Production monitoring refers to collecting data from the manufacturing process, typically in real-time, in order to better understand and continually improve that process. There are two fundamental aspects to production monitoring. The first is utilizing data collection to create an accurate data foundation. The second is transforming that data into actionable information. It is essential to do both well in order to effectively improve your manufacturing process.
Decisions are the pivot between information and action and are arguably the most important aspect of production monitoring. They are the point in time when information is reviewed, and a course of action is decided.
Machine Monitoring and Production Monitoring are closely related topics, so let’s explore how they relate to each other. We’ll start with brief definitions for each.
Machine Monitoring and Production Monitoring both rely on i) data collection to create highly accurate data foundations and ii) transforming that data into actionable information, which iii) ultimately enables you to take effective actions to continuously improve your manufacturing processes.
Where Machine Monitoring and Production Monitoring differ is in scope. The focus of Machine Monitoring tends toward specific pieces of equipment, granular data, and shorter time intervals. The focus of Production Monitoring tends toward the plant level, curated information, and longer time intervals. Here is a visual representation of commonalities and differences.
Production monitoring enables you to make decisions from an objective, fact-based view of your manufacturing operations. This is extremely important because manufacturing teams are often surprised, and sometimes even shocked, when they gain an accurate understanding of losses in their manufacturing operations.
Chances are that you have a very good understanding of what you produce from monitoring your production output. Far fewer manufacturing operations have a firm grasp on what they could have produced and the actions they can take to produce more in the future. In other words, production monitoring enables you to move from the simpler question of “How much did I make this shift?” to the more complex question of “How can I best improve my process?“ This transition is also a key part of the value proposition of Industry 4.0 and digital manufacturing.
The goal is to thoroughly understand your losses and present them in a way that fluidly leads to insights on where to focus your time and attention. For example, a Top Losses report, like the following, is an excellent visual for transforming data into actionable information.
The true importance of production monitoring lies in taking effective actions toward long-term objectives based on shared information. It is much easier to make decisions that align with your company objectives when everyone has access to the same pool of trusted data. Sharing data has become much easier with the proliferation of technologies associated with Industry 4.0 and digital manufacturing.
Let's explore how production monitoring impacts and aligns every level of your manufacturing operation. Specifically, we will use the STO model (Strategic, Tactical, Operational) to explore how to drive improvement at every level.
At the strategic level, the goal of production monitoring systems is to provide a big picture view. At this level you want to focus on the forest, not the trees.
For example, viewing quarterly OEE trends by department is a suitable focus at the strategic level. Where there are challenges, delve into the tactical details with departmental managers. Where you are meeting or exceeding objectives, provide positive reinforcement for the entire team!
At the tactical level, the goal of a production monitoring system is to translate strategic objectives into concrete actions.
For example, downtime is the largest loss for most manufacturers. Looking at comparative and trended data can help identify where to focus your attention. The following report snippet provides two loss perspectives: largest loss (Case Erector Jam) and emerging loss (Quality Check).
As another example, monitoring the quality of a product is also a key objective for manufacturers. Production monitoring software can utilize various data collection techniques to provide simple but actionable forms of quality monitoring as conveyed with this Pareto chart.
At the operational level, the goal of production monitoring systems is to significantly improve operators' ability to react to emerging issues on the production line. This is typically achieved through production monitoring display systems.
For example, operators will benefit from a real-time production monitoring system because it enables real-time data to be shown on the plant floor. Production monitoring display systems can provide significant value by delivering the right information at the right time - when your plant floor team can still change the arc of the shift.
Because operators tend to be focused on specific production lines, there tends to be quite a bit of overlap with machine monitoring at this level.
There are a broad range of tools that supplement and enhance production monitoring. A few of these include production monitoring display systems, production monitoring software, and frameworks such as Structured Improvement.
Production display boards enable real-time production monitoring to directly benefit your plant floor team. Having production display boards on the plant floor provides operators with instant feedback on critical progress indicators and metrics. The goal is to equip operators with better tools to react quickly to emergent issues on the production line.
Production monitoring software takes data curation and analysis, often an intimidating and complex process, and simplifies it through advanced reporting and improvement tools. Built-in pages and reports provide instant views of your production data that are ready for your analysis as soon as you begin collecting data. Customizable dashboards provide you with the flexibility to view your data exactly how you want once you are comfortable with exploring built-in reports. Effective production monitoring software empowers you to focus your time and energy on taking action as opposed to figuring out what and where you need to improve.
The goal of production monitoring is to take action to improve your operations. Aligning objectives, information, and actions across levels will amplify their effectiveness. This the role of Structured Improvement.
Structured Improvement is a tool to align people, information, decisions, and actions towards a common set of objectives. It involves three steps:
In other words, define an improvement objective, define the smallest number of connected meetings that will effectively drive meaningful and aligned action, and define supporting reports appropriate for each level that will expose the information needed to drive effective actions towards the objective.
With the Vorne XL Productivity Appliance™ you can:
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