How smart factory technologies drive results and best practices on the shop floor

In one of our previous posts, we guided you on how to turn a vision into actionable goals through digital transformation. Some of the steps toward this transformation focused on defining why digitization matters to your operations in the first place, figuring out your business’ current level of digital maturity and mapping out digital transformation by first establishing lean benchmarks. In this post, we will provide you with deeper insights about the effect of digital transformation on the plant floor while diving into how smart factory technologies can drive results and best practices across your enterprise. 

How to drive results on the plant floor

The interplay between lean and smart factory software is key when it comes to getting ideal results on the plant floor. When the competitive advantages of your business are determined, then the next step is to understand the interactions between your current software and software built specifically for a modern and digitized factory. Understanding the philosophy behind lean manufacturing aids in reducing waste within a system. In turn, your plant and its operators can reach their full potential by meeting benchmarks and exceeding production targets.

The structuring of benchmarking allows you to compare strategies, programs, products and processes. This grants you a better understanding of how your plant floor is performing and what measures it’s taking to achieve performance goals. Establishing the right lean benchmarks and objectives requires use of the right data and information that can be obtainable through smart factory technologies.

Now that we have a better understanding of lean benchmarking and manufacturing, the next viable step is to get a better grip on the smart factory technologies that can digitize enterprise-wide operations and accelerate lean initiatives.

How to find the right smart factory platform

Manufacturing leaders must select the right industrial internet of things (IIoT), Industry 4.0 (i4. 0), big data, industrial connectivity and industrial transformation (IX) technologies to fully digitalize their shop floors. To reach this goal, a smart factory platform must be able to deliver in terms of assets, data, people and processes. A connected operation that is facilitated through smart factory software, for example, can assist key stakeholders in making the best decisions when it comes to lean production.

The right smart factory platform should connect to each and every one of your plant’s machines. It should have the ability to make these connections with existing systems as well in order to not have an infrastructure overhaul that contributes to downtime and significant losses in terms of profits. 

In addition to connecting machines and software to existing systems, the platform should also automate the monitoring of production while visualizing the performance of key assets and people. Meeting these conditions led to better analytics, which drives improved decision-making.

A smart factory connects all the machines and existing systems, automates production monitoring, visualizes the performance of assets and people, creates analytics and drives predictive and smart decision-making.

How a smart factory platform benefits your manufacturing business

In short, a smart factory platform must have the capability to connect the dots and deliver the right information to the right people at the right time. The ideal platform should be easy to adopt and simple for operators to understand. It must also improve the overall flow of data coming from the pulse of machines to everyone on the plant floor. 

Here’s how the right smart factory platform can support your business:

 

  • Data Collection: With reliable data collection capabilities, a smart factory platform helps business leaders make the best decisions. Additionally, standardized and routine data collection can be automated to provide key performance measurements alongside visual controls to pinpoint issues. 
  • Visual Management: Engaging operators on the plant floor by defining targets and standards can further empower them. The easy access to their performance data allows staff to be accountable for their work. Like data collection capabilities, visual management features also allow for controls that staff can see so that issues are not hidden. 
  • Engagement: By driving engagement via measuring effectiveness and reviewing activities, a shop floor is able to champion continuous improvement while maintaining and exceeding throughput and other gains.
  • Improvement: This goes hand-in-hand with employee engagement because information that brings value to an enterprise promotes benchmarking and sharing data. A thorough understanding of these allow employees to quickly identify where resources are required to improve the manufacturing business as a whole. 

Through lean initiatives and understanding what the ideal smart factory platform can provide, manufacturers are one step closer to full digital transformation. To learn more about how you can bring your manufacturing plant to the future, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and browse our other guides.

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