medical device manufacturer makes line transfers

At least ten times a year, this American medical device manufacturer transfers production of certain products from its main site in the US to a lower cost region. Line transfer projects are expensive and time-consuming, due to travel requirements for personnel and the amount of tribal knowledge that needs to be shared with the facility receiving the line.

COVID-19 has obviously made line transfer even more complicated due to a lack of travel. But even before COVID-19 hit, this manufacturer was seeking new ways to accelerate line transfers. If Drishti can simplify the process, they need never go back to the old way.

Before COVID, teams of operators would transfer from the receiving site to the sending site to learn the ins-and-outs of production.

This created costs in a number of different vectors:

  • Travel costs for the operators, including HR overhead for visa processing
  • Labor costs at the receiving site to backfill for the operators who are currently traveling
  • Opportunity costs for both sites as days of effort is invested in education and training
  • Reduced production volume during the period when the new line is spinning up, which mandates either extra production ahead of time or catch-up production after the fact

Once the operators return back to the receiving site, they would need to implement what they learned, train their fellow operators, and troubleshoot the inevitable growing pains as they attempt to recreate the assembly line. Overall, this expensive process takes 3-12 months from start to finish.

This manufacturer is deploying Drishti Trace to document the process at the sending site, benchmark its replication at the receiving site, and facilitate new operator training. Here’s how it works.

  • Baseline data from the sending site. The project kicks off with the deployment of Drishti Trace cameras at every station on the line at the sending site. Working together, Drishti’s team and the manufacturer’s engineers will use Drishti’s Annotate software to create a dataset that includes definitions of the process on top of numerous clips of video. (We call this a Lean Report.) This dataset, which includes line balance, cycle timing, and standardized work details, will facilitate both process transfer as well as provide training content for operators at the receiving site.
  • Benchmarking the receiving site. Once the first phase is complete, the receiving site will deploy cameras on the line they are setting up. The annotation process will repeat as we build a new Lean Report for benchmarking purposes. And because it’s so easy to measure very high volumes of cycles, it will be clear where the receiving site is out-of-sync with the sending site. The act of settling the process is expected to be much quicker and smoother because Drishti’s data and video will make it very clear where the variances lie.
  • Training new operators. There are two ways that Drishti will be used to facilitate training. The first is that operators will be able to review video playlists from the sending site to familiarize themselves with the operations. The second is that operators at the receiving site will use Drishti’s “instant replay” capabilities to compare their actions with those of the experienced operators at the sending site, and quickly improve their performance to meet company standards.
  • Cross-site collaboration without travel. All of the activities mentioned above can take place without the costly (and, in COVID times, risky) travel requirements. In particular, the receiving site will be able to easily pass video back to the sending site to answer questions and resolve problems.

Drishti Trace will reduce the time and cost of training new operators; shorten the duration of the line transfer process; and minimize the interruption to production caused by site transfers.

Read more about Drishti Trace