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May 26, 2021
Using our work instruction software , TE Connectivity embarked on a digital transformation journey in manufacturing to drive its operations' quality, increase productivity, and reduce reliance on tribal knowledge.
Pushing transformation internally empowers TE to deliver better, more elaborate and efficient solutions for their customers. With more than a hundred manufacturing and engineering centers distributed around the world, TE needed a tool to capture, digitize, and transfer its institutional knowledge across multiple locations.
As the go-to engineering partner for today's innovation leaders and technology entrepreneurs, TE Connectivity is helping solve tomorrow's toughest challenges with advanced connectivity and sensors solutions.
Operating under three main segments, Transportation, Communications, and Industrial Solutions, TE upholds its purpose to ensure every connection counts. By implementing the VKS work instruction software, TE enhanced its mission to digitize its factories and knowledge base.
The Digital Factory Team leadership identified VKS digital work instructions as the go-to solution for their need to capture and transfer both tribal knowledge and best practices across global manufacturing centers.
In its mission to digitize factories, TE also promotes continuous improvement in production processes through a high level of collaboration between shop floor operations and their technical teams.
This is exactly what VKS embodies: an electronic work instruction solution developed to assist any manufacturer to drive quality, productivity, and efficiency through knowledge share.
As TE develops, assembles, and manufactures a variety of connectors and sensors, its products are set to overcome the most stringent conditions for customers spanning across a variety of industries. The Communication Solutions segment serves customers within the Appliance and Data and Devices areas. Transportation Solutions segment serves customers with its four business units, Automotive, Industrial Commercial & Transportation, Global Application Tooling, and Sensor Solutions.
At the moment, VKS work instructions are utilized in plants around Europe, the U.S., and Mexico that mainly serve the Industrial Solutions segment. With business units such as Industrial, Medical, Energy, Aerospace, along with Defense and Marine (AD&M), the Industrial unit was the first to welcome VKS. The AD&M unit was next to embrace digitization and it is where our digital work instructions gained a strong foothold.
Milestone #1: Efficiently consolidate TE’s global footprint by capturing valuable tribal knowledge to support and serve the global manufacturing workforce.
Milestone #2: Promote factory digitization by driving knowledge management efficiency.
TE Connectivity has brought together an exceptionally knowledgeable Digital Factory Team to oversee its digital transformation efforts. For this case study, the VKS team had the pleasure to interview three experts in Digital Manufacturing:
Alvaro Angel - the North American region Digital Manufacturing Solutions Project Manager, worked closely with the development team overviewing proof-of-concept (PoC) projects.
Ben Kealy - the Senior Manager of Global Digital Manufacturing Solutions took charge of overseeing the Adoption of VKS as a global, ready-to-deploy solution at TE.
Beth Ann Chatcavage - The Digital Manufacturing Systems team responsible for overseeing the Enhancement Requests, Deployment and Support phases of the Project.
To reach a thriving workforce of 80,000 employees around the world and more than 100 manufacturing and engineering centers, TE is always on a continuous improvement path. This means a constant influx of institutional knowledge that needs to be captured and made available for further process optimizations, whether in relation to manufacturing or corporate culture.
“A crucial functionality advantage that VKS possesses and attracts us is the Instant Translation Feature that enables TE to share digital work instructions across plants all over the world in minutes,”
explained Alvaro Angel, the Digital Manufacturing Solutions Project Manager at TE Connectivity.
Each TE branch has its own approach to creating and using VKS guidebooks. The ability to capture rich visual media on the go and rapidly add it to work instructions encourages TE plant managers to document their own processes to allow for maximum resource optimization. Consequently, the updated guidebooks are ready for quick translation and dissemination for use on tablets or terminals at the process lines.
Now, the VKS digital work instruction software is the shop floor’s expert on standard machine operating procedures, various job processes, and process line maintenance.
Before adopting VKS work instructions, TE only had the ability to create linear guidelines, a prominent impediment when serving a highly diverse workforce, from trainees to veteran operators.
Using the Conditional Jump Feature, TE operators now skip steps within guides with ease and access additional guidebooks when needed. This helps TE accommodate operators of different seniority levels and efficiently make use of the TE vast Guidebook Library .
The VKS digital solution was identified as an OS - Agnostic Tool that seamlessly performs on all devices available on the TE shop floors. The Digital Factory Team was looking for a standalone on-premise solution that also offers browser-based access to accommodate plants overseas with as little implementation time as possible.
“The Access Control and Approval Groups features have minimized the need for other software systems as they allow us to streamline work instruction creation, approval, and accessibility directly through the same platform.
These features also help us select the exact amount of proprietary knowledge we want to share with specific users, plants, and even locations,” said Alvaro Angel. ”
Another prerogative VKS instructions offer TE is the ability to store all proprietary data on TE’s own servers at their centralized data hub. This ensures full compliance with strict aerospace and defense regulations and accommodates the sensitive nature of knowledge flowing across locations.
TE production plants are already equipped with several manufacturing systems. To digitize processes, fast deployment and effortless accessibility are highly prioritized in a new tool. VKS’ Enterprise solution provides TE high interoperability when necessary, and ensures systems within facilities efficiently communicate with the digital guidebooks created.
“VKS’ traceability capability helped TE avoid costly complex software implementation at its site in Poland,” explained Ben Kealy.
“The initial VKS deployment over global locations went smoothly and without too much complexity,” explained Beth Ann Chatcavage, the Digital Manufacturing Systems Team Lead. “It is very easy to learn and was welcomed on the shop floor with no resistance.”
The Industrial Internet of Things is ubiquitous now and so are TE’s products, from fiber optics powering intelligent medical devices to the electrification of autonomous cars.
With more than 200 billion electric and electronic products manufactured annually, there is a good chance that you have used TE Connectivity's components at least once. TE aims to enhance every connection to become faster, smarter, and more reliable, all the while driving an Industrial Digital Transformation.
The global technology giant acknowledges the pivotal role its institutional knowledge plays to ensure they continue to foster innovation, both internally and externally. Now they rest assured that best practices are captured and standardized on every site with digital work instructions. This helps them once again drive their competitive edge to higher production efficiency with a skillful global workforce.
Being a versatile tool, VKS serves as a powerful link between TE Connectivity’s knowledge management to enhance every connection and make the reality of becoming a Digital Factory of the Future possible.
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