Collaborative Analytics for Morgan Advanced Materials
Supply chain management is becoming increasingly complex. Today’s manufacturing is more global and requires synchronization of material deliveries from suppliers throughout the world. There is increasing pressure to analyze complex data to prioritize and manage daily tasks, pressures from clients to quickly meet their changing demands, and pressures to deliver on time regardless of the product complexity and routine demand changes. In a time like this, agility and collaborative analytics are vital. Suppliers must utilize timely information shared across all people in the operation. The result of doing so? Clearly aligned critical decision making that keeps up with client expectations.
I was honored to speak at AeroDef Manufacturing 2019 a few weeks ago to discuss smart technologies propelling aerospace and defense manufacturing forward. I was joined by one of our partners—Senior Continuous Improvement Engineer at Morgan Advanced Materials, Marianne Braun—to discuss how LeanDNA is pivotal for Morgan as they work to drive agile processes across all their sites and improve customer delivery, quality, and price.
Collaborative Analytics for Agile Procurement
Collaborative analytics brings together the advancement in technology with the way humans successfully work together. In our world, this requires combining purpose-built analytical tools with collaborative lean best practices for manufacturers. Breaking down organizational silos is the first step, as I outline below in our work with Morgan. But the next step is even more pivotal for creating an agile, yet data-heavy process: Equipping teams with tools to take swift, smart actions based on the information in front of them. As I discussed with Braun at AeroDef, collaborative analytics bridges these gaps and gives executives at Morgan Advanced Materials the standardized workflows and performance views needed in their organization.
Morgan Advanced Materials’ Challenge
As Morgan Advanced Materials—a global engineering company with 85 manufacturing sites across more than 30 countries—entered the transformed world of digital supply chain practices, their key objective, according to Braun, was a consistent and standardized operating system capable of rolling their analytics across all Morgan’s sites. Like a lot of companies, data was not accessible or timely enough for their procurement leaders, buyers, and planners to identify and prioritize the critical actions required to improve the business. There was no system in place to communicate these actions company-wide, and there was no comprehensive view for executives to accurately assess performance. They needed to fill the gap between increasingly complex data sets and the people who bring procurement decisions to life. LeanDNA’s collaborative analytics brought their procurement process to life.
Collaboration challenges are no longer just between customer and supplier; the relationship within internal teams today is pivotal. How can buyers and engineers collaborate on operations? How about engineers with program teams? For the team at Morgan, LeanDNA makes this possible with a single pane of glass, which in turn improves communication, transparency, and accountability.
A single pane of glass
Morgan uses LeanDNA to put everything in one place—shipping and receiving data, lab numbers, Excel data, ERP system data, and more. This reveals trends over time across sites, empowering prioritization of intelligent decisions based on those trends.
In addition to all data living in one platform, the team at Morgan continues to collaborate inside LeanDNA by tracking actions, projects, and savings for each site. This continued collaboration enables them to drive accountability in their business, from projects and tasks to people and their activities. It also adds a level of transparency across the business, allowing teams to see how others are solving similar issues and discuss solutions. It supports the true teamwork needed to solve problems and share these best practices across the organization.
A second challenge we see in large manufacturers is trusted information, or rather, the lack thereof. Simply, if people don’t believe the data and information, they won’t take action on it. We’ve seen this firsthand, and our solution works to combat hesitancy in adoption. To do so, Morgan uses LeanDNA to:
Normalize data from all ERP systems. As they currently stand, ERPs are solely transactional and reactive. By taking in all sources and normalizing it, Morgan executives trust that the data they’re seeing is valid and consistent across sites.
Identify root causes. Any one metric can have many parameters that impact its state. And often, repairing one or two parameters fixes the majority of problems with a metric. LeanDNA automatically uncovers those focus parameters to empower teams with easy fixes that make the most impact.
Tie strategic goals to the specific projects and targets. Morgan employees can dive into any key metric and quickly see which projects are being worked on as it relates to moving any particular metric. Similarly, all projects are tied to the metrics. It directs everyone back to the same goals and objectives, and keeps everyone on the same page.
“It’s very transparent and we’re able to go back and forth to solve an issue, even across time zones. This really enables us to drive accountability through our business,” Braun noted in our presentation. “We’re able to see where our targets are, where we are today, our progress, our status—even from projects down to individual tasks, individual people, and their activity. It’s made a really big difference for us.”
Connecting disparate systems, keeping collaboration within one place, and automating data analysis gives teams more time and insight to take the actions with the biggest impact, while giving executives a consolidated look into their factory performance. Software platforms like this create the agility and collaboration needed to respond efficiently to changing client demands.