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This another blog in a continuing series discussing what makes for a resilient manufacturing organization. If you missed the opening discussion please read part 1.a summary of the topic, part 2 the introduction, part 3 Flexible Manufacturing Capacity & Scheduling,  part 4 Enterprise Asset Managementpart 5 Enterprise Asset Managment II

Eliminating single points of failure

Adding redundancy to operations is costly, equipment and processes must be analyzed to identify those candidates for the addition of redundant equipment.  A risk assessment has to be carried out where the risk of specific failures on the equipment or system is judged. Priority should be given to those failures whose combination of probability and organizational effect is the highest.  Included in this assessment are all the single points of failure (those areas where a single failure can interrupt the whole process).  This assessment should not just look at pieces of equipment, but include control boxes, signal wiring, controlling software, equipment controllers, and other supporting pieces of infrastructure. If the supporting infrastructure fails or is the cause of the failure, then investment in stand by equipment will not be of use.    

Multi-Purpose Equipment and Processes

As outlined in the post on Flexible Manufacturing Capacity and Scheduling, being able to produce a variety of products on the same equipment and processes or to produce the same products on a variety of different equipment and processes is essential to the resilient organization. This does have an impact on the asset management organization.

Prior to incorporating multipurpose equipment and processes into a corporations strategy, there is need to understand the total functional possibilities of the manufacturing organization. Understanding and documenting all possible processes that allow the production to be manufactured, the impact of using equipment in it’s none normal use, and the associated risks, allows a company to understand its manufacturing capabilities, and the possibilities of
using a multi-purpose machine.

Once the multi-purpose equipment is incorporated in to the production facility, the use that it was bought for needs to be exercised. Too many times this expensive equipment is treated as a dedicated machine.  Running product on the “secondary line” allows an organization to gain experience in changing over the line, and running the line in its non-normal / emergency configuration.  Although the capacity of the emergency configuration might be lower than that of the normal line, this practice, just like any other emergency drill, increases the chances of a smooth response to an actual problem.  This too should be incorporated into the production plan.

Have you faced issues with creating a resilient organization? Is it possible to build a resilient organization in the chemical industry? Feel free to discuss/share stories about these questions along with manufacturing in the chemicals industry in general in the comment space below.  

Or join the conversation at @SAP4Chemicals