How to use Industry 4.0 sensors to identify waste and improve your business faster
Industry 4.0 Sensors save you thousands in lost time gathering data and unleash thousands in additional productivity every month
Recently we caught up with our manufacturing client who had a problem
Their schedule was slipping and their people were working longer hours. It was perceived an underlying level of rework was occurring and disrupting the workflow, meaning the client was missing their scheduled deliverables, and to compensate, they were extending working hours to cope. This, of course, was costly and eroding margin.
So, we had a challenge
We needed to gather regular time studies from machinery in a client’s factory, but the cost to do so was high due to having someone spending large amounts of time observing other work.
The alternative was to ask machine operators to log their day in a journal in 15-minute increments, but this was difficult because:
- They are already busy
- It’s hard to see wasteful activity when you are working hard trying to overcome the waste
- Everyone interprets what they are doing just a little differently – we all perceive we are far more efficient than we really are.
- They were struggling to meet their schedule already – potentially doing 20-30% of their work during extended overtime hours
Enter the use of machine layer sensors
By placing machine layer sensors on the machines in the factory that continuously monitor movement and vibration data, we had hoped to find 2-5% additional capacity available in the machines, that would justify the cost of running the sensors and bring the factory back on track. The below picture shows how machine layer technology fits into Industry 4.0 and the bigger concept of the Internet of Things.
What we actually found in one day was astounding
We ran the data collection for an entire week. It is worth noting this manufacturer is known in their industry as a leader in Lean thinking – it was not like they weren’t already efficient:
- The machines were utilised (doing purely value-added work) just 50% of the work time, the rest of the time running idle
- This meant that monthly under-utilised capacity ran into many tens of thousands a month, not 2-5%!
- We finally had an impartial way to identify that we had problems, measure them accurately and use the data to drive our continuous improvement focus.
We gathered the team and discussed the results
With this in mind, it was clear although there was rework, we had larger Hidden Factory issues.
We are now working through removing waste from the supporting processes and can see how we potentially use sensors to validate and maintain the positive flow-on effects to value-added time every day.
We have also found that this type of data gathering helps us with several Total Productive Maintenance principles:
- Enhancing autonomous maintenance – the sensors can assist teams in identifying reliability trends in vibration data
- Focused improvement – bringing timely data to problem-solving activities
- Education and Training – the data helps focus the improving knowledge of operators on best practice operating techniques in balanced-flow and pull principles of Lean Manufacturing.
It’s an exciting time to be working in the Lean and Kaizen (Continuous improvement) space
Technology such as this is enhancing our ability to provide timely coaching and advice that has an immediate impact for teams and leaders.
Want to know more?
We can help!
Contact us here.
I wanted to share with you my thoughts in relation to Lean and Kaizen, and I hope that my point of view is something that you might be able to make use of and perhaps apply at your workplace. So I wanted to talk about leadership, in the Lean and Kaizen environment, and just a…Read More
Subscribe for updates
We provide free updates and advice regularly to help you improve your business and leadership skills, and for exclusive content there is a paid subscription too!
Follow us on YouTube
Our YouTube channel is a must for Leaders in business who want to empower their teams and improve their processes. You'll find plenty of our current thinking there
Build your Capability with our Members Program
We do consulting differently, in that we believe in building your capability to improve - we want to provide you with the secrets to success, not keep it all to ourselves! Our exclusive Member Program coaches you to be a great Leader, to empower your people to drive improvement, and identify large gains in employee engagement, quality and performance.
Talk to a consultant
We love to have a chat. We also like to make sure we have time just for you. You can book a chat and we can discuss your continuous improvement journey. We are happy to provide as much obligation-free advice as we can during the call, including what would be the recommended next steps for you to take.