One of the top challenges managers face is understanding what’s going on in real-time in their business, and having full visibility and control over it all.
For manufacturers, this is extremely difficult since many shop floors are either dominated by pen-and-paper methodologies for everything from job order to logging maintenance issues etc, or have multiple solutions in place for maintenance, quality control, production monitoring, and so on, leading to a non-coherent view of the shop-floor’s operations.
Even shop floors that have technological solutions to digitize their operations do not have an integrated view of their shop-floor. The result is highly fragmented information that isn’t always shared with the right people, certainly not at the right time, and ends up creating bottlenecks that harm the ability of manufacturers to make real-time critical decisions.
To reduce the impact of informational silos and bring together their operations, manufacturers must adopt industry 4.0 best practices and improve shop-floor visibility, transparency, and communication.
The Evolution of Information Silos in Manufacturing
Manufacturing plants are structured in a way that facilitates operations, however, this structure breeds information silos; Different departments, teams, and production lines often operate independently and rely on different systems due to their differing needs, resulting in fragmented views of data.
Because of the presence of information silos and the lack of visibility, it is extremely difficult for managers to understand what is going on in their shop-floor. This is specifically problematic when time-sensitive issues occur, or events that can impact the entire shift. Without the ability to identify such events immediately, managers cannot react quickly, harming overall productivity and efficiency.
Lack of visibility is also a key contributor to collaboration issues within manufacturing plants. As the different departments, teams, and individuals remain focused on their own tasks and only look at their own data, they do not see the bigger picture or the ripple effect certain events have. The result is a continual cycle where manufacturers lack visibility, and because of that collaboration suffers, leading to even more silos, and so on.
Creating a Connected Shop Floor
For managers to optimize operations, improve efficiency and break down silos, they need full visibility into the state of their operations, and this begins with the ability to connect the shop-floor.
When all of a shop-floors devices and solutions are connected, managers can see and act on data with ease. This reduces the time it takes to respond to events, increasing overall productivity and bringing the different stakeholders together towards a common goal.
Off-the-shelf Real-time Operational Intelligence (RtOI) solutions provide that solution by enabling manufacturers to connect their machines, peripheral systems, environmental sensors, information systems, and even human experts, creating a real-time smart manufacturing shop-floor. RtOI solutions aggregate data continually and in real-time, and analyze it using historical shop-floor data. This enables the solutions to provide accurate insight that utilizes all available data, connecting entire shop-floors and creating true visibility.
When the different shop-floor solutions and devices are connected, manufacturing managers are able to access real-time accurate information about the state of their shop-floor at micro and macro levels. This enables them to identify when and where resources are needed, as well as provides them with better insights into the routine operations and overall shop-floor efficiency.
Digitalization solutions that grant managers the ability to react to events remotely and implement automated work processes embody industry 4.0 best practices.
How Connectivity Enables Collaboration
In addition to seeing the state of their operations and triggering events in motion, connected shop-floors and digital visibility breeds collaboration. This is one of the most important things to focus on when trying to break down information silos within a plant.
For different stakeholders to work towards a common goal, they must all have access to the data they need, in the format they need it, when they need it. For this to happen, data aggregated must be analyzed and redistributed to each relevant stakeholder via dedicated persona-based applications. Such solutions aggregate data from all sources but present the relevant information for each stakeholder. This way, the entire shop-floor is using the same data, however, this does not create a digital overload for the individual stakeholders.
Once a shop floor is connected and the different stakeholders have access to all the information they need, manufacturers need to take their digitalization efforts further and focus on creating transparency within the shop floor by adding real-time analysis of their data. This will enable them to identify events and issues in real-time that require their attention, shortening response time.
Powerful digitalization solutions that improve shop-floor transparency aid in capturing knowledge which is a significant part of information silos within manufacturing plants. Today, much of the information and communication that takes place within a manufacturing plant is lost whether due to the siloed format of information, the lack of single source of truth, or the fact that different stakeholders communicate via external applications that take the knowledge outside the production context.
When organizations integrate solutions that change this, all information is tagged and saved, so it can be stored for future reference within the production context, further facilitating transparency and breaking down information silos.
Breaking Information Silos with the Matics RtOI solution
The Matics non-disruptive Real-time Operational Intelligence (RtOI) solution grants visibility, improves communication, and enables true shop-floor transparency, breaking down information silos and yielding healthier more efficient operations.
This transparency and ability to share information throughout the organization with the right people at the right time is essential to adopting digital transformation and moving forward into the age of Industry 4.0 and is precisely what Matics does.
Book a demo to see how Matics can change the way you collect data today.