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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!

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How Small Manufacturers Can Use The OEE Metric

Implementing OEE Small BusinessAwareness of the importance of the OEE metric has been growing among small business owners and managers. Many small manufacturers are looking to implement this metric to maximize their equipment efficiency. However, implementing the OEE metric properly can be a big change. Thankfully, small manufacturers are more agile than larger manufacturers, so they can streamline and restructure their operations more quickly. The main challenge that small manufacturers face is not the time it will take to implement OEE, but the fact they literally cannot afford confusion or poor implementation. Read on to learn how small manufacturers can efficiently implement OEE.

Learn How To Measure OEE Accurately Beforehand

OEE can be calculated using a simple formula. The formula is as follows: OEE= Availability x Performance x Quality. Availability can be calculated using unscheduled time and unplanned downtime. Performance can be calculated using the total number of units produced and the target number of units produced. Quality, of course, is comprised of the number of units that meet quality control standards.

Separate Unscheduled & Unavailable Time

It is important that small manufacturers separate unscheduled and unavailable time. Unscheduled time does not need to be taken into account when reducing downtime. Unavailable time is what comprises OEE downtime. There are several categories of unscheduled time, and only time that falls into these categories should be not be considered. If there is a lack of customer orders, then this time is unscheduled, not unavailable. If there is a lack of resources or personnel caused by forces outside of the company’s control, then this is also unscheduled time. Finally, time spent on research and development work, which may be minimal for a small manufacturer, also counts as unscheduled time.

Calculate OEE Using The Maximum Theoretical Production Speed

Small manufacturers often have not optimized their processes to the same degree that large manufacturers have. This may make it tempting for these small manufacturers to use a target production speed that is lower than the theoretical maximum when calculating OEE. This makes optimal efficiency much easier to achieve. However, OEE calculated with less than the theoretical maximum production speed is not truly optimal efficiency. This may not seem like a big deal, but hitting supposed optimal efficiency (which isn’t really optimal) can breed complacency, which can be a killer for a small manufacturer. A large manufacturing concern can afford stagnation. A small manufacturer needs to focus on sustainable growth, which can come from properly optimizing their business.

Don’t Procrastinate

There will certainly be a learning curve when first measuring OEE and striving to optimize a small There were no Copyscape matches found. manufacturer. Many small businesses, especially small manufacturers, operate on very thin margins. There will inevitably be some inefficiency and confusion when first trying to achieve full OEE. However, a well-thought-out implementation will start paying dividends in short order.

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Industrial Internet of Things- Challenges in Manufacturing

The industrial internet of things, IIoT, is when “smart” sensors are used to boost and upgrade manufacturing and industrial processes. IIoT allows machines to produce real-time analytics and data to help improve communication within your operation. While there are many benefits of IIOT, there are also some challenges within the manufacturing industry.

Integration and Implementation

Integrating information technology and operational technology within IIT is a complicated challenge. Implementing this technology can be even more difficult when all existing machines within an operation are working perfectly fine. When a machine is working, it can be hard to justify a massive expense. You cannot simple pick and choose what IIoT technology you’d like to integrate- it’s essentially all or nothing. This technology would have to complete replace current existing equipment.


As we briefly stated about, finances are a major challenge with IIoT technology. It’s a massive expense that is simply not practical or possible for many small businesses. IIoT is still considered new technology and the data to back it up can be hard to find. Without seeing the number of operations industrial IoT technology has helped, it can be hard to shell out the cash.


Security is perhaps the biggest concern with IIoT technologies. Security breaches affect not only the operation itself, but the employees within the operation as well. As with any system that stores and analyzes data, IIoT technology is very vulnerable to hacking, along with other security concerns. If, for example, the system or machines are hacked, production could be delayed or halted entirely. Cyber security is also very limited with IIoT which is another main reason that companies are so hesitant to implement it.


Connectivity, or lack thereof, is a challenge that IIoT technology has to overcome. When any system becomes wireless, a myriad of issues follows closely behind. Wireless connection also leaves more room for security issues when not integrated and monitored properly.

Come and Thrive

Is it possible to overcome the challenges that the industrial internet of things technology presents? With the right team and operation, yes.

While industrial IoT brings on many challenges, it has several benefits as well. Real-time analytics and data make IIoT highly effective and efficient within day to day operations. Operators will be able to manage the facility more effectively by keeping machines operating to increase production. Real-time information is also extremely beneficial within logistics and supply chain management. Data can be collected more quickly and predict any issues that could affect inventory.

Have more questions about the challenges you could face with IIoT technology? Give us a call and we will help you thrive: 1 (888) 499-7772.

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Technology Trends within the Manufacturing Industry

2019 has proved that the manufacturing industry is continuing to grow and evolve at an explosive rate. As a result of improving technologies, operations are operating more efficiently to save money and boost production. The top 4 manufacturing trends in 2019 are:

1) Industrial Internet of Things

The industrial internet of things, IIoT, is one of the top manufacturing trends in 2019. IIoT is comprised of “smart” sensors that are used to enhance manufacturing and industrial processes and equipment. Industrial IoT allows machines to produce real-time analytics and data to help improve communication and efficiency within your operation.

In its simplest form, industrial IoT is made up of two main components: smart sensors and cloud (wireless) computing.

Many manufacturers believe that IIoT technology will drastically increase profits for manufacturers within the coming years. Industrial IoT technology continues to be fleshed out, but the future is certainly very bright.

2) 3D Printing

While 3D printing is not entirely new technology, it has continued to develop since its creation. 3D printing allows for faster and less expensive production which can save companies time and money. Sounds pretty good, right?

3D printing also allows companies to produce certain items on demand and in-house- no need to bother storage. This technology makes cost-effective, on-site and in-house production possible!

3) Collaborative Robots

Also known as cobots, collaborative robots are made to work side by side with their human counterparts. These incredible pieces of technology continue to aid in production speed, enhance accuracy, and replace unnecessary human labor. Cobots will not completely replace human labor but enhance it. These robots simply work alongside employees to boost production and internal efficiency.

4) Cyber Security

As the industry continues to solidify itself into the digital era, the need for a tight cyber security plan is at an all time high. A cyber security system can help protect your overall operation, the employees within your operation, and confidential customer information. Cyber security breaches can happen to any company, large or small. The most common cyber security breach is hacking, which can not only halt production, but completely shut down a company.

Efficiency realized with Thrive

2019 has been an integral year for technology advances within the manufacturing industry. Success aligns with the four trends that will continue remain prevalent being industrial IoT, 3D printing, cobots, and increased cyber security.

At Thrive, we eat, sleep, and breathe efficiency. Our automated downtime tracking software measures efficiency within your operation in real-time, so you will stay up to date. Ready to Thrive? Request a free demo today!

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Automated Production Reporting in Manufacturing

Saving time and money is a top priority for manufacturers across the industry and automatic data collection does just that. Manually collected data limits your facility’s opportunity to grow and be as efficient as possible.

Reducing machine downtime and producing unbiased and accurate results is vital to the success of every manufacturer. Manually collected data is not efficient because data is entered in the system by a human operator. Sure, your employees are the best in the industry, but human error is inevitable. Automated production reporting will take you one step closer to dominating the industry.

The Dangers of Manually Collected Data

The 3 main disadvantages of manually collected data is that the results are: untimely, inaccurate, and biased. As mentioned above, this is generally due to inevitable human error. You can’t control it- everyone makes mistakes!

Typically, manually collected data is entered into the system at specific times like the end of a shift. Within those times, the health and efficiency of a machine are unknown. When a machine goes down, it can take maintenance hours to respond, which can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. If the machine is down for longer, it can take insufficient amounts of time to keep jobs moving through the que.

It’s unfortunately very common for inaccurate data to slip through the system. Accidents happen, but they can be extremely costly. Written data can be difficult to read and when it’s misinterpreted and entered into the system incorrectly, it can be difficult to detect and solve.

Manually collected data is also bias because the person entering the data has influence over what and when information is entered. For example, if a plant is understaffed and the operator doesn’t tell the truth about the period of machine down times, the plant will ultimately lose money. These are hidden down times that will go undocumented. Bias is a very expensive problem.

Automated Production Reporting Solves Core Problems

Automation solves the 3 major problems of manual data collection. It is timely, accurate, unbiased, and now affordable. What used to be costly and unreliable, automated production reporting can now be used with Ethernet, on web browsers to easily share data, and is compatible with Structured Query Language (SQL). These advancements allow data collection to be shared within various databases quickly, easily, and affordably.

Choose the Best System

There are two ways to collect data from product machinery: communicate directly with the existing controllers or add a dedicated data collection device to each machine. Whichever option you choose, each system should include a data logger, database, report generator, and real-time updates.

The system you choose will ideally report data including part count, machine states (running, idle, etc.), and error codes. An operation cannot be efficient or effective if this specific data is not accounted for.

The Opportunities are Endless

You’ll more than likely have more data collected then you know what to do with, and that is a great problem to have. The possibilities are endless when an automated production reporting software is in place. Real-time data will open the door for revenue growth by reducing machine downtown and increasing productivity. These systems are accurate, efficient, and affordable- what are you waiting for? Ready to Thrive?


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OEE Metrics Reveal Increased Return on Investment


At the time being, how is your production line doing? Is it running efficiently? Any downtime? Can you identify the bottlenecks? Manufacturing lines are complex operations. The smallest manufacturers can struggle in knowing what is going on – imagine multiple production lines and multiple sites. With Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), one obtains a real-time view from a single screen of production lines’ efficiency and the entire manufacturing operation.

OEE is a metric based on Availability, Performance and Quality and is used to help manufacturing companies improve their performance. Small improvements in OEE scores can produce substantial improvements in efficiency and profitability and deliver good Return on Investment (ROI) for the process monitoring and improvement effort.

OEE is a proven manufacturing management methodology that determines the profit dollar value of decisions while connecting plant floor to income statement. In real-time, the OEE can quantify if the company is making or losing money on a per-part and per-machine basis accurately. ROI and Real-time OEE reporting will help identify ways to save both time and money.

Performance identifiers include minor stops, bottlenecks, and speed loss, areas that can be harder to measure by estimating the situation. Availability includes unplanned downtime, scheduling, and utility issues. OEE will also include operator error; process upsets, and supply chain management.

By utilizing OEE for making business decisions, a business can increase efficiency and find a quick ROI. Some facilities have identified payback in a matter of weeks; they are leveraging OEE and specifically downtime tracking at an excellent level. Though there is no promise ROI will be in a matter of weeks, using OEE to make business decisions and then leveraging those to improve, they typically find ROI can be achieved in a matter of months.

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Role of OEE in Lean Manufacturing

The Lean methodology focuses on removing non-value-adding activities and waste to reduce complexity and cost. The Lean approach provides foundation for operational excellence by process standardization, worker empowerment and instills a culture of continuous improvement.

All employees are involved in continuously reviewing and improving efficiency throughout a process or value chain when Lean techniques are in place. Lean techniques may include visual controls to help operators identify the right times to adjust equipment, or preventive maintenance to reduce the number of equipment failures by proactively maintaining equipment.

OEE, a measurement used in Total Productive Maintenance programs, is a metric commonly found in Lean Manufacturing. The OEE metric and Lean process can help manufacturing answer three questions:

  • How often is the machine available to run?
  • How fast is the machine when running?
  • What is the count of acceptable parts made?

In addition to the three questions are six areas of losses that can affect the OEE and its three components. Breaking down the losses to these categories helps the Lean manufacturing team prioritize improvements.

Breakdown Losses

Breakdown losses falls under the OEE “availability loss” and Lean’s “unplanned stops” – sudden or unexpected equipment downtime that makes the machine less available. Contributing factors may include:

  • Major mechanical failures
  • Electrical system failures
  • Structural failure

Set-up & Adjustment Losses

Set-up and Adjustment Losses are an availability loss that falls under Lean six big loss of “planned stops”. The degree of loss depends on factors such as:

  • Standards process
  • Tooling consistency and quality
  • Skill-level of operator

Idling & Minor Stoppages

Production is interrupted by a temporary malfunction or when the machine is idling. This is an OEE performance loss and falls under the Lean “small stops”. Contributing factors include:

  • Defective products resulting from a line shutdown
  • Operator on other machine or other tasks
  • Temporary equipment malfunction

Reduced Speed Losses

This stage refers to the difference in equipment design speed and the actual operating speed. It is an OEE performance loss and a Lean “slow cycles”. Factors include:

  • Mechanical problems
  • Risk of making unacceptable parts at higher speeds
  • Operator training

Process Defects

Process defects occur during the stages of production – from machine start-up, warm-up, and “learning phase”. This stage is an OEE quality loss and “production rejects” in the Lean stages. The degree of loss depends on factors such as:

  • Maintenance of equipment
  • Tooling
  • Raw Material
  • Operator skill level

Reduced Yield

Losses in quality caused by malfunctioning equipment or tooling. An OEE quality loss, the degree of loss depends on factors such as:

  • Maintenance of equipment
  • Tooling
  • Raw Material