It’s no wonder people like you are researching ways to reduce downtime. A 2016 ITIC survey found 98% of organizations said a single hour of downtime cost over $100,000. 81% of respondents said an hour of downtime cost their organization over $300,000!
Remote monitoring, remote diagnostics, and predictive analytics are helping organizations reduce downtime. They’re transforming the way companies manage and service their manufacturing operations. As Gary Wollenhaupt calls out in his article about how IoT Slashes Downtime with Predictive Maintenance; manufacturing machinery and other assets can now be connected to the industrial internet of things. Predictive maintenance will begin to replace scheduled maintenance based on mileage, time, usage, or other predictive measures.
We now have the ability to digitally peer into the inner workings of an asset to understand performance, tolerance, temperature, or any number of other factors that can be measured using sensors and device networks. When harnessed, this data is the is the answer to the question being asked by many organizations – “How do I reduce downtime and increase productivity?”
There are many tools on the market to collect the data streaming from sensors and turn it into useful information. We recommend PTC’s suite of industrial connectivity / Industrie 4.0 solutions. We’re not alone. Forrester Researched named PTC and IoT Software Platform Leader and PTC’s ThingWorx was named a leader in “IDC MarketScape: Worldwide IoT Platforms (Software Vendors) 2017 Vendor Assessment.” PTC’s integrated solution suite includes ThingWorx, Vuforia, Kepware, and others.
Our team of solution architects and technical experts can help define and implement the solution(s) you need. We want to help you begin remotely monitoring your assets, whether manufacturing or remotely deployed (products), and leverage predictive analytics to reduce downtime and save money. It may involve a custom solution set, or it could simply be PTC’s eacy-to-deply Manufacturing Apps.
EAC is here to take on as much or as little of your project as necessary. We can simply provide the software for your own team to implement. Or we can manage the entire process from installation, to implementation, to integration and front-end development.
Please contact us. We want to help you leverage technology to reduce downtime and improve your bottom line.
Here is a better description of the solutions mentioned above:
The ThingWorx platform includes compatible modules that deliver the functionality, flexibility, and agility enterprises need to implement industrial IoT apps and AR Experiences. This includes industrial connectivity, analytics, and application enablement. ThingWorx is unrivaled in its ability to help companies quickly connect data streams and publish dashboards or mashups.
Kepware is a single solution for collecting, aggregating, and providing secure access to industrial operations data. The ThingWorx Native Interface integrates the Kepware KEPServerEX with ThingWorx easily and securely. This integration lets organizations take data streams from almost any manufacturing asset and present it in a useable format. The Kepware family also offers a predictive analytics engine in addition to other Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Data Tunneling solutions.
Vuforia is PTC’s solution for creating rich augmented reality experiences for applications such as work instructions, user training / manuals, asset monitoring, and service instructions. It lets users leverage the richness of 3D and insights from IoT to deliver compelling augmented reality experiences the help improve efficiencies, build better products and enable safer, more productive workers.
Managing a new enterprise system can be a daunting task. It can test your staff’s knowledge bases and affect the top and bottom line of your business. That being said, many companies have invested in some sort of PLM or PDM tool (learn more about what ERP, MRP, PLM, and PDM are in this post). This post is for everyone that has invested in a PLM/PDM tool and wants to make sure they’re getting the most out of the investment.
Here are five signs it is time to invest in PLM consulting.
1. You use your PLM /PDM system solely for data management
Many people purchase PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) systems and struggle to use them to their full potential.
They relegate these amazing systems to simple file vaults.
But, they paid for so much more.
If you’re implementing a PLM tool and use it as a data vault, you’ve essentially taken on 100% of the investment to recognize 20% of the benefit.
Without full understanding and utilization of your PLM system, you’re missing the opportunity to capture the main benefits of these investments.
When fully implemented and adopted, these systems integrate people, data, processes and much more.
2. You don’t fully understand your PLM system
I hope none of you that relate to this point think I’m calling you dumb.
PLM is just…a lot.
A good analogy is a car.
We all understand the basics; four wheels, seats, steering wheel, engine.
It is obvious why I want a car, the benefits are clear to me.
That doesn’t mean I know how to troubleshoot, install, and maintain an ignition system.
It is not uncommon to have the wrong idea of PLM system complexity.
They do a lot: data management, process management, lifecycle change, and much more.
This could be why 70 percent of PLM investments are failing to meet manager expectations.
When PLM systems are implemented correctly, they allow your company to further maximize productivity.
3. You Find Yourself Re-Inventing the Wheel
Product lifecycle management solutions are enterprise level systems.
When you attempt to utilize optional configurations, they become complex quickly.
Due to this, many companies find themselves reinventing the wheel around correct PLM configurations.
When this happens, you are only taking more steps backward.
This can easily be avoided with the help of a knowledgeable PLM consultant who is familiar with your situation and has the ability to direct you down the right path.
4. You have multiple issues with PLM system stability
With so many companies investing large amounts of money into PLM enterprise systems, it is important for them to be working correctly.
If your PLM system is continually going down or needs to be restarted, this is another sign you should look into PLM consulting.
A product lifecycle management consultant with experience could locate and diagnose the root cause of your PLM system’s problems, allowing your company to avoid them in the future.
5. Your users complain about general PLM system usability
If your team is constantly complaining about the general performance and interaction on of your PLM interface, odds are that your system hasn’t been properly configured.
Complaints are one thing, but an inability to address the cause and improve user’s situation— that can have a dramatic impact on employee satisfaction and productivity.
User complaints are typically symptoms of larger PLM issues.
An experienced PLM admin can typically decode user feedback and develop a plan to dramatically improve productivity and UX.
The need for ongoing product lifecycle management system administration and maintenance is often overlooked by many companies.
For PLM systems to properly evolve, it is important to partner with system experts who can help your business succeed.
When is PDSA season?
We all know when it’s cold and flu season and what precautions to take to get back to health or at least dial down the symptoms. However, do we recognize when it’s time to conduct a Product Development System Assessment (PDSA) to get our organization back to health?
To analogize a real life situation, if someone is sick and goes to the doctor, the doctor would want to treat the immediate sickness and then propose a physical to determine what else is going on within the patient’s body. The doctor then sets a diagnosis for continuous improvement of health. A PDSA lends itself to something close to this from a product development standpoint.
An organization must first acknowledge a problem from a department stakeholder (i.e: Vice President, Director, Manager). They must obtain an understanding of how this problem effects downstream departments and create a sense of urgency that this one problem, is only one problem, and more problems are likely to be a major inhibitor to reaching goals.
Sure, organizations can operate with these inefficiencies and still make products, but we want them to know that they could make even more products or run more projects by taking part in a PDSA, which is when we come in to align an organization’s goals and measure achievement recognition through a secure and obtainable continuous improvement plan. PDSA’s are our way of measuring an organizations pain in their processes and providing a long-term solution to provide continuous improvement and maintain a healthy organization.
PDSA’s are the only way for EAC to truly understand the heartbeat of a company and the only way a customer or prospect can become a partner. Their goals become our goals for that organization.
Why would you want a PDSA?
PDSA’s are valuable for two reasons. First we, EAC, help clients to see their product development operation as a system which is a critical first step in making the operation better (i.e. more systematic). Secondly, we provide, as the output of the assessment, a set of high leverage improvement initiatives that will directly lead to increased productivity of their product development system.
Organizations may know something is not right with their product development operation – maybe for instance due to the number of recurring fires they fight – but they don’t know where to focus their improvement initiatives until they learn to see their operation as a system as opposed to a process.
The PDSA aligns a company’s business strategies and objectives to product development initiatives to determine areas of improvement. This is so valuable to be able to motivate a company or the internal champion to see how an improvement to a product development system would be tied to or contribute to a portion of the company’s objectives.
For example, an organizations objective or value opportunity is to reduce product development cost. Then we would streamline the product development system by making sure the people, process, and technology within a product development process are all working together without disrupting another part of the product development process thus taking waste out of the system enables reduction in cost.
During a PDSA, we engage with multifunctional groups within a company to extract process information and where waste is. Over and above that, a continuous improvement strategy will be set in place for the company to achieve the desired state or desired maturity level. Without an investment in continuous improvement, a one-time fix to a process or system will not sustain in the long term.
What’s so great about PDSA’s?
PDSA’s are learning events and EAC consultants learn something new with every PDSA because of the uniqueness of each client we work with. Beyond spreading our understanding of seeing operations as systems, it is exciting to be able to learn the details of the client’s operations and then provide critical improvement information.
The ability to tell an internal champion or the economic buyer that their organization is “leaking oil” or specifically being able to quantify to them the dollars being wasted, and that we, EAC are here to help reduce that and get them in a better state excites me. The ability to whiteboard the organizations processes and ask them why they would perform a certain task in that fashion. The ability to ask the tough questions, like “what is the biggest headache or challenge they have right now?” and “what is working well for you?” The ability to help the champion to present to their executive board is what is rewarding in the end.
We live and breathe to make a difference for our customers. PDSA’s are a mental marathon that test every part of a person’s attention to detail, savvy, note taking, and overall listening abilities. The challenge is what we get revved up for. We never know what we are going to find.
As we visit companies performing assessments and providing consulting services, we commonly experience some level of resistance to change. That is to be expected. First it is well understood that change is difficult to embrace. Moreover, we are often working with active or former engineers for whom skepticism is a recognized strength. And although there is often a shared perception among our clients’ employees that things need to change, there is usually significantly differing perceptions on the specifics of what must change and how it should change.
It is interesting to us that when we encounter similar individuals in other environments there is a distinct shift in their receptiveness to change. One other environment is at seminar events that EAC sponsors a dozen or so times per year. At the seminars, we are consistently engaged by thoughtful product development leaders and contributors who are looking to discover insights that can be used to improve their systems.
A part of the cause of this change is clearly that the work environment is consumed by practicality, while the seminar environment balances both theory and practice; good theory is after all the basis for good practice. The engagement with theory creates an openness to learn, and an attendant openness to change.
Our hypothesis is that within the political structure of their own companies, individuals invest a significant amount of their energies defensively blocking efforts to create change until they can be sure that the proposed change is not ‘yet another dunderheaded idea that will actually make things worse’. In the seminars’ external, neutral environment they are free to drop their committed defensiveness and to engage with less defensive positioning and more open-mindedness. We should add that our seminar events are presented as learning events and not selling events in an attempt to create an environment that supports open-mindedness.
In our internal discussions on this idea, a collaborator shared the story of his experience with counseling. After his divorce, he participated in a group therapy with a dozen other men who were all still married but having severe problems in their relationship with their spouses. Our colleague was attending group therapy to work through the similar issues that led to the dissolution of his marriage. Every week, he said, he would leave the session and spend the next day reflecting on the discussions and shared insights. His twelve fellow group members would return to their difficult environments of a hostile relationship and relapse into habitual behaviors. After a short period of time, feeling he had worked through his issues, our colleague made his goodbyes and graduated from the therapy sessions. As he left, he felt that none of the other individuals had made any significant progress towards a better way of managing their situations.
In reflecting on this, we become concerned that the enthusiasm and commitment to improvement that we see at the end of our seminar events dissipates quickly when the attendees return to their less neutral environments. To help extend the half-life of the positive bias carried out of our seminars, we are exploring additional services that can provide a buffer for post-seminar improvement advocates. We have discussed delivering more seminars directly within companies rather than in public venues, to create an internal network of mutually supportive thinkers. We have discussed organizing peer learning and discussion groups in our served regions where individuals from different companies can serve as an advisory board to one another. As we explore our role in extending the half-life of enthusiasm and commitment, we would love to hear from you on how you think we could better serve this market need.