The pursuit towards optimum
Venla Kuuluvainen, Sales Manager / 27 Feb 2019
Fitness, sports, supply chains, manufacturing plants, processes and business, all have something in common; the pursuit towards an optimum. Rarely do we stop to ask the question what makes up this elusive optimum, as we easily conclude we should go faster, better, higher or any combination of these. Then we throw some tools at the halfheartedly identified objective, such as KonMari, a personal trainer, Lean, Six Sigma, outsourcing, agile, scrum and the list goes on. With these tools we are promised a better life, greater results and more profits.
What do you want to achieve?
Before going for the first trendy tool that promises everything, we should think about the end goal of what we really want to achieve. For an athlete the goal might be an Olympic medal, whereas, for all business activities it is to make more money both now and in the future. Once the goal has been clearly defined, the constraints prohibiting us from achieving that goal needs to be identified. At this point we will have a more holistic view of the system we are dealing with. Only after this, the tools come into play and then finding the right tools to achieve what we want will be easy. Moreover, the results of applying the right tool for the system at hand will yield far better results than throwing any random tool at the situation.
The implication of the above for all manufacturing plants and processes is quite straight forward; the manufacturing plant should produce the maximum amount of money both now and in the future. Optimization seems to be the way to go, whilst others argue continuous improvement should be embraced since there is no optimum in a system. I would say both are correct, as long as we talk about online optimization, since online optimization can be described as continuous improvement of a finite set of variables, which in relation to each other stay relatively unchanged and which interaction with each other produce a unique optimum each minute. The concept of online optimization is nothing new within the oil & gas or the chemicals industry, but there are an increasing amount of processes in other fields that could benefit from online optimization.
The NAPCON approach to optimization is to make sure we are solving the right issues by identifying the constraints both physical and policy related. Sometimes online optimization is too heavy approach to be viable, and in those cases we use lighter tools and only bring out the NAPCON Optimizer for the most complex of processes. The NAPCON Improve solutions relentlessly solve the optimum each minute and push the process towards ensuring the best results financially both now and in the future.