We see two main pushbacks when we advocate for manual data collection over automatic systems.

  1. Manual systems allow for human error, degrading the accuracy of the data
  2. Manual systems cannot capture all the micro stops that happen on the line, missing important downtime information

Even though we’re a software company that enables production data analysis, we don’t delude ourselves that maintaining an immaculate comprehensive data system is the end goal. Data collection should build a preponderance of evidence to understand where operations management, engineering, and maintenance should spend their time to increase the performance of the operation.

The point of our software is to empower operations professionals with information to make decisions that drive actions to improve.

The benefits of operators taking ownership of their data and results far outweigh infrequent errors it may produce.

Yes, there are some instances where someone will fat finger an extra number or log a downtime code incorrectly. The ProductionNet Live display shows the data in real time, and significant deviations are easy to see. When a team lead is engaged there is ample opportunity to correct mistakes within a shift.

ProductionNetLive is a digital whiteboard

If erroneous data somehow passes on undetected, the infrequency and irregularity of those incidents have an insignificant impact on the Pareto charts. Repeat data entry problems become visible in the data and serve as an opportunity to engage team members to improve. Operators are the most flexible, adaptive, and valuable frontline assets in the company.

Managers who obsess over automatically capturing micro-stop data don’t trust their people, aren’t on the shop floor and don’t really know what’s going on.

Numbers in a database only represent a partial understanding of the operation. Collecting production data augments the visual observation of the line and the talking to the people who are working on it. Quantitative information needs qualitative compliments to form a true understanding. Companies striving for Industry 4.0 implementation must confront the reality of their operations.

For micro stops to be an obstacle to high performance, they need to occur many times. When only a few micro stops happen in a day, the seconds lost are insignificant. The only way micro stops matter is when there are a lot of them. High volume leads to detection.

Tracking micro stops isn't important when they aren't significantly contributing to performance loss

A large grouping of micro stops ceases to remain micro and show up as minutes of downtime. When frequent-micro stops are evenly distributed across the day, the responsible manager would certainly observe one in the span of 15 minutes.

Data is only a part of building a world class manufacturing operation. Be wary of letting the priority shift from taking action to improve the manufacturing process to engineering increasingly complex management systems.


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