How to improve yield and reduce costs of manufacturing with PRIZ Innovation Platform

There are two most critical parameters of manufacturing – production yield and product cost. Managers task their teams to reduce the cost and improve the yield, but both parameters are strongly linked. They together look like a swing for kids. The linkage between yield and cost is very well known; nevertheless, people are trying to improve those parameters in isolation.

This article discusses two significant strategy vectors: production yield improvement and product cost reduction.

Traditional approach

The management defines two targets:

  • Increase production yield
  • Reduce product cost

Managers of lower-level begin to set up projects trying to achieve each target.

Examples of yield improvement projects

  • Improve the performance of the most problematic operations
  • Tighten production control limits
  • Introduce additional monitors to improve performance
  • Perform additional training and certification of the staff
  • Enhance equipment maintenance

Examples of cost reduction projects

  • Headcount revision, redeployment, and layoffs
  • Alternative suppliers of chemicals and materials
  • Alternative suppliers of equipment spare parts
  • Revise and reduce monitors and dummy processes
  • Revise and rearrange maintenance 

All the projects above are good, but, unfortunately, they will not solve the actual problems of production plants. And the reason for that is very simple, any efforts to improve either yield or cost are contradictory to each other. Improvement of any parameter with this approach is only possible only by compromising something else. However, a tradeoff between yield and cost is not really an improvement.  It is quite clear that any changes targetting to improve the process yield will elevate the production cost and vice versa. Any attempts to reduce the cost will definitely affect the production yield. The yield and cost are functionally related as shown below:

The chart above tells us a simple story – trying to improve yield and reduce cost separately is a waste of time. The result is a tradeoff, and that will keep the production stagnant. In simple words, we should not expect real development from this process.

Better approach

To make innovation and solve the problem the relation between Yield and Cost should be destroyed. The elimination of а contradiction will allow improving both yield and cost independently.

How to eliminate contradiction?

This is straightforward, we’ll use 40 inventive principles.

Among other tools, PRIZ Innovation Platform offers 40 Inventive Principles tool. The whole purpose of this tool is to break contradictions.

40 Inventive Pronciples

Investigation Results

Contradiction

If we apply relevant changes to the production process, then the yield will be improved, but the cost will be increased.

Parameters

Yield – #29 “Manufacturing precision”
The degree to which the actual characteristics of a system or object match in specified or required characteristics. Accuracy.

Cost – #21 “Power”
The rate at which work is performed. The rate of use of energy. the rate of energy output.

The contradiction is symmetrical; if formulated vise versa, the recommended principles are the same:

Principles

#32 “Color changes” – Change the color or transparency of an object or its external environment.

#2 “Taking out (Extraction)”  – Separate an interfering part or property from an object.

Reading the explanations and thinking brings us to the innovative solution improving both yield and cost.

The Solution

Eliminate operations and delegate the functions to other operations:

Eliminate and delete the function to other components

In this example, the Innovative principles tool is operating as a managerial technique. Based on our analysis, the manager should have only defined one target – Shorten the process flow. This is, in fact, the best way to improve the yield and reduce cost simultaneously.

Shortening the process is a real innovation moving the process closer to ideality.

Operations elimination is a problem that is solved using problem-solving tools. PRIZ Innovation Platform is the instrument for such changes.

Log in to the platform, open a project and start innovating.

Ph.D. in Chemistry. Expert in processes design, improvement and problem-solving. TRIZ (Inventive problem solving) specialist (Level 3).

1 Comment

  • Shyamal Kumar Sinha
    June 13, 2021

    I am a Metallurgist by profession, worked as a Head of SMS Process M/S Sunflag Steel, retired in 2017.

    Reply

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