In this blog we want to elaborate now about the Production Control Room (or “War Room”) which is a key element in crisis management. Basically it is a room where all relevant crisis management information comes together and can be used to exchange about the current crisis status on a regular basis. Therefore it is the center of the daily production status exchange.
The set up of the Control Room follows the manufacturing process (see below an example for a typical composite manufacturer):
All relevant process information has been printed and put at the wall of the Control Room. A daily check and update is organized to ensure that the recent status is always available. Depending on the crisis mode, all stakeholders meet once or twice a day to go through the relevant KPIs, address major issues and launch appropriate actions where needed.
The manager of the control room is the Crisis Manager (kind of Programme Management profile). We usually start with an overview of the current delivery status versus plan. After that, the accountable managers report about their key input elements. Those are usually material input (buy parts and raw materials), engineering input (drawings, late changes, …) and tool changes and status about new tools to be ordered or adapted.
The KPI for material encounters for all relevant positions a status about current stock (called range and measured in weeks) and an information about the replenishing time (measured in weeks as well). Key questions: Are all the materials available or is there a risk of a short fall because stock is lower then replenishing time? The control room allows an immediate cross check of the information. Does production confirm that all materials are available? That is one of our standard questions.
Engineering provides an overview of the latest changes which consists of the availability of their input from the customer, the status of the designs and the possible impact on new tools to be manufactured. The status of the tools (designed, delivered, ready for use, First Article Inspection performed) follows directly after the engineering report.
In the next step Manufacturing reports the current status per work station. Minimum information is the achieved daily output versus plan, the recovery action in case the plan has not been achieved and an outlook whether the weekly target is achievable. Latest on Wednesdays an information has to be given if additional shifts are needed in the weekend for recovery and how it that has been organized. Additionally to the Control Room a weekly Planning Review Meeting is mandatory where Planning, Manufacturing, Logistics and Steering meet on a regular basis. The purpose is the review across functions regarding last weeks performance. In case there was a shortfall the not achieved workload has to be added to next weeks target (Rolling Forecast) to recover in line with the overall target.
After Manufacturing, Quality is asked to provide the current status of the major KPIs. Usually they should be organized as gates along the production process. In the Control Room we focus mainly on their development over time. A detail investigation (including a Pareto analysis, DMAIC, etc.), reporting and steering is done in a separate weekly Q-Board which is as mandatory as the Control Room.
All new actions or decisions during the Control Room Meeting are entered in our crisis action tracker. Usually the due time for actions are very short, and a dedicated person should be named to check their on-time finalization.
At the end, we finish the Control Room with a view on the current product delivery schedule. Are we on track in relation to our given commitment? Is there anything else we can do to recover? If the answer is a clear yes, we go back to the shop floor and continue with our work.