What is Real-Time Visibility?
Real-Time Visibility is data, insight, and live monitoring of equipment or a process as that process takes place, at any time. No delay, no gathering of information. Real-time data solutions automate the process of gathering data manually and delivering it to you to analyze and make quick data-driven decisions. This is basic, you know what real-time data is. You’re here to find out how much of a difference real-time visibility can make for your company.
There’s a lot of value in real-time visibility, much more than just saving a couple of minutes that you would have spent writing down that information. In the following parts of this article, we will further establish- What is real-time visibility? What’s the value of real-time visibility? And how does real-time visibility change the way manufacturers operate?
Real-Time Visibility is a Game-Changer for Manufacturers
You can create value with real-time data in numerous ways, but there’s something that you have to keep in mind and apply. No matter what data you gather, if you aren’t making quick decisions and acting on those decisions, real-time data will do you no good. It sounds obvious when you put it that way, but establishing a proactive data-driven company mindset is absolutely essential. View MES, IIoT, Manufacturing analytics, and other real-time data solutions as an overall strategy, rather than just one project.
With that being said, let’s get into how real-time visibility will add value to your manufacturing company.
Improves Production Efficiency
You’ve heard this before, that IIoT and real-time data will improve efficiency on the plant floor, but how? When you gather data in any way, you can improve production efficiency. First, you gather the data, analyze it, make a decision, carry out that decision, and then hopefully that adjustment actually improved production.
How long would a process similar to this take when manually recording data? Here’s an example- an employee records basic data on paper, and that data gets delivered and analyzed by a decision-maker within 24 hours. Let’s say that the decision-maker made a decision, communicated that decision to the operator, and the adjustment was carried out that same day. Now, you wait at least one more day to get the next set of data to determine whether that was a good adjustment or not.
We’re looking at 3 days here, minimum, and that is with a pretty efficient process for manual data collection.
This process can be expedited, and that is the value in real-time data. This 3-day process could start and finish over the course of a few minutes. Systems equipped with real-time visibility gather, contextualize, and deliver information to everyone in an easy-to-understand way to make quick decisions and keep moving.
The manual process may have worked in the past, but it is completely outdated. This aspect of real-time visibility alone makes it worth the investment. The time savings and quick turnaround for making and seeing results on adjustments can provide a large ROI quickly.
What gets tracked, gets improved. Simple as that. Better tracking and more accurate, consistent data will assist in your lean manufacturing efforts. The ultimate goal in lean manufacturing is to continually improve and create the most highly efficient environment possible. Eliminate waste in all ways- eliminate scrap material, and eliminate wasted/inefficient human motion. By gaining access to extensive data on machines, schedules, and people with a modern MES/real-time data solution your lean efforts will be greatly benefitted.
Big data is deep, detailed sets of data that are so extensive that it is not possible to manually record. Simply, there’s nowhere near enough time for somebody to manually gather and record this amount of information. Big data provides another level of insight into your machine and processes on the plant floor. With data sets numbering into the millions and even billions of rows, you can benefit from real-time data, as well as historic data to pick up on trends and tendencies. With this information, you can be better equipped to prevent unplanned downtime, and optimize your maintenance schedules with predictive maintenance.
Becoming a data-driven manufacturer is essential in modern times. Equipping yourself with a real-time data solution is the best thing you can do to drive this effort. However, keep in mind that data-driven manufacturing is a strategy, not just a physical solution. Let data drive your decisions and take action.
A Centralized Solution
A proper MES/IIoT solution will be a centralized solution. How does this add value? Well, this means that all data is coming from one source and will be available for everyone to consume. No separate silos of data- the sales team receives the same data from the same source as the people working on the plant floor and vice versa. This creates one version of the truth that everyone can benefit from.
How Does Real-Time Visibility Change the Way Manufacturers Operate Daily?
We answered the question, “what is real-time visibility?” and defined the value. Now, I will tell you why real-time visibility completely changes the way manufacturers will operate on a daily basis.
- Your manufacturing process will be different
- The data will be different
- The way in which you gather data will be different
- The metrics you track will be different
- The way you approach a problem will be different
- organization of data, people, and schedules will be different
- Focus and mindset on the plant floor will be adjusted
Instead of just focusing on the literal production, there will be an emphasis on the data and monitoring machines and processes to make quick decisions and adjustments on the plant floor. Manufacturing becomes more than just ensuring that a machine is turned on and running and products are coming out. It becomes a continually improving process with a continuous stream of real-time data that you will need to act on. Acting on this data will create value time and time again.
If you don’t act on the data, it does you no good, you get zero ROI, and you get stuck in the old ways of manufacturing. Don’t position yourself to get left behind and surpassed by the competition.
That is exactly how real-time visibility changes everything. It opens the door to making real improvements on a consistent basis for manufacturers who are willing to put in the effort.
The actual factory will look identical. The process, the information, the data, and the mindset are what will be completely different. That is what Industry 4.0 is, and that is what revolutionizes operations on the plant floor today.