October 20, 2017

What’s the Value of a Plant Audit?

by Joe Erb

Throughout the past year, my colleagues and I have written frequently about how business conditions are necessitating fenestration manufacturers of all types to rethink the operations on their plant floor.

But when you’re on the plant floor day in and day out, it’s not always easy to identify where and how you can be continuously improving. Whether you’re looking to make a capital investment to grow your business, or if you’re just looking to drive new efficiencies with what you have, an outside perspective can be valuable.

What can a third party bring to the table at your plant? It might be more than you think.

Uncovering unseen issues.
You’re hitting volume targets, you’re getting orders out on time, and quality seems to be up to your standards. But without a deeper look into the smaller parts of your operation, there might be issues occurring under the surface you’ve been unaware of.

For instance, one issue found by Quanex’s Technical Services team during customer audits can occur  within the automated glass washers. These machines must be properly and regularly calibrated  to ensure glass going through the system is washed thoroughly, and should be part of a rigorous maintenance plan on the shop floor. Unseen problems can occur—it’s not uncommon that brushes within the machines aren’t even coming into contact with the glass.

Third-party audits can catch these and other small but critical issues. Some can be fixed on the spot, while others might take specialization. Regardless, a comprehensive report summary of your audit should be available from your auditor in order to tackle issues before they become big problems.
A bird’s eye view.
The potential for new efficiencies in your operation exists everywhere on the plant floor, but it’s easy to get lost in the little details of daily operations.

For instance: Your goals for the year might be to improve quality consistency in your IG units. But are you thinking about improving efficiency elsewhere? Perhaps there’s potential in your vinyl profiles.
A third party can bring a fresh set of eyes to your plant floor and may be able to help identify where improvement can happen—areas “hidden in plain sight.” Indeed, a third-party audit can fit into larger ambitions as well. Perhaps you’ve been struggling with available inventory space, but haven’t thought to consider outsourcing a lower value component to your finished products. Maybe there’s potential for even more efficiency if you rethink the orientation of your IG line.

Under market conditions that demand new ways of doing business, a third-party audit can help illuminate new potential for your operations. Interested? You can get in touch with our Technical Services team to schedule a plant audit today.

Questions or comments? Contact me directly at Joe.Erb@Quanex.com.

For more information about Quanex visit www.quanex.com
Posted: October 20, 2017 by Joe Erb Filed under: audit, efficient, manufacturing