Making Sense of the Data

How to analyse information collected from machines and employees, for quantifiable efficiency gains.

The ability to collect data easily and accurately to determine precise job timings, quality and costs for productivity and profit analysis is an absolute game changer in a manufacturing environment.

With accurate and real-time data, manufacturers can make better, faster decisions in order to work towards more efficient production output and loss reductions.  By effectively analysing production and having easy access to this data to inform decisions, manufacturers can optimise their entire operation.

Data is power

Data is incredibly valuable; it is the lifeblood of the manufacturing industry. Being able to view this data in real-time and in a visual way saves time digging through endless spreadsheets and makes productivity savings easier to identify. Accessing and presenting it visually can be a difficult task without the right tools. Many companies accumulate software and entire systems that can help to power and manage individual business processes but don’t communicate with one another.

Capturing data and presenting it in a way that facilitates effective management, rather than overwhelming managers under a tidal wave of it, is essential. If demand forecasting is more visible and accurate, production can be optimised for the real world, rather than informed guesswork. Better visibility improves customer service and support – something that is especially vital in times of uncertainty and supply chain disruption. A customer can be more forgiving if they know the reason for a delay in good time.

An MES solution is the best way for a manufacturer to achieve visual and accessible data. An MES provides one solution for planning and scheduling as well as data collection of employees and machines. Collecting this data enables manufacturers to work in the most efficient way and minimise loss.

Insight on machines and employees can determine:

  • where time savings could be made,
  • where losses are occurring (in terms of output and quality) and
  • how the schedule can be optimised for maximised output. E.g., ensuring the correct machine is running to its optimum capacity based on the jobs that are planned before spending time setting up a second machine.

If there is a clear understanding of job progress, resources capacity and quality output, plans can be improved, downtime can be minimised and production can be increased. Manufacturers can then reduce inventory costs, loss due to quality issues and customers can be provided with a more informed update on the production time and the status of their goods.

That is the objective – and it is realistic. The challenge is: how to get there.

It is worth repeating that manual systems, whether paper-based or digitised on computer-based spreadsheets, are time-consuming, subject to human error and always inaccurate – the data is out of date the moment it is recorded. Automating data collection speeds it up and brings it closer to real-time. Most machines already have data collection points, with PLCs, machine monitoring sensors, even visual Kanban systems.

LYNQ MES is a single, plug-and-play solution that complies with IEC62264 . It can plan, track, automate, analyse and optimise factories to increase efficiency, productivity and profitability. LYNQ automates data collection by connecting to more than 140 industrial PLC/ IO devices. Flexible configuration options are designed to support both process and discrete based manufacturing industries, whether they are operating job shop, batch production or production line environments. The data is presented in an easy-to-read, visual way and the solution is fully integrated with a manufacturer’s ERP/ finance system, providing one solution for the entire manufacturing operation.

LYNQ allows for visually, user-friendly dashboard displayed data, which is extremely useful on the shop floor, for employees and management to track, and in turn, be able to analyse and then optimise production. Having these data insights readily available, saves time searching for accurate information and provides readily available, visual insight into where productivity gains can be made.

Analysing the data allows manufacturers to gain complete visibility of all losses, across the factory and use powerful drilldowns to get to the root cause to apply countermeasures. Loss for each employee and equipment can then be aggregated at factory level and reports can be derived from gained insight.

Analysing data from factory production can:

  • Identify loss
  • Highlight areas for productivity improvements
  • Calculate equipment effectiveness and performance (OLE and OEE)
  • Measure loading, availability, performance and quality, in real-time
  • Measure employee performance
  • Compare planned and actual production schedules to derive trends
  • Gain insight into quality issues and affected output

From this level, optimisation of the production process can be continuously driven. Improvement across the board can be seen with a knock-on effect of the data being read and effectively utilised.

IKI Manufacturing, an aerosol contract manufacturer and LYNQ MES user found two key benefits of the implementation were that smart decisions could be made by capturing their data and being able to analyse it effectively. Through data insights from LYNQ MES, they have been able to focus on their most profitable accounts, reduce time spent on production-heavy, profit-light customers as well as reduce inventory, which saved them a huge amount of capital. Read the full story here.

Being equipped with the right data and being able to make sense of it effectively is a major advancement of modern manufacturing, allowing for real-time insights for improved productivity. It goes without saying that a factory without it is being left behind in the digital era.

Watch a demo here

In the next piece, we will look at how to automate manufacturing: steps to digitalise and drive factory performance to reduce loss

Written by
Nuno Rupino

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