How Production Monitoring System (PMS) can help a printer?
Getting real-time data on the machine can be a great help in day to day running as well as planning the operations of a printing business. A Production Monitoring System (PMS) can keep the operators or owners of the business updated around the clock on various vital details about the machine like, when did the machine start in the morning; when did it stop before shift closing time; whether the machine is presently running; whether it is not running; what is the current production status; is the machine behind schedule for the day and many more things. The system can be programmed to send messages, say, if the machine is down for more than a specified time. Additionally, it can evaluate the machine operators to know how they compare to their peers. As a result, it can reduce product cost by decreasing inefficiency in the manufacturing process and deliver numerous other benefits that we would discuss here.
Typically, production tracking systems are documented and displayed on Excel sheets, visual whiteboards, or on paper documents. Data is manually recorded at each printing unit and reported back to a centralized location for visibility. It’s like a report card of how efficiently your plant is running and what needs improvement. Data from shop floors tell a story of how well the plant is performing and what needs to be done to get to the finish line.
Now, the concept of a manual production tracking system may still be effective, but how that production tracking is executed may not be so. Today’s dynamic shop floors need dynamic production tracking systems, and therefore, we must get to the root of why production tracking matters and re-evaluate how data is collected. Once again, let us go back to the very basics.
Why do you track your production? And why should manufacturers care?
First, let’s think about what kinds of information are collected during production tracking. Here are some commonly recorded metrics on the shop floor:
- Late start and early stopping of machines
- Scheduled/Target Units for a part/shift
- Actual Units produced for a part/shift
- The difference between scheduled units and actual units
- Number of downtimes and reasons for downtimes
- The duration of downtimes…. etc.
These metrics can be measured against each other by day, week, months, and years to understand what parts were under / overproduced, what shifts were inefficient, and where and when downtimes occurred. These comparisons help companies allocate and reallocate resources and time, so they can maximize output and minimize downtime. So in essence, production tracking exists to help manufacturers understand:
- How on track they are to meeting the demands of their customers and their targets
- How they can improve their processes during future production
- And what needs attention right now!
Now that we have outlined why production tracking matters, let’s do a deep dive on what qualities make a production data valuable. Since production tracking serves both as a manufacturing checkpoint and a system for measuring inefficiencies, what determines a good tracking system is how accurately the data can inform the decision-making processes.
The Data Collection
Data collection should not eat into your production hours, nor require constant discipline. The system should be as easy enough for everyone to follow, and it should be integrated into the production process itself, not laid on top of it. It should never be an administrative burden on your team. Therefore, good data collection systems will require minimal overheads — collecting data, writing it down, compiling data, and putting it up on a dashboard. This process should not take your workers away from focusing on actual production goals.
Production Data should be available in Real-Time
When problems occur on the shop floor, they happen in real-time. It is crucial that shop floor workers know what’s happening in their plant at the time of production, not hours or days later. With real-time data, workers can minimize the gap between when errors occur and when issues are addressed. The ultimate goal of a lean shop floor is to close this gap so that time and resources can be allocated for better use.
Production Data should be consistent
Accurate data is built on consistency. Therefore, good data must be recorded at a steady interval under uniform conditions, at a set time using the same instruments and standards.
Production Tracking System should be Flexible
An efficient production tracking system will allow manufacturers to easily adjust what data is collected and when. Since production tracking data is used by manufacturers to make changes to their existing processes, the tracking system itself must be flexible and adaptable enough to support that iteration process. Therefore, a good production tracking system will fit the needs of a company as it grows. The system should be customisable, if needed.
Digital Production Tracking — A New take on the Production Board
You want your shop floor workers to focus 99% of their time on the production process itself, not on data collection. Therefore, the manual nature of a physical management board can introduce variability, limit data resolution, and leave ‘real-time’ off the table. The easiest path to collecting consistent, real-time data is through digital production tracking. By recording data at its source, you are instantly granting everyone access to actionable and accurate insights on the shop floor. And the more transparent your data gets, the quicker your shop floor workers can generate action plans based on those data points.
There are several ways you can gain visibility into the shop floor and collect meaningful data in real-time. Shop floor Visibility with Digital Production Tracking Production tracking should be as dynamic as the functions on your shop floor. You should not only track your raw materials, assets, tools, and machines, but also your teams’ work capacity and efficiency. A digital production tracking system can give you the kind of visibility that physical daily management boards simply cannot.
Monitoring Assets and Machines
With digital production tracking, you can capture and analyze the health of your assets and machines and make targeted, real-time improvements. Having an objective understanding of uptime, downtime, and idling can shed light on a host of other issues that are happening on the shop floor. Just ask yourself and your team: How are uptime and downtime measured on your shop floor? How many minutes a day does each of your machines spend idling? And why? With machine monitoring, you can exactly record how long each machine spends in each state, and operators can annotate downtime with reason codes, documenting the root cause at its source.
Therefore, if a machine is idle or down, you can attribute the correct cause and make a prompt diagnosis. Unlike daily management boards, the digital system allows shop floors to deliver immediate feedback. Using the data collected from your machine monitoring system, shop floors can help balance lines, track work-in-progress, and plan production, laying a foundation for calculating essential machine information like availability, utilization, and OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness), among many others.
Tracking Production as You Move Through the Workflow
Tracking the production progress where work is done eliminates production tracking overheads. Workers will no longer have to take individual steps to track and monitor production as they did with daily management boards like Collecting data → Writing it down on a piece of paper → Compiling the collected data → Walk over to the daily management board (SQDIP Board) → Physically and then maybe writing it all on board for all to see. Instead, a digital production tracking system will seamlessly integrate these processes into the production process itself.
Benefits of Digital Production Tracking
The benefits of using a digital production tracking system come in two forms — during production and after. During Production actionable, real-time data from production tracking can help manufacturers make necessary adjustments and improvements to the production process as the line is operating. The availability of data analytics helps shop floor workers to quickly make confident decisions, reducing downtime and preventing errors from moving downstream. The real-time data can also show the shop floor’s progress towards meeting daily production goals, allowing operators to get back on track if production starts to fall behind. And when defects occur, workers can immediately notify their operators using the defect reporting system built into digital apps, preventing waste from amounting further down the production line.
Production tracking data can also benefit long term production goals. By collecting accurate accounts of why anomalies or defects occurred, operators can make long-term decisions on how to entirely prevent those issues from recurring. Since defect data is sourced at its root cause, operators can spend less time on hypothesizing and more time on solution building. Digital production tracking makes proactive/predictive maintenance and problem-solving easy.
What Digital Production Tracking Can Mean For Your Shop Floor
Production tracking is an important part of industrial operations. However, when done manually, it can be a huge headache. With a digital production tracking system, monitoring the progress of work and identifying opportunities for improvement can be a seamless part of your operations.
How does one go about it?
Well, from a printing press owners perspective, today, most of the modern machines are equipped with (or have an option to equip it with) one of the other Production Monitoring System like Prinect Production from Heidelberg, KP-Connect from Komori, LogoTronic on Koenig & Bauer, Printnetwork from Manroland but then, what happens to the machines which are not new, and what about the possibilities of installing such a system on die cutting and other post press units and if you look at it, press owners today feel more stressed getting productivity for post press than the press itself. More so, when they have multi location units to manage.
CountWONDER provides a solution
Unico Tech Solution LLP, a Noida based startup company under the Make in India initiative of the government of India is offering a product named CountWONDER (A solution from Pentaforce) to the Indian printing and packaging fraternity for implementation of PMS in their units – Independent of make or brand of the machine the company owns; and irrespective of the number of locations their production units are based. It may be noted that the worldwide average of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is just about 27% with 36% going into the mechanical technical losses and the balance 37% ascribed to the people & Process. This window is exactly where the printing companies can work upon increase their efficiencies. This 37% wide window can effectively be plugged with available proven technology to see the bottom-line of the printing press improve dramatically.
With successful installation at various printing companies across the country, the company is well equipped to provide consultation and solution as per individual printer requirement. In addition, you can schedule to have live demo at your shopfloor by contacting at: [email protected] or visit www.unicotechsolution.com for more information.