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Operator Focus — The Differentiator in a Manufacturing Execution System

March 27, 2020

Who are your company’s true “knowledge keepers”?

These are the people who really know what’s going on and how to get things done – the ones boardroom executives talk to when they run out of answers. We bet it’s plant floor operators.

Manufacturing success, and every digital transformation solution you implement, is directly controlled by your operators. This article explores the power of modern manufacturing execution systems (MES) and how they’re most effective when focus is ultimately on your biggest differentiator — operators.

See Your Operators’ Point of View

Manufacturing is continuing its digital transformation, during which many roles and responsibilities are changing and require different skill sets. As products become more complex and digitization gets more out of manufacturers’ materials and machines, modern production processes become more and more optimized.

On the plant floor, operators are keenly aware of exactly how they’re performing relative to production targets, how graphical process steps guide their work, and how any non-conformances are handled.

Manufacturing operations management understands that operators help design, implement, and optimize processes and solutions that, naturally, are operator-focused. They may not know what MES stands for, but they know it’s one of their most important and engaging tools.

Humans are competitive with an instinctual desire to overcome challenges. We overwhelmingly cheer for the underdog, and we all enjoy a sense of accomplishment when a goal is reached. In a manufacturing setting, the same principles apply and are present every day, during every shift, and on every product.

Performance-driven culture requires your entire team to be aligned around a common goal with a plan to achieve it.

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Operator-focused solutions provide credible TAKT time, accurate cycle time, and performance feedback with goal, plan, and actual numbers at the operator’s fingertips.

The Importance of Repeatable Processes

An MES provides a great opportunity to gain an edge. Operators need to focus on their specific tasks and get them accomplished within cycle time. To help make that happen, non-intrusive operator interfaces guide operators through their tasks, provide instant feedback, and only intervene when non-conformances are detected.

There’s a lot going on! Operator-focused interfaces enforce a repeatable process, which includes:

  • Ensuring all work instructions, quality alerts, and health and safety protocols are viewed and acknowledged prior to starting work
  • Every fastener and traceable component is installed
  • Every step is completed (with data to prove it)

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An operator-focused interface presents the most relevant information precisely at the right time to make sure production goals are achieved.

Communication is Key

Even the best processes can get disrupted by:

  • Damaged products
  • Stripped fasteners
  • Broken tooling
  • Running out of parts
  • Waiting for help

Operators are your first line of defense and are closest to the problem when process non-conformances occur.

Having solid and reliable two-way communication with your operators breaks down communication barriers and traditional departmental thinking, allowing everyone to do their jobs more effectively. Timely and accessible MES information increases coordination among a manufacturer’s many working layers.

Plus, when operators can log exactly what the quality control issues are, a rich dataset is established from which you can drive continuous improvement initiatives. Operator-focused solutions provide the vital voice your operators need for everyone’s collective success.

Thinking About an MES System?

Are you considering implementing a digital transformation solution? Do you think it’ll involve an MES system? Will operators be your major differentiator?

Stack the odds of success in your favor by first considering how the solution will ultimately serve your operators. Getting it right will reward you with enthusiastic operators.

Now, consider partnering with an experienced provider of operator-focused solutions to world-class manufacturers. That’s PINpoint Information Systems. Our 20+ years of experience are here to help, and we’re happy to share our knowledge, expertise, and software, including PINpoint V5 MES.

Let’s discuss your MES needs. Contact PINpoint online or call 905-639-8787.

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