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, pneumatic system, a series of conveyors, and a vision system.
Lets 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 than passed on to the quality station, and the vision system inspects each of those assemblies to insure 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 a 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 of 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 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 air flow 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 a 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 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.
We tend to operate our businesses like we’re playing a game of telephone…and it’s costing us all money.
You don’t have to be a genius to know that within many companies’ sales, marketing, and R&D teams serve separate functions. With different goals, targets and initiatives these teams tend to collaborate among themselves using the same system of record.
For example, within the same company, a department may rely on Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems while others may depend on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Manufacturing Execution System data (MES), and Quality Management Systems (QMS).
Marketing, Management, Purchasing, Engineering, Technical Publications and manufacturing all need to operate off product designs and Bill of Materials (BOM), but while doing so people are likely to interrupt engineering to get information.
With this information they ask different questions, have different intentions, and speak different departmental languages.
The reality is; this inaccessible data is about the same product that happens to be housed in a system you can’t normally access.
By resorting to these misaligned processes, we end up operating on data without its entire context, therefore we lose productivity to requests for data and the switching costs of changing tasks.
Besides, these interruptions are generally counterproductive, especially when you’re working on one task and you’re interrupted regarding a completely different topic.
Without a single means to bridge these systems, your company is missing out on valuable information, time savings, and productivity.
We live in a world where siloed departmental communication doesn’t need to be the norm, after all technology is just about everywhere!
By integrating your critical data into a centralized location, your organization will increase visibility, and achieve better, more informed business decisions.
With technology that exists today, your separate departments can pull data from multiple systems into easy role-based dashboards, providing greater visibility and enhanced analysis.
The result is a rapid way for your team to get data from the vast data pool within your organization, and access it in an easy to consume space.
One of the ways we transform the way companies design, manufacture, connect, and service their products is by value stream mapping ‘Product Development Systems’ and looking for ways to ensure people have access to the information they need when they need it.
Tools like Thingworx Navigate, for companies invested in PTC’s Windchill solution, or the standard Thingworx platform and PLM Apps for those that aren’t, are helping companies pull information from different departments, systems, vendors, etc. to make sure every role has a simplified view of the information they need, when they need it, without slowing down any other departments.
To fully grasp how we assist and serve our customers, you need to understand our core organizational beliefs:
- We believe the product development process is broken.
- We believe that there is a better way to achieve business initiatives through product development processes and it all starts with learning.
This is exactly why we created the EAC Value Model. We’re a learn first organization. We focus on taking the LAMDA approach.
What is LAMDA?
The LAMDA is a basic learning cycle of lean product and process development. It literally stands for “look, ask, model, discuss, and act.” Ideologically it is a way to learn and optimize within a closed-loop learning cycle that continually looks to improve a situation by defining and improving root-cause issues.
Our LAMDA based EAC Value Model works as follows.
The first phase of the EAC Value Model: Learn
During the learn phase, our specialists take a first-hand approach with your business. This is when we learn about your business initiatives, ask open-ended questions, and gather information so we can truly understand the key drivers of your business’ success, any the root-cause of any potential areas of improvement.
Throughout this phase we take time to learn about your people, your team, your processes, your technology, and the ways of your organization.
We take an in-depth look at your business from front-office to back-office to determine the how your company can extract the most value from its interaction with EAC.
This leads us to the second phase of the EAC Value Model – The Mutually Agreed Upon Plan or M.A.P.
The second phase of the EAC Value Model: The M.A.P.
Using the knowledge acquired from our learning exercise, our team creates a unique customized M.A.P for your organization. Your M.A.P. is a Mutually Agreed Upon Plan that incorporates a multiple step strategy, with actionable steps and business cases for your organization.
This phase provides an understanding of what needs to be accomplished in order to achieve your desired results.
Throughout this process we evaluate solutions that may address your organizational needs. Wither they may be through engineering services, educational training services, product development consultations, system implementation services, software solutions; we configure a plan to fit your specific needs.
The creation of the M.A.P. provides a clear path to value for your organization. It holds everyone accountable for the actions needed to solve business problems and tackle initiatives.
Once we have created your mutually agreed upon plan, the implementation phase begins.
The third phase of the EAC Value Model: Implementation
During the implementation phase we put the M.A.P. into action. This is where our teams move your solution from the developmental stage into production.
You could also refer to this stage as ‘deployment’, ‘go live’, ‘roll-out, or even ‘installation’.
The tasks performed during this phase might include installing or implementing CAD, Windchill, Industrial Automation, IoT or any number of other systems. Perhaps your M.A.P. incorporated training programs for your current teams or additional services for product information. No matter what your plan includes, our team works with you to provide any service, system, or additional skill necessary to achieve your desired results.
Throughout this phase our focus remains on helping your organization become a smart, connected enterprise.
The fourth phase of the EAC Value Model: The Score Card
This is the phase that sets EAC apart. Once we have implemented your solution(s), we never lose focus on gathering feedback on how we did, how a solution is working, or whether the desired outcome or return on investment is being realized…
Remember, our overall goal is to build a long-term relationship with your organization. We feel the best way to do this is by making sure you achieve the success your company needs.
With the help of our EAC Score card, we obtain your feedback on how we can continue to help your organization grow.
Our dream for your organization is to create a smart connected enterprise where you have the ability to connect to your products, your shop floor, and know your predictive downtime before it even happens. We make it our priority to help your organization achieve more than you had had imagined.