We mentioned that the first 4 modules in the Digital Model Factory are diagnostic modules. It is important that diagnostic modules are conducted in detail, comprehensively and holistically, since it is not possible to treat or cure without diagnosis. Only in this way can you uncover real problems, identify real potential, and prioritize your actions. With the Lean Approach and Industry 4.0 module, we stabilized and standardized our processes after creating the unity of purpose and common motivation. Afterwards, we extracted the value stream of the material with Value Stream Mapping and the value stream of the information with Value Stream Mapping 4.0, and we both simplified and shortened the process from the material entering the factory to the output as a product, as well as to increase our efficiency and manage the processes better by processing the information in the most effective and efficient way. We decided to redesign their flow. The roadmap to this new design is both our lean and digital transformation roadmap.
After acquiring the roadmap, lean and Digital Transformation can and should proceed, consecutively or in parallel. We can now move on to the treatment and recovery modules, starting with the subjects that will provide the most added value to the business. There are few topics that will contribute to the lean and digital transformation in business more than TPM. Although the applications gathered under the title of TPM and other lean techniques are essentially lean improvement subsystems, I especially associate all of them with Lean and Digital Transformation, because you can digitize each improvement subsystem after or while implementing it, and you should digitize it as a requirement of the digital age. With the priorities that emerged with VSM and VSM 4.0, in certain cases, priority cases may arise from TPM, but as I said, Lean without TPM is not possible, but even implementing TPM alone means completing the Lean Transformation to a great extent.
While working as a technical planning engineer at Siemens, I started my master’s degree and chose TPM as the thesis topic. In fact, we called our project “Productivity Key TPM” because the word “Lean” was not a common word at that time, JIT was used and I did not know the term “Lean”. I can say that TPM has deeply affected my perspective on productivity and production management. I can say that TPM interest is a reflection of my interest in manufacturing depth and technical issues as an industrial engineer. Between 1997-1999 in Siemens, I started to do work studies as a way to learn the production processes, to have as much control as the foremen and to improve the processes. Later, with the data I obtained from these work studies, I started to create diagrams that were not at all similar to the Value Stream Map as a visual flow, but offered the same or even more information in terms of content, in order to discover bottlenecks, visualize the material flow, and make the actions transparent to reach maximum capacity. Since I did not know the concept of Value Stream Map at that time, I realized years later that this method, which I created out of necessity, actually enabled me to do Value Stream Analysis in Excel. Actually, the terms didn’t matter anyway, the important thing was that the method produced the information I wanted. Of course, classical VSM fans who insist on preparing Value Stream Maps in Excel in 99 will still object to preparing it on the board or on paper, but in my mindset, preparing VSM on paper and on the board is completely against the essence of lean. I don’t think a a lean oriented person would have such an insistence. As a result, not developing the methods of preparing the VSM to be prepared on paper, of course, in an environment where there is not a computer, is directly contrary to all the essence and principles of lean.
Process times are needed to prepare the value stream map, and unfortunately, these times are either missing or incorrect in many businesses. When you create the value stream map after taking the studies as the best way to learn the processes, you also have the necessary data to calculate the OEE of the business. For this reason, I specifically chose TPM as the first of the improvement modules.
As a result, studies carried out under the title of lean, efficiency or continuous improvement in most of the enterprises cannot be continuous because they are project-based. What will ensure their continuity is a PDCA approach. For this reason, we developed both the Lean and Digital Transformation curricula of the 4 Model Factories in Turkey and the curricula of the Digital Model Factory with a PDCA approach. Thus, every time businesses come to an end on the roadmap, they actually reach a beginning and start the PDCA cycle again. I designed it this way because I see it as a shortcoming that the other Model Factories we have examined do not have this approach, frankly.
With TPM, you don’t just start calculating OEE, you actually get an incredible knowledge for improvement, a pool of problems. The potential is now conspicuous. How you take action against this potential will determine the results. Now you can access data that will improve faults, improve settings (our 6th Module is already SMED, in particular), tell you priorities in quality issues (our next modules are FMEA, Gemba, Kaizen, Jidoka, Poka-Yoke), and tell you that you are working with performance according to standards. If you were to maximize all of these, that is, all of the sub-metrics of OEE that emerged with TPM, there would be almost no problems in the business anyway, you would start looking for problems, change your problem definition, and start to see issues that were not problems before as problems.
Optimizing the settings obviously requires a different manufacturing depth. We also have the SMED module to make this possible for everyone. As a result, no matter how complex a problem is, if you break it down into enough parts, you’ll eventually find that you’re left with fraction of problems.
Fixing failures also requires serious manufacturing depth, of course, but this cannot be solved solely from a production engineering or process engineering perspective. You cannot develop a maintenance system that will reduce breakdowns and enable predictive maintenance or autonomous maintenance without collaborating with maintenance engineering.
Kaizen group work is one of the most effective ways to improve performance. Here you have to cooperate with your own workshop as it is very difficult, sometimes impossible, to record slow speed or momentary pauses. As you can see, the solution comes back to collaboration, communication, and feedback. In other words, you cannot make improvements without creating a cooperative environment based on mutual trust and breaking down the walls between departments. Even if you do it without this environment, it will be temporary and narrow, as is usually the case.
To improve quality, of course, you need to work with the quality department. Not integrated autonomy of departments is the biggest obstacle to improvements and sustainable improvements. Creating problem-specific matrix Kaizen teams and seeing this as a constant need is an indication that your business culture has a basis for continuous improvement.
Finally, let me give an example of a problem that we solved with a matrix organization in this way at Siemens within the scope of TPM, because it is an example that includes everything that TPM says to do.
In contactor assembly lines, there is a station of a technique called Sigut. Here, pneumatic screwdrivers land on the incoming contactor and unscrew the screws to prepare them for easy wiring. Thus, when the customer receives the contactor, it is ready to connect the cable. However, in one of the lines, this Sigut station was working with 50% wastage. It couldn’t turn one of the 2 screws it tried, one of the lines had to leave his station and work on fixing these faulty products. This was a problem that was taken for granted because the Sigut station in question was sent to Siemens Kartal at the point of scrapping after working for 10-20 years at the Siemens Amberg factory, which is called the world’s first Industry 4.0 factory, and has been working here for maybe 10-20 years, so it was not sensible to expect too much.
However, I wanted to make this station work with 0 errors. We went over the problem with the participation from the quality, maintenance, automation and molding departments. Actually, they were interested because they liked me, because actually nobody believed at first that this station would work with 0 errors. Even “Dogan, why are you bothering us with this?” I remember what they said. However, in the process, they also saw that this was possible, and even with such old and neglected equipment, we obtained a station that works with 0 errors with very serious revisions. When I left years later and came to Siemens again, it was gratifying to see that the equipment was still in the same condition. We have obtained a sample piece of equipment from a dead piece of equipment. After that project, when someone tells me that something is impossible and cannot be done, I have a smile and I know there is nothing you can not do, but lack of motivation.
–Dr. Doğan Hasan