CEO of Apikoan all-round software engineering and digital transformation consultancy that digitizes businesses around the world.
While smart manufacturing focuses on digitally transforming manufacturing operations to create new and better ways of doing business, data is also critical. Unlocking new possibilities, reducing costs and creating more informed decision-making processes is impossible without an in-depth understanding of current processes.
Data analytics and automation technologies help companies scale their operations by collecting traceable information from various sources about everything that happens within the production organization. Ensuring that the data flow is seamless and that key metrics can be tracked and measured can prove to be of great business value.
The challenge of data silos
Each department in an organization typically collects data relevant to their main responsibilities, with specific objectives in mind to produce results necessary for that department’s function. This can create a data silo that, combined with decoupling and lack of insights between departments, can negatively impact production efficiency.
Siled data mainly happens because different departments use different tools that don’t communicate well with each other. This kind of separated information can cause several major problems:
• Lack of data visibility. Data silos hinder organizations from gaining real-time insight into their production processes. This prevents organizations from reacting quickly to inefficiencies so they can streamline their operations.
• Poor cooperation. Employees have a narrow view of the overall business goals and stick to their own data rather than derive more value from information already collected by other departments.
• Bad decision making. With inaccurate and incomplete data, guesswork and errors thrive. Decision makers need to be much better equipped to maximize value determination from the manufacturing process.
Modern organizations that have recognized this damage are pursuing digital transformation of their processes, striving to make information easily accessible and analyzed across the enterprise. The key to overcoming silos is building a connected digital workspace that enables the integration of data across multiple machines, systems and teams. Connecting data can be a great opportunity for manufacturers to gain valuable insights from all of their collected information, enabling them to make better decisions about various aspects of manufacturing operations, from machine maintenance to supply chain management.
Making production analysis smart with KPIs
Manufacturers looking for better ways to network store floors, strengthen supply chains, and collect data for strategic evaluation and planning will stay ahead of those who aren’t. The right digital analytics and automation tools can provide what they need to gain a clear overview of processes and unlock new growth opportunities. These tools include collecting data from various sources; role-based, real-time insights via dashboards; and the calculations of key performance indicators (KPIs) for production.
The performance and health of your business and key objectives are best managed with KPIs. By clearly defining and tracking KPIs in a system, organizations can assess their overall performance and the efficiency of individual departments, make adjustments and achieve results faster.
Different areas of your manufacturing business, such as manufacturing, sales, inventory, logistics, and more, are healthiest when everyone is aligned with KPIs. They are essential to meeting your company’s daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. With KPI management tools, you automatically get a detailed view of data from different workflows and meet the following objectives.
• Track key employee efficiencies and evaluate their performance.
• Monitor the health of your company in terms of revenue, processes and customers.
• Identify gaps in efforts and discover patterns to optimize business strategies.
• Visualize data and improve reporting on areas such as production capacities, asset turnover and production stoppages.
Using KPI management software
KPI management software is a total solution for managers that brings together all data from machines, sensors and employees and enables real-time monitoring of productivity levels. A production KPI dashboard allows organizations to visualize data and key metrics through graphs and charts instead of conventional spreadsheets.
When planning for a KPI management solution, make sure that there is a clearly defined goal behind each KPI. Know exactly what you are trying to achieve and when. The goal should be something specific that can be measured in numbers. Commonly used production metrics include throughput, cycle time, capacity utilization, overall operating efficiency, equipment effectiveness, machine downtime, etc.
While there are many out-of-the-box KPI management tools available, not all of them may be right for your business. While out-of-the-box solutions can save you some time to launch, they often fail to accurately meet business needs. On the other hand, custom solutions can be adapted to meet your exact requirements. You can build unique KPI management software and tailor the architecture and features to your business goals to cover those areas that need automation.
Bringing it all together
While optimizing individual machines and lines helps to achieve better results, it is not enough to succeed and maximize efficiency at the company level. For the overall digital transformation of your business processes, you need to automate several areas such as planning, finance, operational performance and logistics to run like a well-oiled machine.
Manufacturing KPI management tools help you achieve that by creating a place where all collected data can be measured. By integrating data from various sources, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) or manufacturing execution systems (MES) into a cloud repository, you can track the performance of not only a single factor, but also a combination of them. This allows you to see the effects these factors together have on your business.
Ensuring that data is interconnected between different production departments and tools should be the number one priority of any company looking to increase its agility. By removing silos and streamlining KPI tracking, you can get the most out of your production data, with increased productivity closely.