Low Cost Process Optimization in High Mix, Low Rate Manufacturing Environment
Authors: Thomas A. Seitz, Brian Asti, Brandon Kidney and William Presley Company: Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems and Sperry Marine Date Published: 10/14/2012
Abstract: Optimizing product flow in a high mix, low volume manufacturing environment is difficult. Capacity tends to be a function of operator/equipment availability and yield, which is further dependent on the part itself. To adequately optimize production, sophisticated Industrial Engineering software models are typically used, which tend to become complex and costly, requiring long lead times and specialized programming skills. As such, they are not often used to make day-to-day throughput decisions. This paper describes a low-cost alternative to formal Industrial Flow software modeling using the Solver function in Microsoft Excel. While this approach lacks the deterministic rigor of a formal optimization tool, it is low cost, easy to use, and provides immediate accessibility of results to the shop floor engineer.