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30 The PCB Magazine • August 2017 CYCLE TIME REDUCTION THROUGH W.O.R.C. specific department surges, and other unfore- seen events that would compromise ongoing processes. The problem with cross training is that it is typically employed randomly, mean- ing that employees are cross trained based on their past experience or interest with no strate- gy to cross train across closely related tasks. SPC uses statistical analysis to monitor and control processes. Once again, the problem with SPC is that it works best in a mature, high-vol- ume process with a stable product mix. Com- panies tend to focus SPC on product specific at- tributes that change with each product, which creates challenges with processes that change part numbers multiple times daily, like in print- ed circuit manufacturing. Introducing W.O.R.C. Workflow Optimized for Rapid proCess- ing (W.O.R.C.) was developed by The Right Ap- proach Consulting (TRAC) in reaction to the expressed needs and feedback from clients. It adapts the most critical elements of the current toolset to the HMLV manufacturing environ- ment. Developed over the past three decades in the trenches with manufacturing companies all over the world, TRAC is rolling out this new manufacturing strategy specifically aligned for high-mix, low-volume companies. W.O.R.C. isn't just a production toolset; it applies to all processes from order entry through shipping. While the foundational tools and techniques are certainly not new or groundbreaking, the unique combination and adaptation to HMLV manufacturing is. TRAC has successfully imple- mented W.O.R.C. in several industries, and we will look at two case studies from both an office and manufacturing perspective. W.O.R.C. Cells There are three types of W.O.R.C. cells that can be implemented, depending on the opera- tion, work flow, and equipment set. Physical W.O.R.C. Cells Certain industries like sheet metal fabrica- tion, plastic injection molding, die-casting, etc., are custom-made for Physical W.O.R.C. cells. The key is to locate all the equipment required to perform a majority (if not all) of the oper- ations into one physical cell. W.O.R.C. cells can be configured in a variety of ways that fit the process, product and/or workspace (horse- shoe, linear, circle, etc.). The first key is to de- sign the cell in process sequence with mini- mal travel and handling waste. The second key is cross training, or to be more accurate, extreme cross training. This means that every single person in the cell can perform every sin- gle task and is competent on every single piece of equipment. Virtual W.O.R.C. Cells Other operations like printed circuit board manufacturing require specialized equipment, process and environmental conditions that make it problematic to put a single piece of equipment in a cell. For example, multiple plat- ing lines and imaging clean rooms can require mutually exclusive environments. It can be done, and in some cases, it does make sense to have micro-rooms for plating and imaging in a co-located cell, but typically a Virtual W.O.R.C. cell is the solution. What is a Virtual W.O.R.C. cell? This means keeping the required equipment in the nor- mal work areas and functional departments, but designating one dedicated piece of equip- ment in each area as belonging to the W.O.R.C. cell. This means, and this is the hard part for many production managers in the beginning, that only work within the W.O.R.C. cell char- ter can be run on these machines. That means letting them sit idle when needed. This is also hard to swallow, at first, for the financial folks that measure efficiency, ROI and productivity. We will discuss this later. Hybrid W.O.R.C. Cells Like many things in business, and life, a hybrid solution often provides the best of both worlds. This means setting up a Physi- cal W.O.R.C. cell for all of the tasks and equip- ment that can be easily co-located together and combining them with the dedicated Vir- tual equipment set that do require special en- vironmental conditions. Whenever possible, it is best if the physical cell can be located in close proximity to the virtual cell(s) to maxi- mize the benefits.

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