IIoT tools pinpoint problems interfering production

According to the calculations of the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists, labor productivity in the industrial sector, at constant prices, has grown 6,3 percent since 2015. Data is based on the Lithuanian Department of Statistics.

The effect of interdependencies

Industrial productivity measures the efficiency of production. Basically, it is the ratio between the amount of output and the amount of inputs used to make the product goods. 

Daniel Markovitz from Harvard business review points out that leaders are always seeking to improve employee and their own productivity. But too often that quest goes no further than time management training provided by the HR department. Those classes cover countless approaches that tantalize us with promises of peak productivity. But people are still overwhelmed by work and unable to focus on critical priorities. It’s safe to say that these productivity hacks just don’t hack it. The problem isn’t with the intrinsic logic of any of these approaches. It’s that they fail to account for the simple fact that most people work in complex organizations. These are defined by interdependencies among people. Often these interdependencies have the greatest effect on personal productivity.

IIoT tools facilitate remote work

Talking specifically about productivity in industry, studies show that enterprise operations can be greatly contributed by Industrial internet of things (IIoT) applications. 2020 study from the Bingol University shows that IIoT gives an enterprise a chance to track supply chains, monitor production line operations and real-time consumption of energy, managing stock, and transportation decisions. 

In general, the more digitized a company’s processes are, the simpler it is to collaborate remotely. Study by McKinsey and Company research shows that the IIoT can help companies navigate the current crisis of Coronavirus and emerge stronger once operations ramp up again. Off-the-shelf IIoT tools support the continuation of operations with fewer employees on site. They facilitate remote work in direct and indirect functions. 

Digital team boards

The IIoT tool called a Manufacturing Execution System (MES), as explained in a Journal of Food Engineering,  is a production management system serving as the information center in the enterprise to improve manufacturing transparency. It is the middle layer connecting the manufacturing process on the shop floor and the business process on the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) level. On the one hand, the MES guides the execution of rough production plans into detailed operations on the shop floor. Moreover, it provides the firm with critical key performance indicators (KPIs), enabling commercial decisions. The support from the MES, such as production fine planning, performance analysis, and product tracing, can help manufacturers to be efficient and gain more competitiveness in the global market.

For example, a supplier is using a manufacturing-execution system (MES) to optimize production and increase transparency. Even though many managers are no longer on site, the MES outputs provide the information they need to have valuable discussions during videoconferences. Similar solutions are available for the shop floor. One European commercial-vehicle OEM uses digital team boards to coordinate jobs, measure production levels, and improve performance gaps across shifts. 

Other IIoT tools, such as digital heat maps, can support root-cause analyses for various problems. With machine breakdowns, for instance, IIoT tools can receive input from sensors that help pinpoint problems, such as broken components or oil leakage that could interfere with production. Teams can then review the tool outputs and discuss the potential sources of error over videoconference.

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