Smart industry tools such as digital production follow-up opens up an opportunity for a vivid and event-driven visualization that drives increased efficiency and productivity.

  • "Bad news does not get better with time."
  • "Seal the leak as it goes on."

Think of real-time visualizations as a tool to drive faster reactions and create opportunities for production employees to engage and make better decisions faster.

When everyone in the team shares the same facts of the situation and problem description, you can avoid lengthy recurring discussions about what happened when it happened, and how long it lasted. Based on visualized real-time facts, it is easier for decision-makers at all levels to make informed decisions about problems and take appropriate corrective actions.

With modern production follow-up tools, you can free up time to work on improvements or other value-adding activities by letting the system communicate the right facts to the right person at the right time.

Communicate by e-mail and SMS. Send push notifications in mobile apps or present live information on TV screens thought your factory. The system can even automatically print the required reports.

RS Production offers different ways to support better and quicker decisions, solving problems and maintaining quality assured improvements.

TV screen showing live production status

Create clear visualization of the major losses. Place the TV highly visible so that everyone can share the same understanding of the current situation.

Information to display

  • outcome per hour during the current shift
  • deviation to plan/target
  • current speed
  • top production losses

TV screen showing time to next changeover

Displaying upcoming changeovers enables production personnel to prepare accordingly, e.g., carry out external changes and be ready in time for the internal changeover. For better impact, try a 30-minute countdown on TV screens before the next changeover.

TV screen with live SPC

Display key process metrics and capability figures live to create quality awareness and enhance response time to resolve any quality deviations.

Alarm escalation of problems in progress

Automatic problem escalation enables a more independent and automatized way of working with problem resolution. Operators and technicians who are responsible for the equipment and processes can use their resources more efficiently.

By automatically escalate problems based on a pre-defined set of rules, production management and support functions can get informed when needed and only when needed, which allows for the right support at the right time. 

Short interval checks, shift handovers, daily reporting, and daily checks – with more frequent encounters the opportunity to resolve issues quicker increases; leaders can "coach while the game is still ongoing". 

With automatic visualization of facts, administrative overhead can be reduced and leaders can use the freed up time for more frequent "coaching". By using event-based triggers to display standards and instructions, you can create a setting where the right information is automatically presented to the right person at the right time.

Reduce the time spent searching for information to a fraction. And at the same time, mitigate the risk of operators working from wrong or outdated instructions.

Create and present forms and checklists based on event-based triggers such as:

  • at 9 am every scheduled production day,
  • at each changeover,
  • after 1,000 units produced per order,
  • when a stop lasts for more than 15 minutes.

1. Be prepared to adapt and adjust as you go

Critical daily production challenges can change over time. Getting the right amount at the right time will certainly always be central, but besides, daily production challenges can change over time. Therefore, select a technology for real-time visualization enables you to manage the content and configuration yourself without requiring external support.

2. Visualizations should drive the right behaviors

Consider the recipient of the information your display. It is machine operators, production managers, technicians, production management, or other supporting roles?

Different information is relevant to different roles. RS Production has extensive capabilities to direct the right information to the right person at the right time. Based on a standardized and continuously updated data model.

Just keep in mind that different roles can move across different production areas.

Different decision-making forums and processes are likely to require the same information, but with different timescale and detail resolution. The appropriate reporting timescale often increases the further away from the machines you come.

Keep in mind that the purpose of real-time visualizations is to drive the right behavior. When an operator and production manager, work towards reaching the goal of the ongoing shift, the company management works with its more slow strategies for maybe 12 or 26 weeks.

Another tip is to scrutinize the information displayed carefully. Presenting too much or too little information will result in equally poor results. By presenting relevant information for the context will help drive the desired behavior.

3. Group and structure presented data

Try to find some common denominators that can help to keep the layout of the visualization clean. When you have selected relevant data for the context, consider grouping correlated data. For example

  • group everything correlated to ongoing shifts,
  • group everything correlated to produced articles,
  • group everything correlated to quality and waste.

4. Motivate through feedback

With gathering and collecting extensive production data, there is a risk of it ending up in spreadsheets and databases without being used for anything tangible for the production personnel doing the data collection.

This approach kills engagement for continuous data collection!

Instead, use the visualizations of production data they collected to provide continuous feedback to operators. This approach often starts a positive spiral driving engagement and participation in standardization and improvement work.

5. Event-driven notifications

Utilize the event-driven capabilities in RS Production for sending notifications related to upcoming events. By configuring notifications triggered by specific events, you can create automatic work-flows for taking appropriate actions for known and common issues.

Use the data to calculate remaining time to:

  • next changeover,
  • risk of failure due to breakdown using MTBF and static methods,
  • risk of stoppage due to material shortage.

Push the right information to the proper role at the right time with real-time visualizations. Perhaps some situations require specific visualizations other than the "standard"-view.  For example,

  • morning meeting,
  • shift handover,
  • short interval controls.

Or, ongoing disruptions can require specific visualizations such as:

  • quality deviations,
  • speed ​​losses,
  • material shortage.

6. Focus on clarity and simplicity

Too much information is quickly perceived as noise and easily becomes unnoticed. Therefore, create clean, simple, and specific visualizations. Break down targets and measurements into tangible information for the recipient.

For example, break down overall KPIs' into actionable items and metrics easily understood by the people working. Operators and production managers can often influence stop time, average stop time, and the number of stops due to material shortages. It can be equally distancing to affect an OEE number that you don't know how to calculate. Avoid looking at OEE or other composite KPIs' at too narrow views.

7. Consider when to use text and when to use graphs

Graphs are readable at a longer distance than text. Therefore use graphics to display trends and changes over time. Use numbers in a clear and large font when the recipient needs to know the exact value. Avoid using 3D effects on bars and graphs. It clutters the view and lower readability.

8. Improve readability using space between information

Less is more. Compressing too much information into small spaces lowers readability. Remember to use clear space between the different data groups in the visualization. It will create easy-to-read and engaging visualizations. Also, avoid using background images if they do not add anything.

9. Be mindful of colors

Color blindness is quite common and makes it hard to distinguish between some colors. Usually red and green, but other combinations are known too. Keep this in mind when designing your visualizations. Use complement colors and geometric shapes. Sometimes flashing components is helpful, e.g., deviations from targets. High contrasts are best for quickly interpreting a text. Yellow text on a black background has the highest contrast. However, on mobile, computer and TV-screens, white and colors on a black background is more comfortable for the eye to absorb.

10. Mind the background-color

For TV screens in rooms with daylight, we recommend using dark background colors. Keep in mind that some monitors have a glossy and reflecting surface. For brightly lit rooms, select a matte screen to avoid reflections that can reduce readability.