Future manufacturing systems need to be more flexible, to embrace tougher and constantly changing market demands. They need to refine plant data to real-time information for decision making, to facilitate competitiveness through informed and timely decisions (Theorin et al., ‘An Event-Driven Manufacturing Information System Architecture’).
With the number of Australian manufacturers falling from 96,000 to 84,000 over 10 years, companies have been warned to either innovate or face potential collapse.
Want to survive this decline? Look to companies like Asahi Beverages, Dulux Group and Coca-Cola Amatil as an example of how to incorporate real-time technology and a data driven approach into your production processes.
Each of these companies, all using Operations Feedback Systems (OFS) as an Industry 4.0 software solution, have integrated their manufacturing data, feedback and workflows into an annotated event thread, enabling them to achieve sustained operational improvement.
These companies are amongst thousands of other Australian manufacturers who have realised the importance of monitoring their production processes with IIoT tools.
The Importance of Making Timely Decisions
Delays in manufacturing lead to inefficiencies and product failures, ranging from missed delivery windows to spoiled goods. In fact, Food Technology and Manufacturing Australia found that, on average, production plants waste up to 40% of their capacity through stops, speed losses, interruptions and defects.
What does this amount to? According to Frain Industries, just 10 minutes of downtime each day on a typical food packaging line can result in as much as $87,500 a year in lost profit.
Using Software to Increase Quality
OFS founder, Shoni Even-Chaim, realised it wasn’t enough to simply provide manufacturers with raw data on their operational performance, it needed to be actionable and driven by human engagement.
“When implementing OFS-Alerts we immediately noticed a significant reduction in defects and an increase in operator engagement. People want to improve - they just need the right tools and the right prompts.”
OFS-Alerts is a module in the OFS software suite, which enables manufacturers to send alerts to any web-enabled or portable devices (i.e. wearables, mobiles, tablets, etc.) within the organisation. OFS-Alerts are triggered by real-time events which occur on the production floor (i.e. equipment breakdowns, failed quality checks, etc.), allowing the relevant people to be notified at the right time.
This is beneficial to manufacturers for a variety of reasons.
1. Controlling machine-level compliance: Real-time alerts have become increasingly important in highly regulated manufacturing industries, such as pharmaceutical, biochemical and chemical production. Alerts provide maintenance with notifications that enable them to respond quickly to issues on the production floor, reducing downtime associated with faulty machinery.
2. Timely call to action: Alerts can use real-time machine data to create a timely call to action for manufacturing staff. For example, alerts can provide logistics with updates on the status of the production of orders, so transportation is ready upon order completion.
3. Problem escalation: If problems on the production floor have not been resolved or actioned, alerts can be escalated. For example, if an electronic quality form has not been filled on time, an alert will be sent to the supervisor on duty, if that supervisor does not action this missed form, then the QA manager will receive a notification. Escalation drives an increase in operational performance by significantly reducing staff response times and increasing reactivity.
Where to now?
Now, more than ever, manufacturers need to innovative in order to remain competitive. By harnessing the power of real-time data, manufacturers can increase their efficiency, improve their equipment performance and engage their staff; fundamentally transforming their business operations.