduced from weeks to 30 minutes or less.

The key element in web to print software is the inclusion of templates which encourage the customers to adapt their designs to standards which are optimized according to the printers particular process.  For example format sizes, adapted to the printers production lines, or choice of paper grades according to those most commonly used.

During the process, help screens and comments can help the customer improve their design, for example by indicating  the minimum resolution of  graphics files  to provide optimum results.  Furthermore the fact that the customer can see the results on-line in their browser means that design issues are usually picked up and rectified immediately.

On a commercial level, customers value the transparency and speed of the process, they can be presented with a range of prices different design options and size print runs so that no time wasted in the commercial process.

 

Customer Benefits

Greater speed to order

Greater price transparency

Improved design quality owing to instant feedback

 

Supplier Benefits

Reduced time spent on commercial process

Greater standardization of formats and materials

Reduced cost

 

This does not mean that web to print eliminates the need for human involvement. Many customers will continue to need a greater degree of personalization than web to print can currently offer, or simply appreciate the human contact of the traditional approach.  However no company can ignore the great convergence between physical and digital worlds, and in few industries is this more relevant than the print industry.

Productivity Measurement and Manufacturing KPIs

Productivity is often cited as one of the prime factors in the decisions of multinational companies when it comes to deciding on which plants to strengthen, and which are to be signalled for closure.   So how can we measure and compare productivity and efficiency between manufacturing plants? Continue reading “Productivity Measurement and Manufacturing KPIs” »

Beyond ISO9001 – Good Manufacturing Practises (GMP)

ISO9001 sets a solid base for a manufacturing quality system, but typically does not prescribe specific requirements  However, many industries now have to meet more stringent standards which go into further specific details to ensure that industry safety standards are met.

These standards may be defined by an ISO standard, or in other cases may be prescribed by regulatory bodies such as the FDA or European Union.

Examples of ISO standards are: Continue reading “Beyond ISO9001 – Good Manufacturing Practises (GMP)” »