In the latest Industrial Revolution, otherwise known as Industry 4.0, advances in manufacturing production are racing along through the miracle of technology. It (technology) also plays a vital role in increasing labor productivity in lean manufacturing components. In this post, we’ll discuss three ways that technology unlocks productivity through advances in Andon systems and Takt timers.
WHY ANDON SYSTEMS AND TAKT TIMERS ARE IMPORTANT
First, let’s establish the reasons for using Andons and Takt timers. In a manufacturing facility, Andon systems are used to visually communicate a change in status to workers on the shop floor. For example, a red light may be programmed to indicate that the equipment has been halted because an inspection is needed. This will alert everyone in the line of sight to act accordingly, thereby reducing time wasted. Takt time is the required rate that each process must undergo to deliver one unit to the customer. We use it to make sure we are neither over or underproducing. A goal is set for Takt time, and if we manufacture a unit faster than the Takt time, we are using capacity wastefully. If we deliver slower than Takt time, our customer is not getting what they need.
THE PROBLEMS WITH TRADITIONAL ANDON SYSTEMS AND TAKT TIMERS
For a traditional Andon system (physical stack lights) to work efficiently, every person you need to run your manufacturing facility must be on the floor. Among other issues, this presents a problem when an inspector is spending time at one station and can’t see that another station has a more imminent need. Traditional Takt timer clocks are idealistic because they do not take into account unpredictable variables such as bathroom breaks, shift changes or other scheduled down time. The clock continues to tick, and workers sometimes work frantically to make up for lost time, increasing the likelihood of errors.
THE SOLUTIONS THAT TECHNOLOGY PROVIDES FOR ANDON SYSTEMS AND TAKT TIMERS
- Cloud-based technology. Andon Systems in the cloud allows station operators to signal different conditions from their stations so that management can monitor all statuses in real-time from any internet-enabled device, providing actionable insights into activities on the shop floor. With Takt Timers in the cloud, managers can track station efficiency, get automatic notifications, and control timers from anywhere, anytime through an internet-enabled device. This enhanced control means that Takt time can be more accurate and not skewed by uncontrollable downtime.
- Digital displays. Andon systems in the form of digital monitors on the shop floor provide better visibility from a longer distance than stack lights alone. This allows line workers and management to know better what is going on at the other stations. Plus, with monitors, more stations can be added to a line without losing communication ability. The workers and management gain access to timely, actionable data to inform their decisions and improve productivity. Furthermore, some platforms, such as Shop Floor IQ, will show Andons and Takt timers side-by-side on a digital display to alert the team if they are falling behind or getting ahead on Takt time when the Andon is displaying any one of the programmed states.
- Integrations. With integrations, Andon systems and Takt timers can meet the individual needs of a manufacturer. Using RESTful APIs, both older and newer shop floor technology can work together. Implementing rules-based logic that ties Andon states to resource dispatch requests streamlines the communications process and ensures that the right people are notified immediately in the event of a status change. Moreover, with production progress being automatically collected and displayed in real-time dashboards and analytics, managing Andon systems and Takt time helps management identify production issues, so they can make preemptive improvements.
While traditional Andon systems and Takt timers may be an improvement for those without any lean manufacturing practices, manufacturers may experience a much greater benefit at a reasonable price from Shop Floor IQ. Look into our platform solution that harnesses the power of technology and gives real-time actionable insights into your lines. Find out more on our platform page and get a free trial to see how it works in your environment.