4 Biggest Benefits of using Visual Manufacturing Software

Visual Manufacturing Software has become one of the most significant tools to leverage in manufacturing today. Effective Visual Manufacturing Software can accelerate growth opportunities and allow sites to identify the current conditions (normal vs abnormal).

In today’s digital manufacturing environment, the ability to quickly, objectively, and at a glance, separate normal from abnormal is essential to manufacturing success. Waste and opportunity lie in every process: the ability to clearly identify waste, data to reduce and eliminate waste, and opportunities for improvement using Visual Manufacturing software can quickly accelerate the rate and ability to realize greater success.

The Digital Factory

The concept of a digital factory and the tools used to create visual manufacturing are not new. During the course of my time spent in manufacturing (decades), I have personally utilized a number of variations to create a digital visual manufacturing environment.

One of the most frequently used methods to capture the current condition and separate normal from abnormal in the past has been as simple as manual tick sheets. These tick sheets were the beginning steps to capture and report information in as close a manner to 'live' as possible. With manually defined escalation points or Living Pareto charts, if you will, the live visual representation at the point of use in manufacturing provided a realistic starting point for execution.

One of the simplest approaches in the past that still holds significant value today is implementing live visual Paretos to reflect scrap and rework collection.

Make It Visual And They Will Drive Improvement

Over the years in manufacturing, I have learned that people truly want to do a good job. Employees and teams want to make a difference. However, in many instances, we do not provide great tools or information regarding the processes that promote and assist employees in making a difference. In many of these instances, simply allowing the process to become visual and objective can be the game-changer.

I have found that when you make the waste, problem, or issue visual, objective, and identifiable at a glance, so that anyone can immediately understand the current conditions, you will more readily promote change. Finger pointing does not endear people to change. Visual Manufacturing Software can allow Teams to grasp the current conditions, quickly determine "Am I winning or losing?," or "Are we better or worse?"

They can then base decisions upon the live results review and understand the game plan to improve these results. They can answer questions like:

  • Is our current plan or method working?
  • Do we need to change our approach in order to achieve better results?

When teams are provided live accurate data, they will react to this information and change their game plan and approach in order to achieve better results. Teams want to make a difference. Give them the tools and information needed in order to achieve greater results!

Visual Factory Software & Tools

As simple or complex as Visual Tools and Visual Manufacturing Software may be today, they are helpful to clearly begin to diagnose troublesome processes and situations. The issue early on with many of these approaches was determining what to do when an anomaly was identified.

  • How do we distinguish normal vs abnormal?
  • Who does what and when?
  • What is our reaction plan to the anomaly?

Many of these approaches are great concepts in theory. However, they have many holes and are highly subjective in terms of direct escalations or reaction plans.

The industry has become much better at identifying issues and clearly separating normal vs abnormal. Many Visual Manufacturing Software systems and tools have become great finders. However, the process does not simply stop at visually identifying abnormal conditions.

More importantly, we must use digital tools to create and promote escalations, notifications, problem-solving, and follow-up measures to be taken.

Making Sense of All The Data

Using L2L's CloudDISPATCH, you can capture great data and information from nearly endless sources during manufacturing processes. (The amount of information and data captured during manufacturing can be extremely large.) These sources vary from manual operator input to PLC and sensor captured data.

Regardless of the source, a key question is whether we're using this data and information to input and help promote a Visual Manufacturing environment? Do we capture data just to capture it, so that we have something to point at to demonstrate that we are performing our due diligence? Or do we capitalize on this powerful information to and share it in a visual and actionable way?

It's your data and you are most likely capturing it. However, are you really taking full advantage of how this data may be utilized to connect complicated processes and share information between processes?

Four Benefits of Using Visual Manufacturing Software

What are some of the benefits I can expect today when utilizing a powerful production-proven Visual Manufacturing Software like CloudDISPATCH?

  1. Visual Management - Tools, Charts, and Graphs
  • Visual Indicators of Normal vs Abnormal
  • Autonomous Follow up - Autonomous triggers creating decision points with continued follow up tasks that are tailored to that specific event.
  • Escalation triggers - Event-specific factors that drive escalation
  • Condition-based escalations
  1. Metrics and Score Cards
  • Dashboards to display and promote progress
  • On-demand, at a glance live Pareto metrics
  • Scorecards - Fluid Visual Tools
  • Real-time trends - are you winning or losing?
  • Multiple level drill-down capabilities: Event, Time, Area, Machine, Response, Results
  1. Problem Solving
  • Problem Solving
  • Promotes Team Problem Solving
  • Closed-loop process
  • Kaizen / Continuous Improvement
  • Identify, Track progress, Schedule, Prioritize
  1. Accountability
  • Complete history and traceability
  • Full changelog history: who, when, why, how, where
  • Individual Accountability within a team environment
  • Assign, track, follow up on action tasks
  • Actionable Data: Immediately available, transparent, accessible across all levels of your organization

Using Visual Systems to Manage Remotely

Visual Manufacturing Software will never replace going to Gemba, (going to where the real work takes place: the shop floor). And understanding the current condition from ground zero can provide great advantages and insight for critical scenarios and situations. However, utilizing fully digital Visual Manufacturing Software offers us opportunities for improvement, and to reduce or eliminate waste entirely.

We have the opportunity to capture, at a glance, a wide variety of live objective information in real-time from manufacturing lines or cells in one fell swoop. Even multiple manufacturing sites and across locations, irrespective of geography. Modern manufacturing absolutely requires this advantage.

Does this sound familiar? "I can't even walk in the building, except maybe once a week, if that. Yet I'm still responsible to make things happen and move product out the door." For many leaders, 2020 has been a seemingly unending series of challenges: working remotely, juggling uncertain supply chains, remaining competitive while still engaging your workforce, and, oh, yeah, striving for continuous improvement while maintaining the bottom line.

Are you ready to eliminate the subjectivity out of your site's daily results and metrics? Are you ready to connect the complicated process to share and gather information? Utilize a production-proven system like L2L, born and bred on the plant floor. Our closed-loop Visual Manufacturing Software provides essential value with significant ROI with minimal resource and financial investment. You can have actionable data and results in less time, measured in a few short weeks. Doesn't that sound better than 2020, part II?

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Kevin Bryan


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