We Got IT: Downtime Planner Automates the Request, Review, and Approval of Your Downtime Events
Problem and Background
Manufacturing facilities rely on machinery to produce products. From time to time, production supervisors find it advantageous to shut a line down – whether to clean gear, replace parts, wait for an ingredient, or other reasons. Scheduling downtime is better managed when all affected parties know of upcoming downtime events. Yet, a common manufacturing problem involves the ability to schedule and coordinate equipment downtime events.
When our client, a major CPG manufacturer, approached us about a problem concerning their ability to schedule equipment downtime, Vertex’s Solution Scientists understood that a multi-faceted fix was needed. The solution would have to eliminate manual paperwork while providing total visibility into the request and approval status process for the entire enterprise.
Downtime requests are required when production resources (including but not limited to making systems, production lines, or materials) will not be available for production. Scheduling downtime may be needed for initiative testing & validation, checking process reliability improvements, or for other site-wide activities.
Our client’s original process involved several steps with multiple communications that would take days or weeks to accomplish. Requests from emails were transferred into forms whose data would later be entered into a spreadsheet. Additionally, individuals who wanted to know if their request had been approved were required to attend a schedule review meeting each week to hear the response from the planner in person. Each request was reviewed one by one to highlight if it was approved or not (non-value-added time).
The plant needed a solution that was easily accessible and would streamline the ﬂow of information on request status to improve productivity.
Vertex collaborated with leaders at the company to develop a solution in Microsoft Sharepoint that simplified the process by implementing electronic approvals and automating email notiﬁcations for status updates. Downtime Tracker now allows planners to approve requests. Notiﬁcations are automated via email for real-time response. The tool has also improved awareness by providing a calendar view and status report summary. Plus, it eliminates the need to maintain separate Excel spreadsheets and sends lists to a wide distribution. Team members can now track individual requests and ﬁlter relevant information.
Downtime Tracker provides the following:
- Calendar view of planned events with the ability to sort at multiple levels (resource, department, or module) improves visibility of the planned downtime events
- Ability to coordinate and combine events, reducing overall downtime needed to execute work – improves overall capacity
- Keeps the right people informed throughout the approval process
- Ability to summarize the number of downtime hours for capacity analysis
- Status updates and reports at your ﬁngertips
- Improved process ﬂow
- Ability to analyze past and future planned downtime events in hours
- Anticipated soft and hard savings of approximately 9,000 touches and elimination of 1,825 hours per year in communication and data analysis activities
- Calendar view
- Collaborative environment
- Automatic email notiﬁcations
- Always available
- Increased visibility of downtime status
- Reduced touches
- Better insights
- Improved flow of information
- Improved overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)
Vertex is a business and technology consulting ﬁrm that helps customers transform their business processes with leading edge technology. Learn more at www.vertexcs.com.
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Vertex Computer Systems
25700 Science Park Drive #280 / Beachwood, Ohio 44122