Generally, Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) software is thought of primarily as a collection of applications that manage production and related operations and activities. This is certainly true—the core intended purpose of MOM applications is to connect, aggregate, and federate shop-floor automation activities, along with all of the additional production workflows and supporting activities to the larger ERP and reporting software of the enterprise.
But many MOM applications have a strong effect on quality initiatives too, and research shows companies have been performing greater numbers of quality-focused MOM implementations as well as a greater effort on the part of the market to further integrate quality functionality into MOM offerings.
In this post we’ll look at why MOM software application suites have had a growing effect on quality, and how companies have been leveraging them to transform shop-floor operations.
MOM Quality Applications Take Lead in Adoption Rates
In our 2013-2014 MOM Survey, we discovered the top MOM application used by companies that reported effectively managing manufacturing operations was Quality Management software, with a 58% adoption rate, besting Planning, Scheduling & Dispatching software and Production Execution software by 5% and 8%, respectively. What’s driving this lead in MOM quality application implementations?
- Increased user needs and demands around quality to support traditional real-time, in-line Statistical Process Control (SPC) capabilities
- Additional focus on end-to-end enterprise quality management processes and solutions for extending them globally across operations
- A reliance many manufacturers have on operators to perform key quality checks, requiring more streamlined and robust quality management capabilities over manual and automated activities
Driving many of the needs of end-users, these factors have also prompted MOM vendors to improve and extend quality management capabilities within MOM solution suites.
How MOM Quality Applications Are Transforming the Shop Floor
One of the critical operational aspects of the manufacturing shop floor is to automate, standardize, and centralize quality process data, and this is where MOM quality applications are being deployed. More than a wholesale translation of paper to glass, these applications take advantage of real-time data collection along production steps to check for errors, improve quality sampling, and enable real-time alerts. The following are eight methods and capabilities that today’s companies are employing to get a better handle on quality.
1. Real-Time Quality Data Collection and Visibility:
Today’s MOM quality application solutions are allowing companies to collect real-time quality information as it relates to products, productions steps, materials, and labor and assets involved. This information is then made available in reports and on displays and typically integrates with enterprise level/Enterprise Quality Management Software (EQMS) quality information systems
2. Quality Performance Analytics:
Companies are gaining the ability to look across various quality processes and the real-time data collection mentioned above, and using this ability to uncover root causes and inter-relationships that assist in making future quality-related process improvements
3. In-Line Testing:
Helps to support the detailed steps and procedures required to make sure that product performance specifications are being met all while the process is occurring.
4. At-Line Testing:
Similar to in-line testing, this involves supporting the detailed steps and procedures to ensure the same product performance specifications while testing samples at the production line.
5. Statistical Process Control (SPC):
SPC performs checks and samples rules, charting, and alerting in real-time to identify any preset rule violations
6. Real-Time Quality Data Collection and Visibility:
Collecting real-time quality information in context to products, production steps, materials, people, and assets involved as well as making this information visible on displays and reports (should be integrated with enterprise level/EQMS quality information systems)
7. Quality Workflow Automation:
Helps to enforce Quality Management processes as an integral part of the flow of production processes. Like real-time quality data collection and visibility, this should integrate with enterprise level/EQMS quality workflows.
8. Plant Floor Non-Conformance/Corrective and Preventive Action Management (NC/CAPA):
The ability to manage the handling of NC/CAPA workflows and procedures. This should also integrate with enterprise level/EQMS NC/CAPA workflows.
The Effect on Quality Metrics and Shop-Floor Roles & Responsibilities
It’s clear that both the needs and capabilities of MOM software have deepened with respect to quality. Real-time analytics and connections to EQMS and other enterprise platforms are further automating quality data, standardizing it, and delivering it in real-time to various workers. But it’s also having measurable effects on key operational metrics as well.
To learn more about how quality management software capabilities and real-time shop-floor visibility are affecting Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and shifting the roles and responsibilities of employees, as well as actionable recommendations for realizing these capabilities, click below for a free download of our report, “Quality Takes Lead in MOM Software Deployments and Performance Benefits.”