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Increasing Productivity at Saturn
August 1998 (vol. 31 no. 8)
pp. 35-43
To remain competitive, manufacturing enterprises must increase throughput and simultaneously reduce costs. This requires daily and long-term examination and analysis of a plant's functions and operations. Using this data, an enterprise can identify production flow bottlenecks and analyze capacity and other factors, which in turn helps identify improvement opportunities. While such information is critical, it is often a challenge to obtain in a complex manufacturing environment. The automotive industry provides some prime examples of complex manufacturing environments. At Saturn Corp., we turned to academic research--work involving model-integrated computing (MIC)--as a framework to organize the diverse types of data our information system must deal with. Using MIC and working with the Vanderbilt University researchers, Saturn built the Saturn Site Production Flow system. This system provides real-time information--culled from 80,000 data points--to Saturn personnel across the plant. Using SSPF-provided information helped Saturn improve throughput at its plant by 10 percent. Through models, we can readily explain a complex data structure in a virtual view of a manufacturing-plant floor. Diverse services are required for applications such as process monitoring and control, process simulation, statistical analysis packages, and other data manipulation tools. MIC integrates these tools into a common problem-solving environment.
Citation:
Earl Long, Amit Misra, Janos Sztipanovits, "Increasing Productivity at Saturn," Computer, vol. 31, no. 8, pp. 35-43, Aug. 1998, doi:10.1109/2.707615
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