Operations Managers are responsible for the operational performance of food manufacturing businesses. This means that they’re typically over the facilities, manufacturing employees and factory equipment. They may also have IT responsibilities. Senior Level Executives are reading about and becoming increasingly aware of the availability of Industry 4.0 and Smart Factory Analytics technologies and the benefits of having real-time business intelligence at their fingertips. This means that food manufacturing Operations Managers and Operators are increasingly under pressure to deliver on the promise of smart factory technologies.
But for the food manufacturing operations manager themselves, and more importantly, the machine operators that report to them, what would a smart factory dashboard consist of?
Here we take a dive into what operations managers and machine operators typically would get from a smart factory dashboard. From this perspective, you’ll see that the information is highly actionable from an operations management point of view.
Below is a Worximity Tileboard dashboard configured for the typical operator or operations manager.
Smart Factory Analytics Dashboard for Operations Management and Machine Operators
It's good to remember that the Worximity solution is an IIoT platform, meaning that it is pulling information real-time from food processing machinery. In some cases, such as certain brands of checkweighers, it’s pulling right from the checkweigher API itself.
The Worximity Tileboard is eminently flexible so that each operator or manager can have their own configuration depending upon their particular situation, but this example is typical of what’s possible.
Reducing Downtime with a Smart Factory Analytics Dashboard
Downtime is a vital metric for operators to monitor. Downtime can do serious damage to a company’s profit margins, and many food production companies already operate on a thin profit margin. To reduce downtime events and their length, a primary goal set by operations should be to have instantaneous notifications of downtime so that action teams, whether they be operators or maintenance personnel, can respond quickly and get things back up and running. Equally important to operations is the ability to access analytics data that has been accumulating directly from machinery over time. This is what enables continuous improvement and process optimization in order to see repeated downtime root causes and begin to make structural changes to reduce or eliminate it altogether.
In the case of this dashboard, the operations manager or operator can instantly see a stopwatch of a current downtime incident (if there is one) so that they can manage response times to individual events. They can also see if there were any unjustified or planned downtimes during this shift. This dashboard also provides a measurement over time of downtime causes. This enables operations to prioritize investments in troubleshooting resources, maintenance personnel, scheduling line workers or even investing in machinery upgrades or new machinery.
Availability is related to downtime and is a contributor to OEE, or Overall Equipment Effectiveness. Equipment may be unavailable due to an unplanned outage (downtime), for scheduled maintenance or for some other planned activities such as loading more material prior to running again. In this case, operations can assess if machinery is 100% available at the moment, even if there’s no unplanned downtime. Lower than desired availability may mean that equipment startup procedures need to be optimized, that parallel equipment may need to be added or that newer machinery that requires less planned maintenance may be justifiable from an ROI perspective.
Production levels and production rate is another key area that operations pays attention to. Productivity drives profitability and meeting production goals is essential to maintaining a profitable business. Real time production level analytics, as well as trusted production level data over time support both near term management decisions for allocating workers across lines and activities and longer term initiatives such as lean manufacturing. Knowing that a change has been made through a lean manufacturing implementation and having accurate real-time information enables operations to determine if the change was indeed a positive one.
Food manufacturing operations also are finding that recruiting and retention is becoming more challenging with time. Not only do real-time smart factory dashboards enable them to increase productivity with minimum resources, it’s also the key to getting employee engagement across the business to improve operations. Employees can be a company’s most valuable resource, as they are the individuals who drive production and dictate productivity, and they are the ones on the factory floor every day who see how the machinery is operating and where things can be improved.
No matter the size of the company, it is vital that operations managers and operators keep a channel of communication open with employees, and take their input into consideration when making changes in the company. Their input is valuable, and if they see changes being made based on their input, employees will feel a sense of value knowing that their voices are being heard, increasing employee morale and potentially leading to improved productivity.
Having everyone responding to the same data can be trust-building for groups of employees such as operators, as it moves decisions-making away from best-guess or opinion, to being more fact-based.
Especially in food manufacturing where profit margins are small, any improvement that can be made that will produce more efficiency or less waste is an improvement that can’t be overlooked.
Operations Managers and Operators find that not only do their jobs become easier and more rewarding having accurate and actionable information at their fingertips, but that they are able to ‘manage upward’ by giving access to more senior level executives of how the operation overall is performing, what performance gaps and opportunities exist and what investments or resources will be required to close the gaps and take advantage of opportunities.
When senior level executives are actively involved with their company and its operation, they are in a far better position to make decisions that are best for the company. To see what an operations manager’s boss’s dashboard might look like, you can go here!
With real time operations smart factory analytics at your fingertips, you'll be able to see the impact of the connected worker on food manufacturing.
Want to see what your own Operations Dashboard would look like? Schedule a demo today!