Many of the largest electronics assemblers are well down the road to implementing Lean Manufacturing practices. A newly inked original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreement between Germany-based Siemens Automation & Drives Group (A&D) and Factory Logic Inc., an Austin, Texas, Lean Manufacturing software supplier, is intended to help electronics manufacturers move further down that path.
Under terms of the agreement, announced Sept. 25, Siemens will integrate the Factory Logic Lean Operations Suite into its Siplace manufacturing solutions for the electronic assembly market. Siplace is the Siemens product family name for integrated hardware, software and service solutions designed to support surface mount technology (SMT) production facilities. The Factory Logic Operations Suite is a software solution designed to support demand-driven production scheduling and pull-based supply synchronization using Lean methods pioneered in the Toyota Production System.
“Our Siplace equipment already supports Lean Manufacturing, and has for a long time” says Tuan Nguyen, director, software business portfolio management, for Siemens A&D Electronics Assembly Systems, in Munich. As examples, he cites Siplace features such as quick changeover and flexible manufacturing capabilities. “This agreement with Factory Logic takes this strategy one step farther.”
As part of its Siplace solution, Siemens offers electronics-oriented manufacturing execution system (MES) software that can interface with enterprise resource planning (ERP) system software such as that provided by SAP AG, of Waldorf, Germany. But Nguyen says the Factory Logic software is “the missing piece,” fitting between MES and ERP, that is needed by electronics assemblers who are implementing Lean strategies in often highly volatile demand environments. The Factory Logic software is designed to support an integrated approach that directly links production to actual customer demand, while maintaining the stability required for consistent, reliable, waste-free factory and supply chain operations.
The Factory Logic software option will be offered to Siplace users as the Siemens Lean Planning and Scheduling Solution. Nguyen expects that payback for customers using the software could come as quickly as six months—depending on level of demand volatility in their operations—through factors such as improved scheduling, inventory reductions, avoidance of premium freight charges and reduced waste.
Factory Logic, which sells its products primarily into the automotive, aerospace and defense, and medical devices industries, has signed an exclusive five-year agreement with Siemens for the electronics marketplace, says Dan Brummer, Factory Logic vice president of business development. Siemens Ventures made a strategic investment of more than $3 million in Factory Logic about a year ago, and the company has also received investment funding from SAP.
Besides Siemens and SAP, other Factory Logic strategic partners include BearingPoint, Deloitte Consulting, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, according the Brummer.
Factory Logic Inc.
Siemens Electronics Assembly Systems