Wednesday, November 3, 2021

The Production Lifecycle and the New MESA Model – Part 2

Authored by John Clemons, MESA Marketing Committee Chair, based on an interview with Khris Kammer, MESA Model Sub-Committee Member 

The new MESA International Smart Manufacturing Model is under development and will be released very soon. It’s prescriptive, providing very specific recommendations on how we can be smarter in managing the lifecycles of manufacturing operations.

In the last post, I provided a little insight into the production lifecycle. Let’s look a little at what’s going to be in the new MESA Smart Manufacturing Model about the production lifecycle.

One question that’s addressed by the new model is “how can we make sure that finished goods and product coming out of production are consistently high quality?”

“And, as an extension to the above, what about when you have a regulatory agency (like the FDA for example) requiring detailed documentation of every step taken in the production processes?”

Again, I’m not going to give away all the answers here. I really do want you to read the MESA Smart Manufacturing Model when it comes out. But I will tell you that in answering these questions, the model discusses many aspects of production agility and what it really takes to be agile in manufacturing.

First of all, and this is nothing new, it’s simply not possible to test in quality. Testing has its place and there’s little manufacturing anywhere that doesn’t do some type of testing on the finished products. But quality has to be built in, not tested in. The production process must be built to be error proof, to be self-correcting, and to ensure that quality is being built in at every step.

That means operators must know exactly what quality means and must know exactly what it takes to produce a quality product. So that in the end, testing is simply done to verify that product meets the quality requirements.

Of course, it’s necessary to capture the test results and identify exceptions when they occur. It’s necessary to track incidents and deviations and have a continuous improvement process in place to take the information from the exceptions and deviations and work to eliminate the possibility of them ever occurring in the first place. Because in the end, it’s all about building in quality, not trying to test it in after the fact.

Another question that’s addressed by the new model is “How does the smart production make it easier to deal with new product introductions and high product mix situations?”

There’s a lot here as well and space doesn’t permit me to discuss much. But the new MESA model will include ways that we can answer this question and be smarter when it comes to product design, to the management and transformation of recipes, to the creation and dissemination of product specifications and work instructions, to the management of the bills of materials, and to the management of the linkages of all these items to each other and to the other elements of the production lifecycle.

One final question I’d like to mention that’s addressed by the new model is “Can smart production techniques ease the burden of workforce and skills shortages?”

I really don’t have the space here to even start to answer this question as there’s a lot to this but suffice it to say that the new MESA model answers this question in terms of having highly skilled, highly trained, high-performing resources, who have the right skillets, and the right resources and tools at their fingertips. And then making sure those resources are in the right place at the right time.

So, if you’re intrigued by these questions, and are looking for more answers than I had space to mention, then the new MESA International Smart Manufacturing Model is for you.

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