Achieving supply-chain predictability works out to be a competitive advantage for most manufacturers. Each year, business planning models are filled with assumptions about a manufacturing network’s capability to produce and ship product as promised to the customer base. These assumptions often are conservative and based on a history of less-than-optimum performance.
Manufacturers need to understand their current capabilities and continually improve their uptime and process availability. Traditionally, the capabilities of these facilities in their networks vary as a result of product mix, processing, packaging capabilities, shipping issues, access to markets, distribution networks, and the availability of their assets. However, many uptime issues are caused by the unavailability of their assets (unreliability); these problems result from equipment failures and process and operational issues. Manufacturers strive to improve reliability to have predictable supply-chain processes that deliver product to customers on time and meeting all “purchased” specifications.
Some manufacturers take a strategic approach to improving their manufacturing network (site) availability by instituting and implementing corporate reliability guidance. This isn’t the common approach, however. Many manufacturers let their sites develop their own practices; these may not reflect industry best practices and may compete with (and lose to) other corporate initiatives. Don’t let this happen at your organization – here’s a five-step process to developing a corporate reliability initiative.