Time is the most valuable resource in any operation. Why? Because it’s the only one that cannot be recovered once it’s consumed; it is the only true independent variable in life. Time cannot be managed or controlled, only wasted, so structuring work in a way that makes the most of the time available to your business is key in maximizing your efficiency and minimizing cost.
People, Processes, and Technology
Using time as effectively as possible may be easier said than done. How do you minimize wasted time in a production environment? First, you must understand all aspects of the work that needs to be completed as well as the timeframe at hand (by using a production schedule, for example). People, processes, and technology can all consume time, so it is important that the contribution of each of these users be studied and understood to achieve optimal productivity. For instance, people can be used as a buffer when technology becomes a constraint. Since time does not stop, your business must learn how to manage the actions that occur in the given timeframe, whether this means implementing fewer steps in the process or spending less time completing them.
Of these three factors, people likely present the most variation and potential for energy loss in a business system. However, energy can be put into a process to compensate for wasted time; this is one of the fundamental trade-offs in FIT Operations. Think of a fire that begins to wane as it is being used as heat for survival. In this situation, there are two possible courses of action: let the fire die so anyone around it freezes, or add another log to survive the night. Even though time will keep moving regardless of the decision, adding critical resources to a process is an appropriate action to manage through a crisis and maintain throughput velocity—the average number of units produced within a given time period. This will help optimize the success of your system as a whole and not sub-optimize individual unit processes.
Many methods have been developed to study time relative to operator involvement in a complex system. Among them is MODAPTS®— MODular Arrangement of Predetermined Time Studies—which has emerged as an industry standard for measuring the time humans contribute to a work process. This practice is unique because it is based on human physiology and analyzes motion patterns and the pace of operator activities. This is fundamental in determining the minimum cycle time for a given process. MODAPTS considers the spatial resolution of a work station and forces the industrial engineer to lay out cells in a way that minimizes required movements. This is an example of structuring work to eliminate wasteful actions and create more potential energy for the process.
Cornerstone Consulting Organization is certified to deploy MODAPTS in your business operations and support you in your war against entropy and external murphy. This innovative approach to minimizing cycle time and maximizing throughput velocity will reduce your inventories and maximize your contribution margin.
If you think your organization is wasting time that could be utilized more efficiently, contact CCO and let us provide the resources you need to succeed.