By implementing the Epicor Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, Milwaukee Electronics now has access to a wide array of advanced shop floor control tools. This year, our continuous improvement (CI) efforts are focused on better aligning our electronics manufacturing processes to the greater visibility inherent to the new system.

Based on participant results and recommendations from a recent performance analysis, the Cell Level CI initiative conducted in the Milwaukee facility last November serves as a great example:

“We piloted the CI format in SMT and have since rolled a similar project format out to our first assembly, post wave, final assembly and materials teams. We will be starting soon in our military and box-build assembly areas,” said Terry Martin, Milwaukee’s Operations Manager.

The project format focused on four key areas: organizational structure/leadership, communication, process and metrics. Daily stand-up meetings help coordinate workload, track progress and to drive/follow team level actions to improve our EMS outsourcing performance for customers.

“Under the old system, measuring CI metrics so closely would have been difficult,” said Bob Schultz, Milwaukee Production Manager;

“CI projects tended to get put on the back burner if there was a customer priority which called for immediate attention. That tendency allowed waste to exist in our processes and drove a reactive management process, where bottleneck-creating issues were never fully fixed. The new system supports the measurement of results on a daily basis. We can be more responsive to customer needs and eliminate waste from processes as we identify it,” he added.

As Milwaukee Electronics’ Screaming Circuits business unit has seen business increase significantly this year, it is also focusing on CI to improve performance.

“We wanted to increase utilization by standardizing best practices for employees across all shifts. We saw production spike in the first quarter and forecasted June as another spike in production based on yearly sales averages. We began this CI project in April and set a 90-day timeline for completion,” said Ashley Rochholz, Continuous Improvements Manager for Milwaukee Electronics. As it was anticipated, sales did spike in June.

“We have had 100% on-time delivery in June, and overall productivity has improved among the shifts as processes have standardized. On some days we’ve seen it double from our CI efforts,” Rochholz added.

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