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Why Ease of Use is the Most Important Factor of All When it Comes to Downtime Tracking Software   

Obviously, the benefits of tracking downtime across your production lines are as enormous as they are essential. You can’t monitor what you’re not tracking, and only with the right solution by your side will you be able to view real-time efficiency information in just a few quick clicks of your mouse. Only with the right, powerful tool will you be able to diagnose issues with any device on the shop floor at a moment’s notice. Only technology can bring you the historical performance data you need to see how far you’ve come and, more importantly, where you might be headed. The list goes on and on. 

But while all of these features are critical, there is one that matters more than ever that far too many people don’t pay attention to until it’s too late. That element is ease of use, and it can make a big difference for your own efforts moving forward. 

Why Ease of Use Matters Most of All 

Think about it like this: the volume of data your business is creating on a daily basis is enormous. Not only do you have access to insight about every last piece of equipment you own, but you can also see operator information and get a better understanding of how these two elements interact with one another. Hidden inside that data is the true story of what is REALLY going on with your business – all you need to do is figure out how to extract it and you’ll have everything you need to make the best decisions possible, no matter what. 

Downtime tracking software is designed to BE that solution… but it ultimately isn’t doing anybody any good if you need an advanced engineering or computer science degree to use it. 

Why invest in downtime tracking if every last employee on your shop floor can’t use it? If you need to bring in a secondary team to support your people all the time, are you really dealing with a “solution” at all? Not really. 

At Thrive, we designed our downtime tracking system to be as easy to use as possible for this reason – because literally anyone in your business should be able to get started in a matter of seconds. It doesn’t matter what their background is or how long they’ve been with your company. In fact, we believe that if we have to train you on how to use our software, we didn’t actually design it right – so we’ve pulled out all the stops to show you just how committed we are to making your experience as easy and as effortless as possible. 

If you’d like to learn even more about why ease of use is the most important factor of all when it comes to downtime tracking software, or if you’d just like to discuss your own needs as a business with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today. 

 

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All the Important Features That Your Manufacturing Software Needs to Provide     

One of the most important things to understand about manufacturing software is that no two options are created equally. Yes, they’re all designed for businesses LIKE yours – but depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, they may not be the right fit given your long-term strategy. 

For example: if continuous improvement is one of your major focuses as a manufacturer and as a business professional, there are a number of key features you’ll want to make sure any manufacturing software you choose to invest in includes. 

Critical Features for Your Manufacturing Software: Breaking Things Down 

Obviously, as a manufacturer, one of your top priorities always involves keeping every last piece of equipment on your shop floor up and running for as long as possible. Therefore, it makes sense that the number one feature you want to look for in manufacturing software comes by way of some form of comprehensive downtime tracking functionality. 

Remember that downtime tracking is about more than just gaining an understanding of your line’s efficiency. It’s also your key to instantly learning the cause, the length and even the frequency of downtime events – including small ones like those micro starts and stops that you may not have been paying attention to but that are costing huge amounts of time and money just the same. 

Not only that, but innovative solutions like Thrive take this one step further by using a unique algorithm to calculate the impact on uptime and production each downtime event WOULD have had if it had been fixed. So not only will you know what your biggest source of downtime is right now, but you’ll also be able to see the major advantages you’ll achieve if you set your mind to fixing it, too. 

These days, another one of the most important features to look for in manufacturing software has to do with dashboards that take all of your complicated, high volume data and distill it down into a series of visual charts that literally anyone in your business can understand. You should be able to log into this dashboard from any device on Earth with an active Internet connection thanks to the cloud, and you should be able to access and print a performance snapshot anytime, anywhere, no exceptions. At any given moment, you should never be more than just a few quick mouse clicks away from seeing your equipment’s efficiency, your historical performance, operator comments and more – all in any date range that you choose. 

Speaking of date ranges, your manufacturing software should also offer historical performance dating back days, weeks, months or even years if you so choose. Then and only then will you be able to learn what the past is trying to tell you in order to build a much more successful (not to mention profitable) future for your organization. 

To find out more about all of the important features that your manufacturing software needs to be able to provide, or to get answers to any other important questions that you may have, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today. 

 

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The Art of Making the Most Out of Planned Downtimes     

By far, one of the most frustrating “costs of doing business” for any manufacturer is downtime in all its forms. 

Yes, if you had to pick between unplanned and planned downtimes, the latter is always preferred. Planned periods of downtime you can control, whereas unplanned instances are fraught with uncertainty and frustration. 

Having said that, you don’t necessarily have to write planned downtimes off as an “inconvenience that you’re just going to have to deal with.” In fact, you can actually turn it into an opportunity to shift your attention to other matters that are just as critical to your long-term success. 

Turning Planned Downtime Into an Opportunity: Your Overview 

Obviously, whether you’re talking about a planned lunch break period or an entire shift change, you’ll want to keep even your planned downtimes as short and as infrequent as possible. Every minute that those machines are offline is a minute that you’re not making money and especially given everything that is going on in the world right now, that’s probably a situation you’d want to avoid if you’re able to. 

Having said that, planned downtimes are actually a perfect opportunity to take care of a lot of those preventative maintenance items that you’ve been working through on your checklist. Rather than waiting for something to break so that you can fix it, it makes far more sense to stop a small problem today before it has a chance to become a much bigger (not to mention more expensive) one down the road. 

Of course, maybe the biggest criticism that a lot of people have when it comes to preventative maintenance is that you’re performing “excessive maintenance.” To put it another way, people are concerned that technicians are spending so much time inspecting and maintaining pieces of equipment that probably don’t (yet) require that level of attention-to-detail. 

While this is certainly valid from one perspective, it also underlines the importance of having the right downtime tracking solution by your side in the first place. By understanding the maximum potential of each piece of equipment on your shop floor, and by being able to take a closer look at their current status at a moment’s notice, you always know WHERE to direct those human resources during periods of planned downtimes. 

They don’t have to spend time inspecting everything only to accomplish nothing if everything is working as it should be. But by tracking OEE, you won’t have to go looking for those “small problems to fix” today because the data will come right out and tell you. That way, during shift changes or lunch periods, technicians can step in and address those issues to avoid costly UNPLANNED periods of downtime moving forward. 

If you’d like to find out even more information about what you can do to make the most out of planned downtime events, or if you’d just like to discuss your needs as a business with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today. 

 

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How Downtime Tracking Software Can Help You Cut Overtime     

One of the major things that people often overlook when discussing downtime ultimately comes down to the human costs associated with it. That is to say, those factors that may not necessarily be obvious like an urgent repair but that can cost a company just as much money if officials aren’t careful. 

Case in point: too much downtime almost always creates the need for overtime at the worst possible moment. If a critical piece of equipment suddenly goes down and you were only able to produce 50 parts per hour over the last eight hours when you really needed to produce 100, the needs of your client don’t change. The parameters of the original order aren’t thrown out the window. That client still needs 400 additional parts and they need them as quickly as possible – which means that your skilled workers are going to need to stay longer to make sure the job gets done. 

The Human Impact of Too Much Downtime 

More often than not, overtime is incredibly expensive for companies – creating a situation that further harms their profits beyond simply making them deal with lost profits. If you’re forced to work overtime and still can’t quite close the gap on those 400 parts, you’re also going to harm the relationship between your business and that client, too. 

But with downtime tracking, these are exactly the types of situations you’ll be able to avoid. Rather than guessing as to the cause of a particular downtime incident, you’ll know beyond the shadow of a doubt. You’ll know if it came down to operator inefficiency or maintenance issues with core equipment or shift changes that took too long or something else entirely. You’ll be able to allocate funds for additional training or identify poor performance equipment so that you can prioritize maintenance in a more intelligent way. 

You’ll know why the downtime is happening so that you can put a stop to it as soon as possible – thus removing the need for all that overtime to begin with. 

If you know exactly what steps you need to take to unlock the true potential of both your equipment and your employees, you’ll be operating at peak efficiency at all times. At that point, you won’t have to worry about overtime because it would never be needed – you’re already making the most of every hour of the day as it is. 

That creates more than just a situation where your business is operating more profitably than ever. It will absolutely impact the quality of the work you’re able to do in a positive way, too – which will go a long way towards creating a genuine competitive advantage for yourself at the exact same time. 

If you’d like to find out even more information about how the right downtime tracking software can help you cut overtime and more, or if you’d just like to discuss your own needs with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today. 

 

 

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How to Measure Your Efficiency in Real Time and Why This is So Important   

In general, real time efficiency tracking is exactly what it sounds like: your ability to dive deep into what is going on with your production lines and monitor things as they happen. Rather than waiting for someone to hand you a report at the end of the day, you see what is happening instantly – all so that you can make better and more informed decisions across the board. 

Many manufacturers make the mistake of relying exclusively on historical data and reporting and, while this is also telling, only real time efficiency monitoring will bring with it a number of clear advantages that your business simply cannot afford to overlook. 

Why Real Time Visibility Matters: Letting the Present Inform the Future 

One of the biggest advantages that real time tracking and monitoring brings to the table ultimately comes down to an increased sense of responsibility (not to mention accountability) on behalf of your operators. If you always know exactly how efficient someone is being at a moment’s notice, you know who is already doing their best and who could need a little more guidance. Maybe someone needs a bit of additional training on this one particular machine. Perhaps they need more help becoming invested in your company culture. Regardless, these are the types of issues that you’ll know about immediately – putting you in an excellent position to do something about them right away. 

Obviously, one of the main advantages of real time efficiency tracking comes down to how it can help you decrease (and often eliminate) downtime across your company. Keep in mind that when you partner with a downtime tracking and management solution like Thrive, this means that you can track your production line efficiency on an ongoing basis and analyze trends according to shift, line or even SKU. If your downtime issues are a matter of all those micro starts and stops throughout the day adding up to a much greater period than you realized, you’re going to know about it. If it’s a larger problem and you have to optimize assets or prioritize certain types of maintenance over others, you’re going to know about that, too. 

In the end, you should remember that yes, historical data is incredibly important – but it’s also just one small part of a much larger story. Equally critical is your ability to take a look at exactly what is going on across your production lines at a moment’s notice. By being able to see exactly what is going on right now, you’ll have a better idea of where you’re headed – and you have better control over that destination as well. 

If you’d like to find out more information about how to measure your efficiency in real time and why this is so important to your ongoing success, or if you’d just like to discuss your own needs with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today. 

 

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Unlock the Narrative Hidden Inside Your Historical Data With the Right Solution   

With the sheer volume of data that your business is creating on a daily basis, simply making sense of it all can often feel like an uphill battle. But what you’re talking about is more than just 1s and 0s sitting on a hard drive somewhere. 

Inside that data is the true story of what is really going on with your business – not just in terms of where you’ve come from, but also with regards to where you’re likely headed. If you want to uncover that narrative and get to the truth of your company, you need the right solution designed for all of this and more. 

Historical Data: The True Story of What’s Happening With Your Business 

With the right downtime tracking solution like Thrive by your side, you can always access a historical performance chart that lets you trend your equipment’s performance by days, weeks, months or even years. If you want to “go back in time” and see exactly how a shift performed last week or last month, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you. 

But what this comprehensive level of reporting really does involves allowing you to let the past inform the future, so to speak. If you know where you currently stand today and you know where you started, you know exactly how far you were able to come – and you know what worked and what didn’t along the way. 

Historical performance charts with this level of detail will show you when a piece of equipment or even an entire shift is suddenly getting less and less efficient over time, for example. You can pinpoint exactly where the issue began and, in all likelihood, what caused it. Maybe you hired an operator who wasn’t trained properly. Perhaps it’s an issue with a legacy piece of equipment that is no longer as effective as it once was and maintenance will now need to be prioritized moving forward. Regardless of what your hypothesis happens to be, the data will confirm it – thus allowing you to make smarter and more informed choices moving forward. 

But the major reason why the historical performance reporting in a solution like Thrive are so critical is because they unlock true company-wide reporting, probably for the first time. 

With Thrive, you can see both the current and historical performance of EVERY location in your company in a single, easy-to-understand chart. Not only can you see which plants are historically underperforming given a particular task, but you can also find locations that can easily accept more volume, too. This puts you in a position to better allocate training funds, upgrade technology and more – all because historical data allowed you to uncover trends and patterns that wouldn’t have otherwise been obvious. 

If you’d like to find out more information about unlocking the narrative hidden inside your historical data, or if you’d just like to learn more about our innovative downtime tracking solution and what it can do for a business like yours, please don’t hesitate to contact Thrive today. 

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What to Look for in a Downtime Tracking Solution Partner  

More and more manufacturers want to start intelligently tracking downtime these days, but a lot of them aren’t sure where to begin. Typically, the first step you need to take involves finding yourself a partner who can offer an intuitive, scalable and flexible downtime tracking solution to meet your needs. But be warned – not all so-called “partners” are created equally. 

A Genuine Collaborator in Every Sense of the Term 

Maybe the most important thing to look for when choosing a downtime tracking solution partner has to do with their perspective about your relationship in general. You don’t need someone who is going to come in, offer you a generic solution and say “here, we’ve done our part, good luck.” You need someone who is ready to work with your business to build the best downtime tracking experience possible, regardless of what that looks like within the context of your business. 

Case in point: at Thrive, we only build things into our solution because our customers expressly ask for it. We never add something simply because it’s cool or flashy, or because we think the market needs it. 

Everyone in the industry is going in the same, complex direction. They’re adding more features, more functionality, more pointless automation – you name it. Because we actually listen to and collaborate with our customers, we’re actually going in the opposite direction at Thrive. We only build what you tell us to and we’re focused on creating something that allows you not to replace your workforce, but make the most out of them. 

Not Just an Easy Solution, But Effortless 

Another one of the major things to look for in a downtime tracking partner ultimately has to do with the level of support they’re willing to offer long after that initial purchase is made. 

At Thrive, it’s absolutely true that we’re always available to answer your questions about how our solution works – but honestly, we don’t think we’re going to get to that point. We purposely don’t offer training of any kind because we built our solution from the top down to be so easy that anyone can do it. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about someone who has been with your business for years or who just walked in the door for the first time last week – they’ll be able to pick right up and get to work like an old pro. 

Other companies design software that is intentionally confusing and cumbersome so that they can sell you support services later – and that’s just now how we’ve ever done things and we’re certainly not going to start. If we have to train you on how to use our software, we believe that means we didn’t build it right to begin with. 

If you’d like to find out more information about what to look for in a downtime tracking solutions partner, or if you’d just like to learn more about our own downtime tracking and OEE management software to see more about what it can do, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today. 

 

 

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The Long-Term Benefits of Implementing a Downtime Tracking Solution   

Believe it or not, there are still people who are skeptical as to the value of downtime tracking software. “I know whether or not my equipment is running,” they say to themselves. “I have eyes. What do I need that type of tool for?” 

Yes, downtime tracking is a great way to provide real-time equipment performance tracking. But the long-term benefits are so much greater than that – especially as your business continues to grow and expand in the future. 

The Major Advantages of Downtime Tracking: Your Overview 

Possibly the biggest long-term benefit of implementing a downtime tracking solution has to do with how you’re never more than a few quick mouse clicks away from a total road map of all equipment performance across your business. It’s so simple to compile this information that you can easily do so right before your morning meeting as you’re still having that fresh cup of coffee. 

But this is about more than just convenience, of course. If you know exactly how your equipment is performing (and can compare the current status to historical data), you can identify poor performing equipment almost instantly. Then, you can hand that insight off to your maintenance team so that they can prioritize their own activities throughout the day in a more efficient way. You can see how minor and even major actions will impact production, thus informing your maintenance team about what is a high priority for the day and what can be pushed off down the road a bit. 

Speaking of historical data, this is another one of the most significant long-term advantages of implementing a downtime tracking solution like Thrive – it actually gets more invaluable and more insightful the longer you use it. 

With historical performance charts, you can track your equipment’s performance by individual machines or by entire lines over a period of days, weeks, months or even years. This is a great way to see how your overall equipment effectiveness changes over time. You can also see the results of actions you’re taking in the present day and watch as your entire business trends towards reduced downtime and increased efficiency. 

Plus, with company-wide reporting, you can manage multiple locations within the same business from the Thrive dashboard – even if they’re all spread out across the country or even the state. You can easily compare lines that produce the same product to find plants that can accept more volume, as well as quickly identify those that are underperforming. Are you looking at a situation where one plant needs a bit more training? Is it simply a matter of people being forced to make do with outdated technology that could easily be upgraded? Do you need more standardized practices to keep things running smoothly? 

A downtime tracking solution can help you answer all of these questions and more, which is why this is one investment that is absolutely worth making for your business. 

If you’d like to find out more information about the undeniable long-term benefits of implementing a downtime tracking solution, or if you’d just like to discuss your own needs as a business with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay - contact Thrive today.