Why You Should Implement OEE Across Your Entire Production Line   

In the simplest terms possible, overall equipment effectiveness (or OEE for short) is maybe the most important key performance indicator there is. In the manufacturing industry in particular, it’s used to determine the efficiency of a plant and its operations. If you want to make sure not only that you’re producing the highest quality parts as effectively as you can with as few potential downsides as possible, tracking OEE is how you do it – all while making sure that you’re taking advantage of the full capacity of your manufacturing equipment at the exact same time. 

But still, far too many business leaders make the mistake of assuming that OEE is only relevant to individual machines on the shop floor. They have a list of their most critical assets and they’re very interested in reading those stats, but a lot of other machines tend to fall by the wayside. Not only is this a mistake, but you should absolutely take things as far as they will go by implementing OEE across your entire production line. 

OEE: Global Data, Global Visibility 

Remember that one of the core benefits of OEE is that allows you to both measure and visualize your plant’s operational effectiveness at a moment’s notice. Once you know exactly what you’re dealing with and what problems you are faced with, you’re in an excellent position to create actionable steps to not only improve quality and production but also save time and eliminate waste as well. 

Why would you NOT want to be able to do that within the context of your entire production line? 

With a solution like Thrive by your side, you’ll always know the efficiency of your entire production line so long as you actually choose to implement it that way. You’re talking about an automated downtime tracking solution that effectively measures production output and compares it against your line’s maximum potential. Plus, with production run records, you can easily track shift efficiency or even analyze trends line by line. 

All of this means that when you choose to implement OEE across the entirety of your enterprise, you can easily see how efficiently your line produces each product. You can take a deep dive into potential machine output based on SKU. But more than that, you can sit back and let the software do all of this automatically – all so that you can spend less time collecting those insights and more time putting them to good use. 

This simply isn’t something you’ll be able to achieve if you only care about OEE within the context of a few machines or specific assets. If you truly want global visibility over your production lines (and you should), this is absolutely a step worth taking and we’re proud to stand by your side while you do it. 

If you’d like to find out even more about why you should absolutely implement OEE across your entire production line, or if you’d just like to discuss other important topics with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay - reach out to your friends at Thrive today. 

 

Why a Cloud-Based Downtime Tracking Solution Matters So Much in the Modern Era   

Although cloud-based computing has become enormously popular in our personal lives over the last decade, there are still some businesses who are slow to adopt these advancements in the context of their professional lives. “I already have a solution that tells me what I need to know,” they say to themselves. “It’s right there on the computer in my office. Why do I need to take that into the cloud?” 

Well, for a lot of reasons, actually. 

In no uncertain terms – a cloud-based downtime tracking solution isn’t just important for a business like yours in the modern era. 

It’s absolutely crucial for a number of distinct reasons, all of which are more than worth exploring. 

The Impact of the Cloud on the Modern Business: Breaking Things Down 

By far, the most important advantage that a cloud-based downtime tracking solution like Thrive brings to the table has to do with how easy it is to access the important information you need to work smarter, not harder on a daily basis. 

Think about it like this: Thrive’s innovative dashboards are already designed to empower the way you like to work, regardless of what shape that happens to take. If you’re too busy to log into a terminal for detailed reporting because you want to get out on the shop floor as fast as you can, don’t worry – the daily downtime digest is built to summarize all activity you need to know in a way that is automatically put front and center. 

So not only is the dashboard itself inherently powerful in that it gives you easy access to the type of trends and patterns that would have otherwise gone undiscovered… but thanks to the fact that it’s all cloud-based, you can get that information from literally anywhere. 

Are you on the other side of your facility, far away from the desktop computer in your office? Don’t worry – you can pull up the exact same information on your tablet. Are you taking half a day off at work but still want to check in to make sure that things are going smoothly from home? You can have all the same information in a matter of seconds, right from your smartphone. 

Because Thrive is based on the cloud, you can get detailed insights from literally any device on Earth with an active Internet connection – including from any location, too. At any given moment, you’re never more than a few seconds away from all the detailed, real-time reporting on overall equipment effectiveness that you need, and that is just something you’re not going to be able to achieve if everything is still hosted on-premise like the “old school” way of doing things. 

If you’d like to find out more information about why cloud-based downtime tracking solutions matter so much in the modern era, or if you’d just like to discuss the specifics of your own business with someone in more detail, please feel free to contact us at Thrive today. 

 

You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure: Why Automated Production Reporting is Critical   

At its core, downtime tracking is about providing you with the insight you need to make the best and most informed decisions possible, no matter what. While a lot of businesses have been embracing downtime tracking for years, so many of them still insist on doing things “the old fashioned way” – meaning manually, by hand, or at best using a generic program that was never really designed for that purpose in the first place. 

Not only is this a mistake… but this also puts your business at a significant disadvantage during a time when you probably can’t afford it. 

The Problem With the “Old School” Approach to Downtime Production Reporting 

If you want to put yourself in a position where you always know the efficiency of your entire production line, there are a massive number of things that you need to start tracking immediately. Shift start and end times. Efficiency percentages. The number of finished goods that were produced versus the number scheduled. The overall downtime for each piece of equipment. The list goes on and on. 

But once you start collecting that data, you also need a way to store it. If you’re still doing things “the old-fashioned way,” you’re probably doing it by way of an Excel spreadsheet or similar resource. With so many moving parts and with conditions changing almost constantly, simply keeping track of all this can quickly become a full-time job – which is a problem, since you already have one of those monopolizing the majority of your time. 

Then, you need to be prepared to dive beneath the data itself – uncovering the true story hidden underneath. This means wading through those spreadsheets to try to figure out how efficiently your line is producing each product. This means adjusting the efficiency calculation to take into consideration changes that you’ve made to employees or other resources. This means figuring out the cause, length, and frequency of downtime events, all in the name of uncovering your biggest source of downtime as quickly as possible. 

If all of this sounds equal parts time-consuming and frustrating… that’s largely because it is. But the good news is that with an automated downtime tracking solution like Thrive, this ISN’T the way it has to be any longer. 

The Power of Automated Reporting: A Brave New World 

Thrive’s innovative algorithm takes the data your production lines are already creating to uncover real-time visibility in a matter of minutes. You can see the impact on uptime and production that each downtime event will have if you proactively fix it, all before you ever actually do anything. Not only can you uncover the types of insights you need to prioritize equipment maintenance, equipment purchases and other actionable steps by their expected results, but you can do so IMMEDIATELY. 

All of this segues into the most important benefit of all in terms of automated reporting: it frees up as much of your valuable time as possible so that you can focus on those matters that really need you. 

If you’d like to find out more information about why automated production reporting is critical to your continued success as an organization, or if you just have any additional questions that you’d like to go over with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay - contact Thrive today. 

Why Company-Wide Reporting Matters More Than You Realize

Think for a moment about the benefits of implementing a downtime tracking solution like Thrive across your entire production line. In a matter of minutes, you can track and chart the performance of individual machines by days, weeks, months or even years. You can uncover trends and patterns that would have otherwise gone undiscovered. You can see how efficiently your machines are operating not only based on the product they’re producing right now, but based on shift and other criteria that matter most to you. 

Now, imagine if you had that same level of insight across multiple locations within your company. It’s a true “bird’s eye view” in every sense of the term, and it’s not something you’ll be able to achieve unless you embrace company-wide reporting with open arms. 

The Impact of Company-Wide Reporting: Better Decisions, Better Performance 

With company-wide reporting, you can unlock that same level of insight across your entire business – regardless of whether you’re talking about two locations in the same city or a dozen spread out across the country. Not only that, but you can see every location’s performance in a single, straightforward report – all so that you can compare individual plants as a whole, or even individual lines in separate locations that are producing the exact same product. 

Even going beyond the fact that this allows you to quickly correct what isn’t working to improve efficiency and productivity, it brings with it a host of other unique advantages, too. In just a few quick clicks of your mouse, you can easily find plants that can accept more volume – all to keep things running as smoothly as possible. If a specific plant is underperforming relative to the rest of them, you can see WHY – thus putting you in a position to do something about it. You could upgrade inefficient technology to get that plant to the exact position it needs to be in, or even allocate training funds based on cold, hard data. 

You can even implement standard work practices that will improve productivity – all in the name of meeting your goals and exceeding your expectations whenever possible. 

But if you’re still only tracking effectiveness based on individual pieces of equipment or on smaller portions of your organization, you may be getting A picture of what is going on – but you’re not getting the COMPLETE picture. That’s a point you can only get to through true company-wide reporting, which is a large part of what our own downtime tracking solution at Thrive is all about. 

Not only that, but you can also print out a road map of your entire company every morning right from Thrive’s dashboard. Make no mistake: that is a very exciting position for any manufacturing business to be in. 

If you’d like to find out more information about why company-wide reporting matters more than you realize, or if you just have any additional questions that you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay - contact Thrive today. 

 

The Real Cost of Downtime: An Overview   

In any manufacturing environment, downtime is never something you can fully eliminate – regardless of how hard you try. But so long as these downtime incidents are planned – meaning that you can take proactive steps to mitigate as much risk as possible during these periods – it really isn’t anything to stress out about. 

It’s when downtime incidents are unplanned (and worse, unexplained), that those costs really begin to add up. 

Breaking Down the Costs of Downtime 

According to one recent study, the average cost of unplanned downtime across all businesses came in at a massive $260,000 per hour in 2016 alone. While that number is harrowing in and of itself, when you also consider that it represented a 60% jump from just a few years earlier in 2014, it’s easy to see why this is an issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. 

But it’s also important to keep in mind that in some sectors of the manufacturing industry, those costs are even higher. Another study indicated that in the automotive industry in particular, the average cost of unplanned downtime can quickly add up to approximately $50,000 per minute. That adds up to roughly $3 million per hour. 

Maybe the most unfortunate statistic of all is the following: manufacturers on average experience about 800 hours of downtime every single year. 

Are these the types of costs your business can afford to bear right now? Of course not – but thankfully, with the right approach, you don’t have to. 

The Solution: Downtime Tracking 

With a downtime tracking solution like Thrive by your side, you can make sure that your business isn’t anywhere near statistics like those outlined above. Because of its plug and play nature, you can begin tracking machine downtime literally minutes after your activation. Not only will you be able to see the overall efficiency of every piece of equipment across your production line, but you’ll also be in a position to define a reason for ANY stoppage taking place on your shop floor. 

Think about it like this: downtime tracking is about more than just knowing whether or not your lines are running. You’ll know both how efficiently individual pieces of equipment are operating and exactly why they’ve gone offline at a moment’s notice. You’ll be able to track your production line efficiency in real-time and analyze trends according to shift, line or even SKU depending on your preferences. 

What you’re left with is an opportunity to know not only WHY a piece of equipment is offline, but WHAT you have to do to fix the problem and HOW you can prevent it from happening again in the future. At that point, the average cost of downtime simply isn’t something you’ll have to spend much time worrying about any longer. 

If you’d like to find out more information about the real cost of downtime and why this is such an important issue that needs to be addressed across your business, or if you’d just like to talk about your own needs with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay - contact Thrive today. 

When You Bring Your Manufacturing to the United States, the First Thing You Want to Look at is Downtime Tracking

As you begin to move your manufacturing efforts into the United States, it stands to reason that one of your top priorities will be optimizing efficiency across the board. You want to hit the ground running and run the most profitable business that you can – you’re (rightfully) unwilling to let anything stand in your way.

Yet ironically, there are several factors that are potentially doing exactly that – possibly without you even realizing it. If you’re supposed to produce 100 parts a minute and you’re only producing 90, you’re still looking at 10 that weren’t made. Downtime is a situation when your machines aren’t running because of something that wasn’t planned… but that doesn’t always mean your machine was totally offline.

Luckily, these factors are NOT always beyond your control. With the right downtime tracking process in place, you won’t just know WHAT is happening across your lines. You’ll know WHY and, more importantly, you’ll know exactly what you need to do about it to optimize performance and quality across the board.

What Downtime Tracking Matters: Breaking Things Down

At its core, downtime tracking is essential because of the larger goal it helps you accomplish: you need to figure out why you’re not working as fast as you can and should be.

Sometimes it’s because one or more of your machines was offline due to a maintenance issue, yes. But it could also be because your operator has essentially throttled the machine – possibly through no fault of their own. It could also be because of micro starts and stops with the machine that are adding up to far more time than they should.

All three of these problems require vastly different approaches to fix – and you won’t know which one you need to implement unless you know EXACTLY what is happening at a moment’s notice.

With the right downtime tracking solution by your side, you won’t just have a “bird’s eye view” of your company. You’ll be able to measure your actual production output and compare it against your line’s full potential – thus easily tracking shift efficiency or analyzing trends by line in a way you simply couldn’t in the past.

How efficiently does your line produce one product versus another? Do you know what your biggest source of downtime is right now? How can you better prioritize things like equipment maintenance, purchases, and other actionable steps by the result you need to achieve the moment?

The answer to all these questions is simple: downtime tracking.

In the end, downtime tracking is able to unlock the most important advantage of all: the peace-of-mind that only comes with knowing your manufacturing efforts in the U.S. are as efficient as possible without any of the potential downsides that businesses like yours so often deal with.

If you’d like to find out more information about why downtime tracking is the FIRST thing you should be looking at when you bring your manufacturing into the United States, or if you’d just like to schedule your free demonstration to really see what our powerful solution can do, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today.

Why Quality Tracking is Imperative for Food and Beverage Businesses in Particular

Regardless of the type of business you’re running or even the industry that you’re operating in, obviously one of your biggest concerns on a daily basis is always going to be the quality of the products you put out in the world.

Not only is superior quality a way to create a genuine competitive advantage for yourself, but it’s also the most direct way to keep your customers happy and coming back for more – which may be the most important goal of all.

Having said that, there’s one industry in particular where quality tracking matters more than most. Here, it isn’t just important – it’s mission critical.

Of course, we’re talking about businesses in the food and beverage industry – and this is true for a wide range of reasons, all of which are worth exploring.

Quality Tracking: The Most Important Metric of All

Quality tracking is so important to food and beverage businesses, simply put, because “the cost of getting it wrong” in this context usually means getting people sick.

According to one study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated one out of every six Americans get sick from contaminated foods or beverages every single year. Not only that, but about 3,000 people die as a result of this issue.

Too much of the wrong ingredient won’t just change the flavor of your product – it could actually harm a large portion of your target audience. Bacteria, viruses and even parasites, if left unchecked, can easily cause illness and be deadly for people in certain high-risk groups.

All of this is a problem before you even consider the damage to your business’ reputation that will be caused by failing to pay enough attention to this one hugely important idea.

Any business operating in this industry has a responsibility to both protect people and reduce food borne illnesses in the United States and in no uncertain terms, quality tracking is a big, big part of how you do it.

The Future of Your Business Begins With the Quality Tracking Measures of Today

In the end, it’s absolutely true that quality tracking is important for any type of business you can name. But for food and beverage businesses in particular, it’s how you keep people happy AND healthy while they enjoy the products you’ve spent so much time developing.

Obviously, you never want to make people ill (or worse) – but to guarantee that with the level of consistency you need, you must have something a little more effective than just your intuition. Quality tracking is a big part of how you accomplish it and if you haven’t already started to implement these measures across your own production lines, now would be an excellent time to start.

If you’d like to learn even more about why quality tracking is mission critical for food and beverage businesses in particular, or if you’d just like to talk to someone about your own needs in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today.

The IIoT is Many Things, But One Thing It Doesn’t Have to Be is Hard

At its core, the Internet of Things refers to a series of sensors and computing devices embedded in everyday objects, allowing them to send and receive data to one another. The Industrial Internet of Things (or IIoT, for short) is an extension of this idea – obviously taking the principles of this concept and applying them to warehouses, factory floors and other environments.

If nearly every device in your business is creating and sharing data in real-time, you suddenly have more visibility into what is really going on than ever before. Mission critical equipment can alert you to a small problem today before it becomes a much bigger one that takes that machine offline next week. You can see the larger context surrounding your supply chain and logistics operations, thus optimizing your resources to do more with less in a way that you wouldn’t have been able to a year ago.

If all of this sounds complicated and difficult, that’s because it is – from a certain perspective. But with the right tool by your side, uncovering the insight contained within all of this new data is easier than you realize. For many, that tool takes the form of downtime tracking software – something that brings with it a host of unique benefits that you cannot afford to ignore any longer.

The Power of Downtime Tracking in the IIoT World

A downtime tracking solution like Thrive has always been an effective way to measure your production line efficiency in real-time. But what you might not realize is that the more data Thrive has access to, the more insight you’re able to generate.

With a tool like Thrive, you’re able to take the information your IIoT devices are measuring and visualize them in a way that makes your plant’s operational effectiveness crystal clear. You’ll be able to recognize your biggest sources of equipment downtime so that you can do something about them immediately, yes. But you’ll also be able to create actionable steps to improve quality and production, save time and eliminate waste – essentially all at the same time.

Not only that, but with production run records and other features, you can easily track shift efficiency or analyze trends by line at a moment’s notice. So from that point of view, not only are you able to embrace the IIoT in a way that improves efficiency and productivity today. With Thrive, you can keep working with that insight and intelligence to improve things even further tomorrow, next week, next year and beyond.

All of this creates a perfect storm in the best possible way for a business like yours. You’re able to virtually guarantee that metrics like availability, efficiency and quality are exactly where they need to be, which ultimately creates better products and better experiences for the customers you’ve dedicated yourself to serving.

If you’d like to find out more information about why the IIoT doesn’t have to be nearly as difficult as you might think, or if you just have any other questions that you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today.

Yes, OEE Absolutely Fits Into Your Existing Process. Here’s How.  

Original Equipment Effectiveness (or OEE for short) is a key performance indicator commonly used to determine the efficiency of manufacturing plants. The theory is that if you can accurately measure your plant’s operational effectiveness, you can understand what’s working and what isn’t – thus putting in place steps to double down on the former and get rid of the latter whenever you can.

But despite this, far too many people make the mistake of assuming that OEE is more complicated than it is – that it represents a change to “the way things are done” that they just don’t have the time or energy to make right now.

Luckily, this is false. You don’t have to change your existing process to work with OEE at all. In truth, that’s actually kind of the point.

An Organic Approach to OEE: What You Need to Know

Overall, OEE is typically applied to those manufacturing processes that create individual parts – but it can also be used in environments like refineries, too. This is because the type of data being generated by a true OEE implementation is in use practically everywhere – which is exactly why the concept has a home in your current process, too.

While OEE may be incredibly specific by its nature, it’s also a lot broader than people realize. Really, all you’re talking about is the ratio of Fully Productive Time to Planned Production Time. The first term refers to the actual amount of parts or other products that you’re manufacturing in a given period. The second refers to the highest number you can theoretically output during the same timeframe. Therefore, if yours is a manufacturing facility that produces absolutely anything – and of course it is – OEE has a home in your operations.

The difference between those two terms, by the way, is waste – which is also something everyone can benefit from eliminating.

Once you’ve identified your losses even on a single machine, you suddenly have a clearer picture than ever of the performance of your entire line. Thanks to downtime tracking software like Thrive, this is also as easy as you’d hoped it would be. In a matter of seconds after your initial activation, you can be measuring major loss factors like:

  • Equipment Failure.
  • Setups and Adjustments.
  • Idling Periods.
  • Minor Stops.
  • Reduced Speeds.
  • Process Defects.
  • Reduced Yield.
  • And more.

By making an effort to implement OEE into your existing process using Thrive and other tools, you’re not changing anything at all. Rather, you’re gaining more insight into what you’re already doing and are seeing exactly how productive you are versus how productive you can be. You’ll know more than just whether or not your lines are running – any analytical tool can tell you that, as can your own two eyes.

Instead, you’ll know exactly how efficiently they’re performing and exactly how to reduce production downtime – which is an incredibly exciting position for any manufacturing professional to be in.

If you’d like to find out more information about how OEE can effortlessly fit into your existing process, or if you’d just like to see what our innovative downtime management solution can do, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and contact Thrive today.

Why Your Ability to Visualize Data Matters More Than You Realize  

In the world of business, data is a double-edged sword in the most literal sense of the term.

On the one hand, contained inside that data is the analytical information you need to understand what is REALLY going on with your shop floor. There’s a story inside just waiting to be uncovered… but getting to that point is a lot easier said than done.

This is why, for most modern enterprises, data visualization is a critical part of what they’re doing on a daily basis. At its core, data visualization is exactly what it sounds like – the act of taking the type of information that your production lines are generating and translating it into a visual context, using it to create something like a graph or even a map.

Why Data Visualization Matters

The key benefit to all of this is that data visualization takes even complicated topics and ideas and presents them in a way that is far easier and more natural for the human brain to understand. Rather than forcing someone to wade through reams of papers that are essentially unintelligible to anyone without an advanced computer science degree, you’re presenting those same ideas to them in a visual way that makes it easier to uncover trends, patterns and even outliers in groups of data that would have otherwise gone undiscovered.

Data visualization is also one of the concepts at the heart of Thrive’s own machine downtime tracking solution – something we handle by way of our easy-to-understand dashboards and related tools. Within just seconds of activation, you can access your Thrive dashboard from any computer or device with an active Internet connection – putting invaluable insight at your fingertips, essentially from the jump.

None of this would matter if Thrive’s solution was difficult to use, for the record. Visualizing machine downtime data is great – but if the road to get to that point is overly complicated and fraught with peril, you’re not really accomplishing as much as you think you are. That’s why we’ve gone out of our way to make Thrive so easy to use that we don’t even offer training – if we had to spend hours or even days training you to use our software, we really didn’t build it right.

What you’re left with is a plug and play solution that requires no server, PLC or even software to install. In a matter of minutes, you’re able to unlock visualized data and key performance metrics that are so simple they could be understood by your newest employee, someone who has been with your business for years and absolutely everyone in between.

Regardless of the industry you’re currently operating in, that is an exciting position for any business professional to be in, no question about it.

If you’d like to find out more information about why your ability to visualize data matters more than you realize, or if you’d just like to experience Thrive’s downtime tracking solution in a way that proves how easy it is to accomplish precisely that, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today.