Organization – Tower, semiconductor manufacturers
Sector – Electronics
Problem – Communication problems between the production floor and warehouse resulted in machine downtime and supply orders that weren’t delivered fast enough.
Solution – Using InsightZAP, the company has created a new automated raw materials supply process. Significantly decreasing the time the production floor waits for materials, resulting in increased efficiency.
Tower, a semiconductor manufacturing company, wanted to improve its efficiency by reducing machine downtime. After some inquiry, they found that one of the main reasons for the machine downtime was problems with the warehouse deliveries. Items not delivered to the production floor in time caused many delays.
The production managers would send their material/item requests to different departments in the warehouse. Thus, getting a complete picture of all the open orders was difficult. In addition, the handling time of the orders proved to be another cause for delays. Some orders were processed quickly and delivered almost instantly, while others were pushed back and delivered later than needed, causing further delays.
The company managers understood they had to improve the processes regarding the warehouse and, most importantly, find a way to organize all work orders in one place. With proper planning, the warehouse manager could prioritize and process the orders on time.
Using InsightZAP the company has revolutionized its order processing. Firstly, all employees could open a work order, which went under an automated approval process. The automation process sends confirmed orders to the warehouse. Secondly, for the first time, the company could bring all open work orders into a single report. Using conditional formatting, the orders were grouped and colored in different colors according to their priority, department, and other factors.
Lastly, the report was divided into four views, displaying different information according to the viewer’s role. Some views were for the managers only, while others were shared with the entire team. Employees could also add comments and information to the warehouse reports to improve transparency and accuracy.
The process led to the desired results – less confusion and delays in the work of the warehouse, leading to a decrease in machine downtime.
In the semiconductor industry, the downtime of manufacturing machines is very costly and must be minimized to optimize production.
Tower Semiconductor, a leading manufacturer of high-value analog semiconductor solutions (‘Tower’), is very sensitive to manufacturing machinery’s downtime and constantly seeks ways to reduce it. One of the identified improvement opportunities was monitoring and improving the release time of ordered parts and items from the warehouse to the production line.
Goal: To improve the turnaround time between work orders and item release from the warehouse.
Until recently, the warehouse staff communicated with their internal customers by email. The warehouse received a work order by email, issued the requested item, and communicated by email to the internal customer whenever needed. These emails were not consolidated in one place, nor could the warehouse professionals or managers have a high-level view of the work order status (e.g. Number of open items at any given moment, the processing status of each work order, or whether there were any issues worth mentioning).
The warehouse management sought a solution that could provide different views (depending on the role), such that it would be efficient to structure the monitoring of all work orders that arrived at the warehouse. The company looked for a system that would reflect the live SAP ERP data, which would be very easy to create and later adjust and maintain.
With SAP’s PM module, production line staff members can trigger a work order routed through an approval workflow to the warehouse. Tower re-used an existing historic ABAP query and diffused all work orders through InsightZAP.
With InsightZAP, Tower enhanced the ABAP Query & SAP standard report results by adding various columns. For instance, Tower added formula columns as well as columns with inventory information from other SAP tables. Each work order is automatically tagged within the Priority Text column (please see the 4th column from the left in the screenshot below). Then, using conditional formatting, Tower highlighted (in LIGHT RED) and prioritized open work orders causing machine-downtime delays for immediate processing.
Tower defined the Warehouse turnaround SLA (between the work order’s posting time and the item’s release time) as 20 minutes. With InsightZAP, Tower has easily highlighted work orders that exceed this condition. Moreover, the Operational Report is sorted by order of arrival of the work order, its status, whether there is available stock to issue, and if it is impossible to issue the item for whatever reason.
With InsightZAP, Tower created several layouts in no time, as follows:
- Manager Live-View: layout with essential operational information (i.e. work order time and item delivery time), while highlighting work orders that exceed the agreed requirement with conditional formatting.
- Manager KPI Dashboard View: a monthly statistical overview of the number of work orders, on-time / late delivery data, breakdown by material item, and so on. This report is exported via an interface to Tower’s BI tool, where Tower runs trend analysis.
- Warehouse Staff: Insight SAP enables Tower to add free-text columns in seconds. By using the input column, Warehouse Managers can quickly enter comments displayed within the SAP Report and share them with users with the needed SAP authorization rights (for the PM module’s t-code report). Now, warehouse managers can easily add inputs per any line order or cell (inputs such as “item was not issued on time since the item was locked during the night shift…”).
- Large Screen Monitor: A dedicated team layout which is placed at the warehouse, in which only open Work Orders are displayed, and highly prioritized orders are highlighted in LIGHT RED:
Lastly, Insight SAP’s Publisher module sends the reports regularly to relevant stakeholders through their email, in an automated way, with drill-down capabilities to the data on the transactional level from the email body, subject to SAP authorization.
With InsightZAP, Tower merged and displayed three different reports in one, added additional input and formula columns – in less than a day of work, without development, in Production. Tower could have pursued two alternative standard options: (i) Manually run excel V-Look ups and other calculations whenever a new report is needed, (ii) 1-month ABAP Development to set up the report, and further development and maintenance whenever adjustments would be needed.
Instead, Tower invested a one-day, one-time effort with InsightZAP. Four different Report layouts are a click away, always presenting the latest data since they are embedded within the SAP system.
Business-wise, the expected outcomes are shorter time cycles of completion of work orders, which would reduce Machine-Downtime. Shifting from an email-based service to a service embedded within SAP ERP has led to simplification, transparency, and streamlining of the warehouse work order monitoring processes.
Furthermore, few end-users could technically create the Inventory Valuation Report as opposed to today – that each person with the right SAP authorization level could address his personalized needs with a single mouse click.
Before using InsightZAP, which enables the creation of this report without development and On Production (hence, eliminates the need to put in place a development requirement document and then pursue an ABAP development path), it was alternatively planned to execute the Inventory Valuation Report through standard ABAP development – a painful, long, tedious and invested process that would have ended up with a Z-Report, that amongst other matters is ultimately unsupported by SAP.