Analyze Constraints and Improve Workflow
Ford Motor Company’s Wixom, Michigan plant operations, responsible for the production of the Lincoln LS, the Ford Thunderbird and the Town Car, initiated an operational improvement program.
To address the issues and complexities of evaluating bottlenecks within the plant, Ford Motor Company approached Visual8 to develop a Body Shop Bottleneck Analysis decision support tool for its Bodyshop in the Wixom Plant.
The decision support system (DSS) would capture data from VisualPlant, Ford’s data collection engine, and generate reports indicating where bottlenecks exist within the plant. The DSS would provide users with the capability of:
- Identifying the line and station within the line that impedes production flow,
- Visually manage area equipment in order to reduce downtime and maximize output, and
- Quickly identify production constraints with scheduled reports to monitor plant performance.
Using SIMUL8 software, Visual8 Corporation developed the Body Shop Bottleneck Analysis decision support system, to help improve plant operations in the Ford manufacturing environment by identifying and ranking bottlenecks as well as the impact of buffer size changes. The tool was used to monitor and manage bottleneck processes within large multi-station job-shop or assembly operations by logging the activities by station, including:
- Cycle times,
- Downtime information, and
- Job routings.
The Body Shop Bottleneck Analysis DSS allows the user to analyze bottleneck trends and compare the results across different shifts, lines and time frames, and determine the station that is the bottleneck production for the entire product operation. It also determines the potential gain (increased JPH) that can be achieved by removing the bottlenecks from the system.
The Body Shop Bottleneck Analysis decision support system allowed Ford to:
- Perform “what if” analysis,
- Identify and rank bottleneck stations,
- Analyze the impact of removing each bottleneck,
- Assess buffer stock levels,
- Provide live updates of system bottleneck analysis, and
- Import information provided by PLC’s to Activplant.
The V8-Bottleneck tool provides a dynamic approach to detecting bottlenecks using its simulation engine to identify and rank the primary and secondary bottlenecks in a system. By accurately identifying and eliminating the primary bottlenecks in plant operations, Ford realized major productivity savings and throughput improvement within its plant.