Often times we can find ourselves knowing where we want to go but not knowing where to start. This is a common theme when it comes to digital transformation. Not surprisingly, we have seen many of our customers use EAC assessments as the first step to open up a world of opportunities for their company to grow and evolve its processes.
JR Automation has been an EAC customer for over a decade, and when we first started working with them, the first action was an EAC assessment. We were able to provide them a customized roadmap for success and prove how JR was going to achieve it. EAC has helped JR Automation find ways to save time, save money and increase efficiency – with savings over $1.4 million every year. JR took the first step with EAC helping them to find that starting point. Today JR continues to find new ways to innovate and evolve with growing customer demands in a highly competitive marketplace.
What to Expect from an EAC Assessment
Assessments can seem daunting at first. You may be asking yourself questions like, “Are they going to come in and tell us all the things we are doing wrong?”
In reality, our goal with assessments is to identify your current state and production and manufacturing processes, assess the maturity of your operational technologies, and work with your team to pinpoint an ideal future state. Making transformational changes to a company can be a sizable cultural shift and we help companies prepare to make that change. There are risks you take when you don’t assess your current situation, and we want to help you minimize those risks.
Functional Group Assessment (FGA)
The EAC Functional Group Assessment provides an objective format for your functional groups to truly understand their creation, consumption, and delivery of product data. These groups could consist of any cross-sectional team members from engineering, design, manufacturing, sales, marketing, or management.
During an FGA, our team of subject-matter experts will work to understand how your key team members work daily to complete the product development process. After the evaluation is complete and our experts have uncovered your current processes and technology usage, we will help you establish a roadmap that will lead your company to higher productivity and savings across the board.
After our findings have been documented and studied, we will lay out new possible methods and functions to improve overall productivity. These recommendations could include ways to improve capability gaps, business policy improvements, procedures that ensure efficiency and alignment, or strategies for training to maintain efficiency.
The benefits of an FGA could span from understanding your Functional Group alignment to business objectives and initiatives and their use of existing toolsets to examining processes and daily tasks that reflect your current state. We also uncover overall awareness of opportunities for improvement and bring alignment to Functional Vision for your desired future state.
Ultimately, we help you create a plan to achieve that desired state so you can spend less time wondering how to grow and more time-saving money through innovation. Companies like ITW Paslode and Nordco have taken advantage of the FGA and have seen the financial value in getting started on the transformational journey.
Digital Transformation Assessment (DTA)
Similar to the FGA, a Digital Transformation Assessment is an EAC-provided service that explores an organization’s product development system functionality. Our experts look at an organization’s operations and provide broad insight into improvement initiatives and establish a strategy for achieving operational improvement of a product development system.
When working through this assessment, our team has candid one-on-one discussions with your team members where we uncover what is working well, any occurred costs, and evaluate optimization opportunities.
The results that stem from an EAC Assessment are unmatched. Companies are discovering data they never knew were siloed, teams that were frustrated with processes, and many other disruptions in production. After uprooting and addressing these issues, companies like JR Automation, HyrdaForce, DRS, Merrick, and Systems Control are able quote more business and respond to customers faster – increasing their profit as well as employee and customer satisfaction.
Streamlined Digital Transformation Assessment (SDTA)
Similar to the functional DTA, the Streamlined Digital Transformation Assessment focuses on the interviews and direct inputs from your team members. However, it does not include an online survey and corresponding metric output. This assessment is offered as one variation of the Digital Transformation Assessment to fit your specific needs.
This assessment is a great fit for companies that have the desire to optimize their product development system, have the approval to move forward with the optimization, but are unsure where to start or what to focus on first.
While there are a few exclusions from the full DTA in this assessment, our team still coordinates select participants to plan and schedule the execution of individual interviews with participants involved in the assessment. This process will be a higher level approach than a full DTA, and may not include as many details or metrics. This assessment is still an excellent tool to explore your current business functions and define a roadmap to success.
Digital Manufacturing Assessment (DMA)
The Digital Manufacturing Assessment evaluates the overall state of your current product development systems regarding IoT initiatives, provides broad organizational visibility to improvement initiatives and identifies an IoT solution roadmap to help you determine the very first steps you should take on your digital transformational journey.
After evaluating your current manufacturing practices and operations, our experts will identify the best opportunities for growth that align with your corporate goals. When Kimray did a DMA with our team, they were able to recognize technology and solutions that would integrate with their current processes and also propel them to the next level in production. Together we developed a strategic roadmap that enhanced their processes.
The opportunities and pathways are endless to how your company can achieve digital transformation in the same way – a DMA is a great place to start.
Value Stream Mapping Assessment (VSMA)
A Value Stream Mapping Assessment consists of documenting the key action steps during production, gathering information from inputs and outputs, examining the systems used to manage that information, and pinpointing key optimization opportunities at each step. After, our experts work with your team to define an ideal future state of your product development process. The future process documentation outlines key improvements needed in business principles, policies, processes, and procedures utilizing the latest systems available to you to facilitate those improvements. Our EAC experts then defines a high-level roadmap and guidance on how to achieve those improvements.
During a VSMA, your team can expect to receive an important strategy that documents your current state including process documentation, pains, and what those pains are costing your business. With this information, together we will curate the vision of your future state – what your development could be – and create a roadmap on how to get there.
The company MEANS had EAC come in for a VSMA and was able to get a roadmap on system integrations that opened up the opportunities for better processes to connect their company. With an EAC roadmap, MEANS was able to realize a future state of streamlined processes to get their product to market faster and with less downtime.
When to Start
Now that we’ve answered the “what” and “why” of EAC assessments, the next question is “when.” Knowing you want to take your business to the next level, but feeling like you don’t how or where to start is the perfect time to invest in an assessment. Our ultimate goal is to understand your unique enterprise, your corporate strategic goals, and its current state, define your ideal future state, and plan an achievable way to get there together. EAC’s Assessment services can be the stepping stones for long-term company success and Digital Transformation.
Want to hear more testimonials or see which assessment would fit your company best and see how we could transform the way you do business? Connect with one of our experts!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s a hypothetical situation to paint the story ‘how real-time information and predictive analytics unlock value.’
To start, imagine a fully functioning assembly line with a robot, a pneumatic system, a series of conveyors, and a vision system.
Let’s pretend the supply station in the back is bringing in our raw materials. The robot is assembling those materials with precision. The resulting assemblies are then passed on to the quality station, and the vision system inspects each of those assemblies to ensure proper alignment of the parts.
This is a pretty generic operation, but it can show how unified real-time information and predictive analytics unlock value.
Now imagine yourself as a maintenance engineer, who wants to check the status of your asset pool.
Using software, such as ThingWorx Navigate by PTC for example, you launch a role-based maintenance application. All of a sudden you see a complete list of your assets with real-time performance stats and relevant alerts or notifications. You also have a complete list of all your outstanding maintenance work orders.
From here, you have the ability to drill into any of your assets, but you start with the quality station. You immediately see the key characteristics of the station. You see that speed vibration and temperature are all operating within their specified range. You could also see notifications of any warnings, malfunctions, or potential future problems.
Next, you use your device to take a look at the pneumatic system. The pneumatic system also looks fine. Both pressure and flow are operating within the specified range, and there are no outstanding maintenance tickets or work order notifications on your screen.
Now, let’s consider a situation where there was a leak in the pneumatic system. Let’s say a loose fitting was releasing pressure, a fairly common problem in pneumatic systems. Now, rather than looking fine, your device displays flow readings outside of the designated operating range. Furthermore, an alert has automatically been sent to notify you that a system has an error. The overall status indicator on your screen has now switched from green to orange – operational, but not optimal.
Your software solution’s machine learning is now predicting that this air leak, if not repaired, will result in a pneumatic gate failure in approximately 10 day’s time. The good news for you is the system has already issued you a maintenance work order to address the problem before asset failure and unplanned downtime.
This scenario is made possible by a system equipped with primary and secondary sensors, and a complete Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solution that can turn raw machine data into valuable information.
For example, your pneumatic system has an airflow sensor, as well as a pressure sensor. The conveyor systems are equipped with motor temperature sensors and vibration sensors.
You have also used your software to integrate manufacturing floor systems with real-time IT applications, asset maintenance tools, and ERP systems. This provides you with a real-time alignment of your IT and OT systems.
Now, all of your systems are throwing data out at a staggering 800 data points per second.
Your software’s machine learning then uses that real-time streaming data to establish a baseline of normal operating conditions. This way it can immediately connect and broadcast any anomalies that occur. It uses these anomalies, in conjunction with its prediction capabilities to notify you of future problems, just as in the case of the pneumatic failure.
Now that you have an understanding of what is happening under the hood, let’s take a look at how all this comes together to enable real-time operational intelligence.
Pretend you are a production manager. Using software like ThingWorx Navigate and Kepware you have complete visibility into all of your factory operations. You can see all of your work orders, lines, and all of their critical KPI’s.
On your device, you notice an orange status indicator on line one (that was created from the air leak earlier). Once that air leak has been repaired, everything returns back to normal, just as you would expect.
Let’s explore one more hypothetical situation. Consider yourself to be an operator. In this case, you have just been assigned a new order for a thousand units that need to be delivered and expedited for an end-of-day delivery.
You’re notified of the order and in this smart connected scenario you, as an operator have a single portal from which you can see and execute all of your work. Through a single pane of glass, you now have access to your business systems information and your operational data including the KPIs from your line.
On your device, you also have up-to-the-minute visibility of the OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness). You see real-time data measurements of your manufacturing operation’s availability, quality, and performance.
Let’s see how some of these metrics might change if we go ahead and speed up the line to accelerate the current order, in order to make room for that expedited order.
To do that you switch the line speed from level one to level two. What you see in seconds on your device is that line speed has increased, and your assemblies are still passing the quality check.
Within a couple of minutes and a few additional cycles, on your device, you see both your performance and OEE trending upwards.
As an operator, you now are assured that you are going to meet your end-of-the-day deadline.
Using these hypothetical situations, together we have painted a picture demonstrating how you can connect disparate assets from different vendors, to provide real-time information.
You’ve also seen how you can leverage role-based applications that combine business systems information and operational data to empower your workforce with real-time actionable intelligence.
By integrating machine-learning capabilities you brought a whole new level of predictive intelligence to your factory floor, identified problems, and resolved issues with minimal impact on operational performance.
This is exactly how real-time information and predictive analytics can unlock value for your organization.
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz about IoT (the Internet of Things).
‘Start improving the way you do business’, ‘connect with technology’, ‘responsive solutions’, ‘amazing results’.
It’s safe to say that the internet of things along with smart connected enterprises have easily become technology’s theme of the year.
Businesses everywhere have started to look at how they can make more money by inserting this “IoT” thing into their business processes.
The truth behind your success and IoT:
No matter where your journey begins with IoT, it’s essential to recognize good business models rely on technological processes, but technology on its own is not enough.
When it comes to IoT and connected business model innovations, if you don’t have a solid business case, you’re not going to have success.
A connected strategy is about business and business transformation. It’s not just about the technology, it’s about using technology as an enabler.
It’s important to realize there is no value in your IoT platform alone. The real value for you, the success of your business case, lies within your application.
The future is smart and connected.
Whether you choose to build connected solutions into existing products, enter new markets, change your business model, or connect your manufacturing floor; you need to be ready.
Transforming the way you connect with your products, organization, and customers all starts with smart connected design and the right Internet of Things (IoT) platform. The right platform allows you to connect and scale your business.
This is exactly what our company specializes in, in fact we have even created a dedicated connect services team to design and implement custom connected strategies for any organization.
Being able to monitor a product from design into manufacturing, throughout its complete lifecycle makes it possible to improve product quality, increase production, reduce costs, and even predict failures.
Building a smart connected strategy that works for you:
Integrating company initiatives with the Internet of Things needs a strategy, this is what we are here for.
We want to help you define a strategy that makes a connection between your products and operations that already exist within your company and the smart, connected world that we live in today.