Real-time operational intelligence (RtOI) can help your business in multiple ways. Starting from always having on-hand information about the state of your factory to the strategic planning of workflow for months to come.
Manufacturers have to manage a large volume of time-sensitive and critical issues every day, meeting production targets and answering consumer demands in the interim. To achieve this unenviable task, they usually have to use multiple, typically diverse sources of data gathering methods. In many cases, this is a mix of traditional MES software and human input.
The Human Factor
The first base of production data gathering has historically been good old-fashioned human input. On the one hand, human operators are essential even in the most high-tech factory to ensure proper operation; on the other, they bring their own issues to the table. Everyone gets tired, makes mistakes, like typos or glossing over some key data points. Not to mention limited availability, or the not insignificant facts of life such as breaks and salaries. One just has to think about the time they must spend tracking down data or talking with colleagues when an issue arises to make them accept that responsiveness and communication between teams have a hard speed cap.
Ever since the dawn of the internet age and personal computers, manufacturing software has been an integral part of production at many factories.
MES systems are used to gain high-level insights about the process change and are very good at collecting historical data. Some examples are statistics for quality control or overall machine output. They present a prominent and much-needed upgrade over human input. However, they have several key drawbacks when compared to modern RtOI solutions.
Not all of them have any real-time features, as they collect data at specific intervals. They are slower, less accurate, and not as informative while still requiring a significant amount of human input. High-level information gathering is something they do very well, but there is hardly any improvement throughout their use. Again, unlike modern AI-based digitization technology, that can grow in its uses and the diversity of data they gather.
Without actual moment-to-moment real-time data, every decision you make has to be based on outdated information. This obviously isn’t an ideal situation, as you cannot be sure how well your facility is performing right when you need to. This lack of clarity means that something as basic as maintenance scheduling or a simple shift change can be a significant factor and cause a production loss. And you’ll be none the wiser.
In every business, especially in manufacturing, optimization is key to more revenue. Chasing the very enticing yet always unreachable 100% uptime is the dream, but gradually closing on it is the actual job.
The summed-up impact of small daily improvements of operations enabled by real-time operational insight can easily gain a disproportionate significance compared to their cost. Especially in the long run.
Reacting to short-term market demands, streamlining shift changes, scheduling production… Just some of the more important parts of daily factory life on-hand RtOi helps with. But let’s not forget historical analytics.
Having all the information on hand, all the time, in a sharp, easy-to-understand way is obviously helpful with momentary tactical decisions, but modern real-time data gathering helps you on a more strategic level as well. After implementation of the Haris AI, for example, you soon start to receive daily reports, drill down, trend, and comparative analytics. These reports will help you in the long term, as they will show you the clear link between optimization efforts and results.