Productivity Pulse™ – Articles

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Improving productivity and efficiency: pitfalls and IIoT-enabled innovation

To succeed and stay competitive in today’s global marketplace, manufacturing companies must find ways to continuously improve their productivity. Towards this goal, most manufacturers implement Lean Manufacturing practices and associated Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) programs. Key to the success of these initiatives is standardizing data measurement as well as establishing a means of evaluating improvements made and tracking their progress over time.

The most commonly used metric for measuring Lean Manufacturing is Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). The three individual components of OEE – Availability, Performance and Quality – have a direct correlation to the TPM Six Big Losses (unplanned and planned downtime, slow cycles and micro-stops, production, and start-up losses) making it a useful framework to identify root causes of inefficiency and to help users prioritize and validate productivity improvement efforts.

While these frameworks for measurement are vital to driving operational improvement, they are only as good as the data supporting them. This is why many Lean Initiatives stumble right out of the starting gate. Accurate, consistent and insightful data is often difficult and expensive to gather, streamline and manage. With the growth of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), however, this is changing. Emerging technology brings with it new possibilities for the automation and standardization of data collection, and a means for data to be organized in a more meaningful manner that empowers OEE measurement and improvement.

Getting started: The data challenge

When first getting started with OEE, manufacturers need to choose between a manual data collection method or an automated data collection method. To best make this decision, it is important to consider what data is required, who intends to use it, and how it will be used. These determinations should then be balanced against what data is readily available versus what data is challenging to obtain.

Manual data capture can be a good way to get started, but this approach is often inaccurate, difficult to standardize, and poorly suited to the purpose if you intend to use the data for any real-time decision making. It is for these reasons that a manual approach to data collection can be a significant barrier to quickly building momentum and long-term success.

Without automation data collection for operational improvement is no easy task. With advances in the IIoT, it is possible for data collection to be automated using equipment already on the line. The development and integration of equipment sensors and OEE/productivity software technology, data collection can be streamlined, far improving data accuracy and consistency.

Things to consider with an OEE/productivity solution

Navigating the value proposition of an OEE/productivity software solution can be challenging. When evaluating a solution, a thoughtful understanding of your needs, both now and over the long term, is necessary. Scalability and complexity are big things to consider. Some offerings may be complex to implement and are more robust in functionality than needed and others might be overly simplistic, giving you high-level data that leaves you multiple steps away from a root cause of a problem.

With software solutions available at a wide range of prices, you’ll also want to find something you can get up and operating quickly at a cost that fits your budget. Finding a perfect balance of all of these elements can be tricky, so finding a trusted partner with knowledge of your production, as well as your needs and processes, is also important.

An innovative and more affordable approach to managing productivity

Understanding the pain point of producers wanting to improve their productivity without incurring significant capital investment of equipment and software and enduring a multi-month integration project, Videojet has innovated with an IIoT-enabled productivity solution that gives manufacturers visibility across their packaging lines. This visibility empowers users to maximize production throughput, reduce operating costs, and drive process improvements. The VideojetConnect™ Productivity Suite, when partnered with select Videojet equipment, not only provides users with a dashboard overview of how their entire operation is running overall, but it can also show productivity in real time where and when work is being done. This instant insight empowers users to make quick adjustments on the line in order to hit shift/daily production targets.

Advances in technology are creating meaningful and tangible opportunities to improve OEE and productivity. The IIoT makes is possible for automation of data collection and it is a winning proposition when you can easily tap into the intelligence of your equipment to do it. Finding the right-sized productivity solution for managing the data collected is as important as identifying partner who understands your production and processes.

See how easy it is to turn data into action with VideojetConnectTM