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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.

 

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Why OEE is the Key to the Continuous Improvement You Need  

Continuous improvement is one of those ideas that sounds great on paper, but that most manufacturing professionals also quickly find out is a lot easier said than done.

Sure, you’d love to create a situation where every day is a little bit more productive – and profitable – than the one that came before it. But how, exactly, are you supposed to do it?

Thankfully, the solution is simple – OEE, or overall equipment effectiveness. The OEE journey is an important one, but it’s also a lot more straightforward than you might think. You just need to keep a few key things in mind along the way.

The Power of OEE: Generating the Manufacturing Prowess You Need

OEE is important, in large part, because it’s a streamlined way to determine the precise efficiency of your plant operations. The only way you’re going to be able to guarantee that you’re operating at peak efficiency is if you understand what “peak efficiency” truly means in your situation. Therefore, OEE is a great way to not only measure your plant’s operational effectiveness, but to visualize it in a way that makes it easy for literally anyone to understand.

Once you understand the exact issues that are limiting your quality and production capabilities, that are costing you precious time, and that are creating more waste than you care to deal with, you can put actionable steps in place to improve these factors across the board. Sounds easy, right?

With the right solution, it absolutely is – and for most organizations, downtime tracking software marks the beginning of this journey into a larger world.

Thrive’s automated downtime tracking and analysis software is designed from the ground up not only with continuous improvement in mind, but also with ease-of-use being a top priority. You shouldn’t need to hire a team of developers or engineers to use the software, let alone to interpret the critical analytics that it’s feeding you on a daily basis. We’ve always said that if we need to train you to use our solution, we didn’t build it right – and we’re eager to prove to you just how true that really is.

Thrive is plug and play, meaning that it’s easy to install and you can access the intelligence it provides within seconds of activation. With a wide variety of different built-in reports – all of which are fully customizable – you can also dive deep into the metrics that matter most to you to get insight into YOUR operations, not someone else’s.

What you’re left with is more than just a way to finally understand what is causing downtime on your shop floor. You have the rock-solid foundation upon which all of your other OEE efforts will be built.

If you’d like to learn more about why OEE is the key to the continuous improvement your business needs to remain successful, or if you just have additional questions that you’d like to go over with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today.

 

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Want to Reduce Downtime? The Journey Begins By Starting to Track It  

On your average factory floor, instances of downtime could be caused by an unfortunately large number of reasons. Maybe you’re dealing with more micro starts and stops than you realize. Maybe your operator has throttled a machine to the point where it isn’t operating at peak efficiency any longer. Maybe it’s something else entirely.

Truly, it doesn’t matter – what you’re really dealing with is a situation where you’re not working as fast as you should, and you need to know why. Not tomorrow, not next week. Today. Right now.

If you don’t understand downtime within the context of your specific business, you really can’t do much – if anything – to avoid and eliminate it. That’s why if you truly want to reduce downtime (and make no mistake, you should), you need to put a plan in place to track it moving forward.

Downtime Tracking: The Key Tool You’re Not Utilizing Enough

To truly take advantage of your quest to reduce downtime for your business, you need to see it for what it really is: a marathon, not a sprint.

At Thrive, that marathon begins by way of our innovative downtime tracking solution. In minutes, it gives you access to all of the accurate, actionable information you need to not only understand WHAT is happening across your production lines, but WHY. This puts you in an incredible position to actually do something about it in a way that makes sense given exactly what you’re trying to accomplish.

Once you have total visibility into downtime, you can then move onto the next level of your journey – performance. WHY are you only producing 55 products a minute when you should really be producing 60? What is happening to cause that gap? What can you do about it?

Downtime tracking is the key to answering all of these questions as quickly as possible.

At that point, you can tackle the most important part of the journey of all: quality. Regardless of the type of industry you’re talking about, quality is of the utmost importance. Both in terms of keeping people safe (as is true with food and beverage companies) and with regards to carving out a competitive advantage for yourself.

The nexus between downtime, performance and quality tracking is the position that Thrive calls home. Yes, tracking things in this level of detail is difficult because there are so many moving parts at any given moment. But with the right solution by your side – like the one we’ve worked so hard to build – you’ll find that it’s every bit as easy (and dare we say, enjoyable) as you need it to be.

If you want to guarantee that the future of your business is as bright as it can possibly be, in our own humble opinion this is exactly how you do it.

If you’d like to discover even more ways in which tracking downtime can have a dramatic impact on your entire facility, 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.

 

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Using Downtime Tracking to Build a Better Future For Your Business

Imagine a scenario where you knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, why downtime was happening on your shop floor. It didn’t matter what you were in the middle of or what machine you were talking about – you could not only define a reason for stoppages, but you could do so in real-time from literally any device in your possession with an active Internet connection.

How much more productive do you think you would be overall? How much better (and easier) would your decision-making abilities get? What would the future of your business be like if you could use this accurate, actionable, and analytical information today to start building from?

Luckily, you don’t have to wonder about the answers to these questions much longer. Your ability to track downtime in this way is here – and it’s a lot easier to take advantage of than you might think.

The Power of Downtime Tracking: The 21st Century Solution for the 21st Century Business

The problem with the way that most businesses handle downtime tracking is that they’re still doing so manually. Sure, this gives them a bit of insight to work from – but they have to travel an incredibly long road to get it.

With a cloud-based downtime tracking solution like the one offered from Thrive, on the other hand, you’re letting modern technology do the work for you. Just minutes after your initial deployment, you know whether your lines are running, how efficiently they’re operating, and exactly how to reduce production downtime across the board.

But more than that, you’re getting unrestricted access to the type of real-time data and reporting that you can use to not only meet your production goals today, but to optimize your operations so that those goals are even more robust and impressive moving forward.

In essence, what you’re really talking about is an unbeatable opportunity to let the past inform the future. You can track your productive line efficiency in real-time, all in a way that lets you analyze trends and patterns that would have otherwise gone undiscovered. You can do so according to a specific shift, a production line or even right down to the SKU.

But the biggest benefit of all is that Thrive’s solution in particular was designed to be every bit as easy as you need it to be. If we even have to do so much as train you on how to use our product, we didn’t build it right. From that perspective, we’re proud of the fact that we’ve finally given you access to the insight and information that you need, all in a way that literally anybody can take advantage of at a moment’s notice.

Truly, downtime tracking’s role in the future of your business doesn’t get much more straightforward than that.

If you’d like to find out more information about how you can use downtime tracking to build a better future for your business, or if you’d just like to experience our own innovative (and easy!) downtime tracking solution up close and personal, please don’t hesitate to contact Thrive today.

 

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Uncovering the Real Story About Your Business That OEE is Trying to Tell You  

Obviously, every manufacturer out there makes peak productivity a top priority – regardless of what it is that you’re actually manufacturing. If you’re able to produce only the highest quality parts, as quickly as your lines will allow, with little to no stop time to speak of, you’ve done exactly that – which is also what OEE or “Overall Equipment Effectiveness” is all about.

But at the same time, OEE is more than just another metric and it goes above and beyond a standard best practice. It may be one of the biggest sources of insight you have into the opportunities that can improve your manufacturing process. Because if you’re able to dive beneath the data to uncover the true story hiding in plain sight, you have everything you need to identify losses, benchmark progress and more – all at the exact same time.

The True Power of OEE: Breaking Things Down

To get a better idea of all this in action, consider things within the context of one of the most important factors that influences OEE: quality. Any Overall Equipment Effectiveness measurement always takes into consideration something called Quality Loss, which is when you end up manufacturing parts that do not meet quality standards.

Obviously, knowing that this is happening is important. But knowing WHY is the more critical part of the equation and to get that insight, you have to go deeper than just a number on a metric sheet.

Quality Loss could involve scrap and parts that need to be reworked. It could be good parts that weren’t able to successfully move through the manufacturing process for some reason. Those two issues have very different solutions and until you know exactly what you’re dealing with, you don’t know which to implement.

The same is true for availability. Just because your availability isn’t currently 100% doesn’t necessarily mean you have a problem on your hands. You could be dealing with planned stops like changeover time or plant shutdowns, breaks, lunches or even periods when there are no orders. Whether those things are taking longer than they should be is another story, but you can’t discount the fact that they exist altogether.

All of this is a long way of saying that Overall Equipment Effectiveness is every bit as much an art as it is a science. Yes, there’s a tremendous amount of data involved but until you truly understand what that data is trying to tell you, you don’t have access to the insight you need to make better and more informed decisions moving forward.

Once you do unlock that level of understanding, however, you can begin to measure those metrics that are truly important to you. At that point, you’ll have everything you need to improve your manufacturing processes across the board – which is how the competitive advantage that you’ll use to fuel the next decade of your business’ success will be born.

If you’d like to find out even more information about the true narrative hidden beneath your OEE stats, or if you’d just like to talk to someone about your own needs in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and contact Thrive today.

 

 

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The Dramatic Impact That OEE Can Have Across Your Entire Production Line

If you had to make a list of all the key metrics that your business should be concerning itself with on a daily basis, OEE would be right at the top.

Short for Overall Equipment Effectiveness, you’re talking about the single biggest opportunity you have to not only identify losses, but to do so in a way that also helps you intelligently benchmark progress, holistically improve the productivity of your manufacturing equipment and eliminate as much waste as possible, essentially all at the same time.

Make absolutely no mistake about it: OEE is more than just another best practice. It’s not a trend or a passing fad. It’s a chance to inject a shot of adrenalin across your entire production line in a way that is far too important for you to ignore.

Breaking Down the Incredible Impact of OEE

Part of the reason why OEE matters so much is because even something as simple as downtime tracking can mean so many different things depending on the situation.

Yes, you know that your lines aren’t running as effectively as they should be. You may even know which piece of equipment was offline and when. But do you know WHY? Do you know what events led to that moment of downtime? But more than that, are you able to interpret the data you’ve already created in a way that doesn’t take an advanced computer science degree to understand?

Probably not – which is why OEE is invaluable. It lets you dive deep into important factors like:

  • Availability. This part of OEE takes into careful consideration things like both unplanned and planned stops, giving you a critical level of context where one never existed in the past.
  • Performance. This allows you to carefully examine things like slow cycles and small stops.
  • Quality. This gives you additional insight into concepts like defects, which absolutely includes parts that eventually needed to be reworked.

The closer each of these scores is to 100%, the more effective your operations are running. So you don’t just know WHY you aren’t operating how you should be. You also know which of these areas you need to pay more attention to, and which are essentially taken care of.

What you’re left with is ultimately a much more vivid picture about what is REALLY going on across your production line than ever before. One that allows you to dive beneath all that data your business is creating to uncover the true story hidden underneath. And with a tool like Thrive, you can do so in a way that literally anyone in your business can use and capitalize on.

Truly, what could be more important than that?

If you’d like to discover even more ways in which OEE can have a dramatic impact across your entire production line, or if you’d just like to discuss your own downtime tracking needs with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today.

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How to Implement OEE in Your Workplace  

Generally speaking, OEE (or overall equipment effectiveness) is about measuring manufacturing productivity in a way that makes sense in the context of your unique business. There is no “one size fits all” way to run a factory floor. Only by understanding why you’re experiencing stop time, why you’re not hitting the quality markers you need, and why you’re not moving as quickly as you’d like will you be able to put actionable steps in place to improve things as much as possible.

OEE is an effective way to tackle all of these issues at the exact same time because if you understand your situation, you can measure it. If you can measure it, you can improve it. Thankfully, implementing OEE in your own workplace is fairly straightforward – you’ll just need to keep a few key best practices in mind.

Implementing OEE: An Overview

Overall, implementing OEE in your own business means having access to the tools necessary to generate the insight needed to understand and improve upon those factors outlined above.

But again – no two manufacturing businesses are created equally. For the best results, you need to settle on an approach that works for you and you alone.

This means defining what OEE means to you BEFORE your project begins. What, exactly, are you trying to accomplish? Which issues are you constantly dealing with that you’d like to get more insight on? What metrics matter most to you given your long-term goals as a company? The answers to these questions will absolutely fuel the majority of your decisions moving forward.

Then and only then, you can put into place the types of tools you need to capture the OEE data necessary for the goals you just set for yourself. For many organizations, downtime tracking solutions like Thrive’s will be a lynch pin to this process. It’s a viable way to get a better understanding of why you’re experiencing downtime, sure – but it’s also a core part of how you’ll calculate availability, performance and quality. Those three ideas are at the heart of OEE and you need to put a priority on them moving forward.

Once you have detailed data about downtime, you can dive deeper into why these issues are occurring. Suddenly, things that were once murky become clear and unambiguous in a way that allows you to finally act on this intelligence. You can then do the same analysis of quality and other factors, painting a clearer picture of exactly what you’re dealing with.

At that point, you won’t just know which aspects of your operations are working – more importantly, you’ll know which ones AREN’T. Given that superior level of insight, making improvements requires little more than implementing the right changes at exactly the right time.

Contact Thrive today to learn more about how to implement OEE in your workplace and discuss your specific needs with an expert who truly understands your business.

 

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What Do Tightening Tax Laws Mean for the Resources You Need to Operate, and How Can Downtime Tracking Software Help?

Even though many states are loosening restrictions and are starting to open back up again, the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic are far from over. This is particularly true in terms of the impact on how you’re able to do business – something that probably won’t be “going back to normal” anytime soon.

Thanks largely to issues like COVID-19 surpluses, experts are already predicting that tax laws are going to tighten in the near future. This is true in light of the fact that the federal government has already sent orders and restrictions to regular taxpayers. Some are suggesting that this may actually cut you off from the resources your plant needs to operate at a time when you really can’t afford to have that happen.

Luckily, you do still have an asset that you can depend on – and a powerful one, at that. Downtime tracking software is about to become more valuable than ever before, for several key reasons that are more than worth exploring.

Tax Laws, COVID-19, and Downtime Tracking: What You Need to Know

To speak to the subject of tax laws, one of the most important that you’ll want to pay attention to moving forward has to do with Section 179. This is a provision in the tax law made possible under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that allows business owners like yourself to deduct the full purchase price of qualified equipment from their organization’s gross income.

Likewise, a bonus depreciation of 100% is also available on certain business assets that meet the provision’s criteria, which you can read more about right here.

The good news is that downtime tracking software absolutely falls under that umbrella – meaning that if this isn’t something you’ve already been experimenting with across your enterprise, now would be an excellent time to start thanks to a cost of entry that is far lower than ever before.

But even going beyond that, the purchase of downtime tracking software may very well be your best opportunity to get “back on your feet” once COVID-19 has finally left us behind. At its core, downtime tracking is a viable way to figure out why you’re not working as fast as you should be. You know more than just “I was supposed to produce 500 parts in the last hour and I only produced 400.”

You don’t just know what is happening – you know WHY it’s happening. This provides you with the meaningful, real-time insight you need to actually fix the problem as quickly as possible – thus allowing you to get the most out of the resources you need to operate, regardless of how scarce they may become in the future.

If you’d like to find out more information about what tightening tax laws mean for the resources you need to operate, or if you’re just looking for additional insight into why downtime tracking software can actually help with this issue, please don’t hesitate to contact Thrive today.

Not only will we go over your options about buying out your system, but we’ll also help you write off 100% of that purchase when tax season rolls around yet again!