Slashing the Backlog with Surge Production
As capacity continues to rise, SEC producing 900 panels
Let’s get down to brass tacks. After evaluating 1500 individual work orders and tracking them to current production process so I could compare that to the original due date…I only have two words: MY BAD.
Presuming everything was backlogged, I directed operators to continue producing panels prioritized by customer service. I believed this would provide a steady work flow in culminating in jobs being completed in order of original due date. However, upon further scrutiny, I realized that every process step has virtually almost every due date within that step. For the most part, regardless of board being in Inner-Layer-Image or Drilling, Soldermask or Final Inspection, I have jobs with original due dates ranging from mid-May all the way to August which, in turn, means that some August jobs have already been completed while some May jobs have remained in the early stages of the fabrication process.
For this reason, we have created groups for jobs currently tracking at bottleneck processes and batched them to ensure completion by due date. We now have control of the situation which has resulted in seamless production. Allow me to break it down for you. We have reassigned the due dates based on the current process which, in turn, is based on the production capacity of 300 double-sided / 300 multilayer panels per day all the way through the drilling process. Additionally, an outside service will add another 300 panels, which means our throughput is a 900-panle-minimum from metallization through plating and beyond.
900 Panels per Day
We have achieved this by adding either automation or people or a combination of those two factors to the majority of fabrication processes. It is worth noting that that the production of 900 panels a day is being realized while Saturn is still not back to full-strength. This is a threshold that the majority of domestic shops cannot attain during a typical, pre-pandemic week.
That being said, we will continue to miss due dates in the short term but days past due continue trending down to no more than 2-3 days by early to mid-July. Importantly, this schedule does not take Overtime and Saturdays into consideration so we are optimistic that past due dates may trend down faster than projected.
Moreover, processes bogged down by a stockpile, or bottlenecks if you will, are being supplemented with additional resources, which we have taken to calling Surge Production, or The Surge as the some of the New Recruits like referring to it. We are flattening that bubble. We are pushing work forward to the next process. We are making spreading it evenly throughout the shop. We are ensuring a continuous process flow.
At the moment, we are consistently shipping 40-70 orders a day. However, prior to Covid, our normal shipments were only about 30-35 a day.
Now, we have strengthened areas throughout as new employees catch Saturn Fever and are hungry to learn. We channel that passion through mentoring them on multiple process steps so that we are cross-trained…to the max! For example, there is no longer a single guy trained in Multilayer Lamination. As I write this, we have four employees, including myself, working this process step. When we pull operators from their primary process these young, motivated Millennials exclaim: “NEXT MAN UP!” As I’m sure many of you know, this is a Football adage meant to convey a steady confidence in response to an injury that forces a player to leave the game. Basically, this is no time to panic. We got this.
I digress. The point is that we are making major headway. We are catching up. We are getting stronger.
New orders are being processed. As of this week, materials output into drilling for double-sided boards are on schedule. As long as they continue production through each process we should continue to be on time starting at the last week of June.
Next Challenge Up: Multilayer Production
We are still making gains with Multilayers but right now we are running a few weeks behind. But it is on notice. We will be implementing the Surge to Multilayer Production this week. Furthermore, the increased capacity resulting from outsourcing Drill will allow us to launch work down the line so that by late next week we will have cut the backlog down to less than two weeks.
Thank you for your continued support.