/ / Does Your Production Monitoring Require Operator Input?

Does Your Production Monitoring Require Operator Input?

If you answered “yes,” you’re working with the wrong vendor!

Machine operators have a lot of responsibilities—from setting-up equipment and loading materials, to operating machinery and optimizing efficiency, all the way to maintaining machines and performing quality checks. What shouldn’t make this list is entering data into a console or tablet for production monitoring.

First generation production monitoring software requires machine operators to input data that ranges from the reasons a machine is idle or down, predicted cycle times, parts goals, utilization goals, or any information needed by these first-gen systems to try to interpret what’s happening on your production floor as jobs are being run. 

Let’s be clear—this isn’t because operator data is required to paint a useful picture of your production. It’s because these solutions stopped innovating at this point in the production monitoring process and want to push the burden of making sense of the data onto you.

But when your machine operators are working to produce parts on time, adding one more task for them to accomplish is a recipe for disaster because of the following reasons:

  • Operator Distraction: Operator focus is shifted from producing parts to entering information into a tablet or console. Not only can this lead to rushed data entry that may introduce errors, but may also create challenges in operating the machine. As one of our customers stated: “I want my operators running machines, not tablets.”

  • Operators Game the System: Operators quickly learn how to “game the system.” Parts goals, cycle times, and machine utilization targets are manipulated so shift data looks good, but doesn’t reflect what your machines are really capable of producing.

  • The Novelty Wears Off: Interest in the production monitoring software degrades over time. At first, the novelty and promise of better data gets people excited, but once the initial excitement wears off, entering data becomes an unwanted chore.

  • Lost Opportunities: Garbage In/Garbage Out is especially true when it comes to digital transformation. Errors in data entry—either accidental or intentional—translate to job costing based on misinformation and new capital expenditures based on guesswork in the long term.

  • “It’s So 90s”: Operator input is required for systems that can’t automate the insights for you. Either these companies didn’t understand where the industry was going, or they didn’t have the data science expertise to get the job done. Either way, you’re expected to do the work and still get worse results.

Production supervisors and the executive suite are well aware of the limitations of first-gen production monitoring and are looking for solutions that take the burden of data entry off of machine operators while providing meaningful insights throughout the course of the day. And, they understand that one of the best ways to attract and retain young employees is advanced technology, not dated software that hasn’t kept up with the times.

When Datanomix was founded, we spent 100s of hours with dozens of manufacturers to understand the challenges they had around production data. As we developed the product, our first priority was a system that used advanced analytics and machine learning to analyze CNC machine data directly without any operator input

In reality, all of the information you need to fully understand production is available from the machine data. By analyzing the data coming directly from the machine as parts are being produced, Datanomix gives you the most accurate picture of what’s happening on your factory floor right now and visualizes this information so your entire team is on the same page.

Datanomix allows operators to focus on the parts being made, and to understand the status of every job they are monitoring. This allows them to move to jobs that need attention, helping to avoid issues and delays that cause production to miss targets. And since Datanomix saves and analyzes all of the information collected over time, management understands long-term trends that affect overall factory performance through a host of pre-built reports and dashboards, such as TV Mode, the morning Coffee Cup report, and the fan-favorite Quote Calibration report.

Datanomix continues to work with our customers to ensure they get the information they need to improve performance and profitability, and to continually evolve the Datanomix platform (see our Caron Engineering partnership announcement). What we don’t do is make your operators work to enter data, letting them focus on the tasks at hand—building quality parts on time and in budget. 

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