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  • arie maor

How Flex Uses Kiami’s Smart Troubleshooting and Knowledge Management to cut manufacturing downtime

Updated: Jan 24, 2022


Flex is an American Singaporean multinational electronics contract manufacturer. It is the third-largest global electronics manufacturing service (EMS), with 200,000 employees in 80 manufacturing sites around the world. Assembly line operators, maintenance technicians, test equipment technicians, process engineers, and other teams’ daily work involve a lot of troubleshooting, root-cause-analysis, and failures fixing, along with routine maintenance activities such as system calibration, preventive maintenance, process control, and predictive maintenance.

The Challenges

Here are the main challenges Flex teams have pointed:

  • Too often failures’ repair process is inefficient, involves a lot of trial and error, rarely includes proper knowledge sharing that ends up in long downtimes and poor quality, expensive rework, and scrap costs.

  • Although most of the manufacturing equipment and processes are common in all the manufacturing sites, knowledge preservation and sharing inside the technical teams and between the different sites is rarely used and ineffective.

  • Flex uses monitoring software to collect and analyze manufacturing equipment data in real-time. When an abnormal indication exists, a line operator or a technical expert is called to identify the root cause and provide a proper correction. Unfortunately, there was no standard resolution for each indication type in the various manufacturing sites, although they use the same machinery and processes.

  • About 20-50% of the service calls from the operation teams to technical support and engineering result from operation faults that could be avoided, while reducing unnecessary downtimes and failures, and reducing technicians’ workload.

  • Technical information such as electrical schemas, maintenance manuals, maintenance procedures, spare parts data, and such, are spread in various locations and systems. When a technical member needs them while working on his/ her tasks, this information is not so accessible, or getting it is time-consuming.

  • Cumbersome, non-intuitive maintenance management software is used to manage maintenance teams’ activities.

The Solution

Kiami’s FastTtroubleshoot was optimized to provide a remarkable solution for all the challenges above, and much more. The system is literally transforming the way technical and operation teams repair failures and collaborate knowledge, experience, and best practices, across sites and the entire supply chain.

When a manufacturing engineer, technician, or line operator tackles a failure, the system scans the knowledgebase for similar failures, and provides diagnostic and repair recommendations, that have been optimized by an optimization algorithm, to minimize repair time and spare parts costs.

All the accumulated experience lies there. Making it so users do not need to “reinvent the wheel”, each time they tackle something slightly new. All the necessary technical information such as diagrams, procedures, manuals, photos, and videos can be opened with one click.

In more complex failures, where decision trees can simplify the diagnostics process, the user can run the Expert Wizard, and follow its guideline. The user can key in symptoms, error codes, or other process characteristics, and the system generates recommendations based on that input. Integrating the expert system into the knowledge base has proven to be a game-changer, cutting repair times and waste dramatically.

A powerful analytics tool helps to highlight process trends, products’ weaknesses, or other anomalies that require intervention, monitoring, preventative, or improvement actions.

A simple and very intuitive maintenance management module completes Kiami’s suite, with all the required maintenance functionalities, including equipment, spare parts, and inventory management, preventive maintenance tasks’ scheduling and reporting, and more. This module has a great synergy with the advanced troubleshooting and knowledge management system elements.

The Benefits

The system was implemented in 2020 in EMEA region (Europe and Middle East), showing a tremendous impact on the manufacturing teams’ daily work.

According to Ofer Klein, Flex Israel OPEX director,

“I saw many troubleshooting solutions in the last years, but Kiami’s solution is on another level.”

Here are the main benefits that have been observed:

  • During the first implementation that included around 50 technicians and line operators in Flex main site in Israel, they observed massive cost savings due to reducing breakdowns' repair times and technical manpower. After a while, it was extended to additional teams and eight manufacturing sites across Europe.

  • Cutting materials waste, poor-quality, and returning failures were observed anywhere.

  • Excellent collaboration between technical teams in different manufacturing sites, while spreading experience and best practices.

  • Shorter and more effective new employees’ training and qualification process.

  • Simple, easy-to-use maintenance management functionalities.

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