Reduce Wait Times
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Reduce Wait Times

What?

It's possible that a good chunk of your downtime is related to your operators waiting for something or someone to get to the machines, and you may not even realize it. They could be waiting on supervisors, Quality Control, Maintenance or other things. You can use downtime codes to determine which teams your operators might be waiting on the most, to help address any communication lapses and reduce these waiting times.

Time Commitment: Low

Features Required: Downtime Labeling, Call Teams (optional)

Notes: Every plant is different! Work with your operators to get the best “Waiting on (X)” downtime codes. Then use those downtime codes to create your Call Team buttons. This tool helps the operators the most, make sure you get them involved at the start.

Case Study:

  • An Amper customer discovered that "Waiting on Maintenance" was a major cause of downtime. They identified the machines most affected by this issue and created a popup maintenance station near those machines. One person manned the station for most of the day, allowing them to quickly address machine downtime with all necessary tools and resources close at hand.

How?

  • First, establish downtime codes like Waiting on QC, Waiting on Maintenance, Waiting on Supervisors, or Waiting on Material
  • After a few weeks of this, you'll be able to see which teams your operators are waiting on the most.
  • If the root cause to "Waiting on (X)" is a communication issue, we recommend implementing Amper's Andon Call feature: the Call Team Button. When issues occur, your operators can easily call the right team without leaving their station. The system tracks response times to see how long it takes for the issue to be resolved, and you can then use the 📲Call Response Explorer tool to see how those response times improve over time, and measure utilization before and after.
    • Amper’s Call Team tool is great if you have a lot of downtime due to “Waiting on Supervisors” or “Waiting on Maintenance”.
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Below are some other projects to consider for certain "Waiting on (X)" root causes:

If you find that "Waiting on QC" is a major cause of downtime after a few weeks of labeling, there are several projects you can implement to address the issue:

  • Move your quality control lab closer to the machines.
  • Add more personnel to the Quality Control team.
  • Implement Autonomous Inspection: simplify gauging techniques so operators can perform inspections themselves.
  • Justify the implementation of automatic in-line gauging machinery.
  • Run at Risk: Keep machines running during inspection in a secure area, if the failed inspection rate is low. In the rare case that a part fails inspection, quarantine and rework that part.

If after a few weeks of labeling, you find that “Waiting on Material” is a major downtime reason, there are a few projects you can implement to address this.

  • Consider using POUS, or Point of Use Storage. If you have repeat parts that run on certain machines, move that inventory closer to the machine so operators don't waste time retrieving those items.
  • Organize your materials to ensure operators don't spend time searching for items. You can implement a FIFO (first in first out) lane or use the 5S material organization method as demonstrated below.
  • Quantify the time lost due to Waiting on Material and hire more material handlers if needed.
  • Set up a better structure to divide the workload of material handlers.
  • Install support equipment that can automatically notify when a machine is running low on material. Often, an operator may not realize their machine is out of material until it's too late, so being notified beforehand can prevent the machine from stopping altogether. Although this type of equipment may be expensive, using downtime labeling can help quantify how much money is lost to Waiting on Material and justify the cost.
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