More than 180 work and process planners, product developers, design engineers and ergonomics managers and partners from the engineering and ergonomics sectors used this year’s MTM users’ conference in Heilbronn to broaden their horizons. “Benchmarking for greater competitiveness” was the title of the meeting. Essentially, the meeting focused on checking the suitability of products for processes at an early development stage, obtaining a comparative standard for productivity and the experience that companies gain when including indirect processes in benchmarking.
“Benchmarks are the engine for continual ongoing developments in productivity at VW. This means identifying best practice options both inside and outside the company and deriving goals and standards from them,” Frank Lins, Head of Industrial Engineering at the Group, explained. “Benchmarks serve as eye openers at the company, on the one hand – and as a source of specific optimization, on the other. Ergonomics and quality aspects are taken into account too,” he added. Lins introduced the customary forms of the Harbour Report at VW up to and including vehicle dismantling and reminded his listeners of the changes to the general conditions for benchmarking in the EU guidelines on antitrust legislation. “An exchange of data geared towards the future with competitors is not permitted, but an exchange of information about the current state or looking back into the past is allowed – this is benchmarking that helps to improve production and efficiency and will in the end benefit all those operating in the market place,” he said.
Simplification brings greater benefits
Prof. Bernd Klein from the University of Kassel said that the assembly of complex products was a worthwhile benchmarking area. His thesis is that Germany as an industrial base can only remain competitive by simplifying products and therefore reducing production costs. Simplification here means satisfying the design function with the absolute minimum number of parts. “ProKon has proved to be useful in practice,” he said. “The MTM analysis tool is easy to use, simple to learn and can be employed with much less effort than comparable tools.” And he added, “We should not forget that ProKon enables us to estimate assembly times.” Johann Zittelsberger, Production Planner at Rhode & Schwarz in Teisnach, spoke about the methodical approach of determining and assessing processes in the areas of quality assurance and purchasing. “Office engineering with MTM and the introduction of the MTM Office System (MOS) software have not only opened our eyes to sequences, but have also supplied the necessary key figures for successful productivity management in indirect departments.
Huge potential in non-productive times
The best lean methods are of no use if fundamental information is missing in order to bring an increase in efficiency within grasp at all. It has not been easy to progress from this knowledge about pilot projects to a general introduction of MTM in assembly and product development processes at the Dungs company in Urbach, a systems partner for gas, safety and control systems engineering. “But it has always been worthwhile doing so,” said Christian Hagen, the Head of IE. “The key figures have been determined for each cost center and gradually transferred into the working plans in SAP. More than 14,000 working stages have now been stored with MTM times. As a result, the company now has a clear picture of the actual percentage of times that create value. “We’ve discovered that there is huge potential in non-productive times or disruptions,” Hagen said. “Achieving increases in efficiency as a result of reducing non-productive times and developing a more just wages model geared towards efficiency still needs further development work. It is now essential to set up an MTM efficiency management feedback system for all the departments – production, logistics, HR, IT, controlling, R&D, IE and union representation.”
Falk Hoffmann, Key Account Manager at BLG Automotive Logistics in Bremen, illustrated clearly that the purchasing and specialist departments involved in a logistics tender process will pursue completely different goals, but can find a common denominator to calculate their quotation by using MTM. “MTM provides transparency in costs and processes. Then you can say to the specialist department: We have the target process here that the customer is demanding and you can present the purchasing department with a coordinated resource planning process.” Denes Kukawka, a consultant on production optimization and ergonomics advisor at the DB railway vehicle maintenance workshops in Dessau, reported on the pilot project entitled “Work Stations Suitable for People as They Grow Older.” Two major goals involved drawing up an ergonomics map for the workshops and optimizing the work stations. It was possible to discover potential using Ergonomics Express and its rapid screening process. Using the EAWS assessment tool, the results were then verified – where the company used a combination of methods – the work sampling frequency analysis and EAWS (cf. p. 4ff). The results of the pilot scheme will now be included in a manual in order to show other factories how to develop well-designed ergonomic work practices too.
Getting the master craftsman on board
Dr. Burkhard Leifhelm, Head of Operative Excellence at HELLA, was the final speaker addressing the subject of assembly automation. “Components that are not suitable for automated assembly disrupt the production sequence,” he said. “As a result, HELLA has combined its experience with ProKon and the requirements for automated assembly work in its new approach called AutKon (design that is suitable for automation).” Leifhelm recommended introducing the subject matter at a workshop, getting the master craftsman on board and using a methods mentor as chairman. “The aim,” he said, “was to encourage an exchange of skills within the team”.
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26 April 2013 – MTM Users’ Conference in Heilbronn on the subject of “Process Benchmarking.” The comparative
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