How software solutions are enabling manufacturers to monitor production without being rooted to the production floor.
By Grégory Chauvet, General Manager, JPB Système
Despite the turmoil that industry has had to endure over the last two years, we do now generally appear to be turning a corner on COVID-19. As swift and effective as vaccination programs have been in confronting the virus itself, the COVID-19 experience has brought with it some fundamental changes to the way businesses operate.
For one, it inflicted a revised model of working on us. Indeed, from the very outset, companies, including my own, were forced to have teams operate remotely as lockdowns were thrust upon the world. For some businesses this perhaps presented the perfect opportunity to ‘trial’ new ways of working that they may have been considering. In any case, it has brought forth an office/home hybrid model that is now commonplace across many organisations, regardless of the industry in which they operate.
The truth is that such new approaches to working were already becoming the norm; COVID merely forced the model on the world and accentuated its uptake. We were already living in a world where more and more business operations were being conducted on the move, away from the office or production facility, way before COVID hit us.
That world, as it was prior to early 2019, and as it is now, is one in which there is an ever-increasing expectation of instant access to information – be it from a work perspective, or indeed in our personal lives. The plethora of news and information apps loaded on our smartphones give us instant access to the world, and furthermore, we have grown to expect that information within seconds and in just a few clicks.
So, given this change to working models, and the reliance on information at our fingertips, there is a growing need for business owners and manufacturing directors to be able to stay abreast of production operations without being rooted to the production floor.
The Shazam for Industry
This is an added challenge for those solution providers who are first simply seeking to facilitate production and improve efficiencies. The need to achieve this and also provide increased flexibility for manufacturers, was a key criterion in the development of our own KeyProd production monitoring platform. Designed specifically for industrial environments, this cloud-based solution provides a consolidated real-time vision of production to analyse quality and performance indicators such as overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).
Importantly, in just one click on their smartphone, manufacturers have complete visibility and control of their factory floor performance – whether they’re in the factory, on the road or at home. In doing so, they can assess the different causes of machine downtime, take steps to correct and anticipate the various problem areas and reduce future stoppages.
As the general manager of an Industry 4.0 enabled manufacturing company, I know the importance of maintaining efficient and profitable production. Like many, I also value the increased versatility that technology can deliver when it comes to how we live and work. If a result of the COVID experience is an increase in the expectation and desire to have more flexibility within our lives, while still being able to work effectively, then it is incumbent upon solution providers like ours to continue to pioneer technologies that enable us all to strike that perfect balance.