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Case 2 – Production Visibility (Do you have the data?)

In common with a lot of companies, our operations management did not have visibility onto the shop floor in the  facility.  We could not reliably say what amount was being produced at any stage with in the process. It was decided to implement a solution that would enable the operations management to see what was happening on the shop floor.  As we analyzed the requirements, we realized that we had a worse problem than we thought. Not only could we not see what was produced, we could not even get the data to visualize. This is where the corporate vision met the historical production facility.

Some of our counters did not register product going by, flow meters with a low volumes of material going through did not register any activity, and packaging counters would not count if the boxes had no gap between them. Some of, in fact most of, the equipment had no sensors or counters attached to them what so ever.

So as part of the visualization project, we had to first resolve some data collection problems.  We could and did integrate manual data collection into our visualization dash board, and ensured that all new equipment was adequately provided with counters & sensors that could gather the data for our dash board. For the rest it was a slow process of getting the capital budget to retrofit the existing equipment with data collection devices so that they could be integrated into the production dash boards.

As part of this exercise we needed to ensure that all the data that was currently being collected manually could be represented. We went back on to the shop floor and traced & noted where every report was going & what was done with the report. In one case we found the same data was going to two separate departments and identical calculations were performed, and entered into two different reports, and eventually these reports were then compared in a management meeting. This of course was automated to remove the manual calculation being done. A small saving, but everything helps.

 Visualization dash boards are only as good as the data that are available to be interpreted and not all the data that is needed to support the business needs are available. Investment in other areas may be required to fully realize the vision of having being a facility with fully Integrated Product and Operational Management.

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