Machines

Optimizing Production by Reducing Machine Downtime: Tower Use Case

Overview

Organization – Tower, semiconductor manufacturers

Sector – Electronics

Problem – Machine downtime deriving from communication problems between the production floor and the warehouse and supply orders that weren’t delivered fast enough.

Solution – Using InsightSAP the company has created a new automated raw materials supply process. Significantly decreasing the amount of time the production floor waits for materials, resulting in increased efficiency.

Summary

Tower, a semiconductor manufacturing company wanted to improve its efficiency by reducing its machine downtime. After some inquiry they found that one of the main reasons for the machine downtime was problems with the warehouse deliveries. Items that were not delivered to the production floor in time caused many delays in production. 

The production manager would send their material / item requests to different departments in the warehouse. Thus, it was very difficult to get the full picture of all the open orders. In addition, there was much disorganization regarding the handling time of the orders. Some orders were processed quickly and delivered almost instantly while others were pushed back, and delivered later than needed, hence causing 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, that way, the warehouse manager would be able to prioritize and process the orders in a timely manner. 

Using InsightSAP the company has revolutionized its order processing. Firstly, all employees could open a work order, which went under an automated approval process, resulting in adding the request to the warehouse’s open orders. Secondly, for the first time the company was able to 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 other views were shared with the entire team. Employees could even add comments and information to the warehouse reports, in order 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. 

Full

In the semiconductor industry, downtime of manufacturing machines is very costly and must be minimized in order to optimize production. 

Tower Semiconductor, a leading manufacturer of high-value analog semiconductor solutions (‘Tower’) is very sensitive to manufacturing machinery’s downtime and is constantly seeking ways to reduce it. One of the identified improvement opportunities was by 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 releasing of items from the warehouse. 

Pain Point: 

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 the warehouse professionals or managers could have a high-level view of work orders 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 management sought also for a system that would reflect the live SAP ERP data and that would be very easy to create and later on to adjust and maintain.

The SAP competence team would have invested nearly a month in developing such a solution, had they been acquainted with Insight SAP Suite.

Solution: 

With SAP’s PM module, production line staff members may trigger a work-order which is routed through an approval workflow to the warehouse. Tower re-uaed an existing historic ABAP query and diffused all work orders through InsightSAP.

With Insight SAP, 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 at the screenshot below). Then, by using conditional formatting, Tower highlighted  (in LIGHT RED) and prioritized open work-orders which are 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 Insight SAP, Tower has easily highlighted work-orders that exceed this SLA definition. 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 Insight SAP, Tower created several layouts in no-time, as following:

  1. Manager Live-View: layout with essential operational information (i.e. work order time and item delivery time), while highlighting with conditional formatting work orders that exceed the agreed SLA.
  2. 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.
  3. Warehouse Staff: Insight SAP enables Tower to add free-text columns in seconds. By using such a column, Warehouse Managers may easily enter comments which are displayed within the SAP Report and shared with whoever has the right SAP authorization rights (for the PM module’s t-code report). Thanks to the created column, warehouse managers are now easily adding 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…”).
  4. 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:

Last, With Insight SAP’s Publisher module, the reports are being sent 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.

Result: 

With InsightSAP, 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 decided to invest a one-day one-time effort with Insight SAP. Now, 4 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 lead to a reduction of Machine-Downtime. Shifting from an eMail based service to a service that is embedded within SAP ERP has led to simplification, transparency and streamlining of the warehouse work order monitoring processes.

Furthermore, few end-users were technically capable of creating the Inventory Valuation report as opposed to today – that each person with the right SAP authorization level could address his personalized needs by a single mouse-click.

Before using Insight SAP, 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.

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