In today’s ever-changing global landscape, manufacturers are required to build resilient supply chains that can accommodate unexpected supply chain disruptions and increasing regulatory requirements, all while continuously improving the quality of products for their customers. At the same time, global supply chains and production processes have become more complex to support increasingly sophisticated products.
Fortunately, recent advances in manufacturing automation, analytics and cloud computing are enabling more supply chain flexibility and efficiency than ever before. By effectively integrating mission-critical data in the cloud, manufacturing executives are gaining deeper insights into their operations that improve efficiency, reduce errors and risks and lead to better and quicker business outcomes.
Sanmina’s Digital Transformation
Sanmina began its digital transformation journey more than seven years ago, moving its manufacturing execution system (MES) to a cloud-based platform that was designed in house, now known as 42Q. As part of this effort, more than 25,000 pieces of manufacturing equipment at facilities around the world were connected to the cloud, to provide real time data about key production criteria.
For executives under pressure to address supply chain disruptions at multiple facilities every day, a live view of factory operations is essential for ensuring the highest production efficiency at each connected site. By accessing data collection points in real time, they can review a wide range of data or trend charts to gain a clear understanding of what’s happening in each of their factories. 42Q is also programmed to send text or email alerts to designated personnel when yield, throughput or other KPIs fall outside of preset limits, for faster resolution of any potential issues that may be developing.
Mistake Proofing Production
42Q is also used by quality personnel at Sanmina to mistake-proof production processes. Common issues in highly regulated industries, such as medical device or automotive manufacturing, include defective components or operator errors during production. Sanmina is leveraging data analytics in the cloud to eliminate these types of errors.
By connecting equipment, materials and people’s actions via barcode scans and RFID reading in the cloud within a single instance, a powerful ‘forced quality framework’ has been created. If a key component that was scanned prior to assembly is found to be the wrong version during production, the system will prevent that component from being used. If an operator has not been trained or a training certification has expired, he or she will be prevented from logging in and performing that work until the necessary training is taken. If an assembly somehow arrives at the wrong workstation, the assembly will automatically be rejected and sent to the proper step in the production line. For each product, a complete record of all operator actions, test data, in-process data and component traceability data is continuously updated and stored in the cloud.
This cloud-enabled approach has resulted in positive improvements to quality and regulatory compliance at Sanmina. During FDA audits, the auditor no longer has to wait for physical records to be pulled from an offsite storage location for review but can access them digitally in real time, increasing the auditor’s confidence in the entire quality system.
Real Time Visibility and Control
The intelligent application of cloud technology has given Sanmina executives real time, actionable insights from manufacturing facilities all over the world. It has also made a significant impact to the way global quality is managed, where the risk of regulatory non-compliance is too high for Sanmina and its customers.
Because 42Q provides a forced quality framework, it eliminates common errors and provides an integrated, searchable database for accurate record keeping, which is particularly important in highly-regulated industries. And finally, it has consolidated factory equipment data worldwide for real time visibility and control. The results have been tangible with improvements in efficiency, quality, compliance and factory culture.