MxStrategies: Establishing Manufacturing Excellence

MxStrategies: Establishing Manufacturing Excellence

David Brown, Founder and President, MxStrategiesDavid Brown, Founder and President
In the 1990s, Hercules, a premiere specialty chemicals manufacturer, chartered teams to learn the practices of the best manufacturing organizations, and bring those practices and results into internal operations. At that time that David Brown shifted gears from plant operations and maintenance to global operational excellence. Working with cross-site teams, and later establishing Hercules’ reliability and maintenance center of excellence, tools were developed to share and spread best practices and improvement processes across the organization.

A key tool for enabling an organization is Asset Utilization, a measure of actual production versus the ideal achievable with those assets. Asset Utilization (AU) differs from Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) in that it naturally measures process-wide losses, excludes nothing and ties out to actual production performance and business impact.

After over than a decade of experience in operational excellence at Hercules, Brown founded MxStrategies, offering MxMax Productivity™ which affords instant global visibility of production performance. “We devised means to ‘institutionalize’ progress, where tomorrow always builds on the progress of today—honed by our experience in driving sustainable long-term improvement,” says Brown, Founder and President of MxStrategies. MxMax™ benchmarks each shift or batch to the best. It effectively engages the operator in accounting for loss reasons (including downtime, rate reductions, rework/recycle, cycle time delays, and batch size reductions). Supervision checks accuracy/root cause and engineering analyzes the results. MxMax removes non-value-added administrative and reporting activities from the engineer and efficiently engages production floor personnel in their area of expertise. It provides information of sufficient granularity to quantify and confirm improvement opportunities.

From this same data capture, MxMax™ provides management with the production impact of overall operating performance, local team performance, product mix changes, customer demand swings and ideal rate changes. MxMax™ can even be setup to reflect the gross profit impact of performance versus the production plan.

We devised means to ‘institutionalize’ progress, where tomorrow always builds on the progress of today

MxMax™ enables uniform application across all plants in an organization, and is configurable to fit different processes and cultures. Users can easily switch views between local and global languages. Its modular approach makes it affordable for small, manual operations. Automated operations can utilize the Connect™ module to transfer data between MxMax™ and internal systems. The GMP™ module enables cross-shift communications and production data collection, replacing paper logsheets or standalone systems. Its Comply™ bolt-on monitors conformance by grade, provides for regulatory compliant electronic signatures and records, and compiles data station records for QA review.

MxStrategies shared several case studies with us of customers’ experience with MxMax™; one from Belgium, one from Germany and one from the US. One example showed a two-year improvement, each exceeding 20 percent. Two were of more recent customers, who upon implementation quickly realized advantages over their prior systems. Internal systems prove difficult to maintain for the long term, and spreadsheets take much more engineer’s time than companies realize. In both cases, the site quickly found substantial improvement opportunities that were not evident using their prior system.

MxMax™ is currently configured in eight languages and has been implemented on five continents. MxStrategies has plans to expand further into pharmaceutical production and mining, both being industries positioned to gain from manufacturing excellence. But its core focus is on existing customers. Ensuring their success feeds the continuous improvement of the product. Because MxMax™ is a cloud based service, all customers benefit not only from responsive customer service but also from having instant access to every improvement made to their subscribed modules.