Why the factory can and must become SMART

It is Dr. Antonio Garisto, Account Manager at Qualitas Informatica who tells us how technology has been able to revolutionize our lifestyle in its entirety. Technology invades and conditions our lives, and more and more we cannot live without it. But then why in some factories does life seem to have stopped outside the entrance gates?

Despite the incentives of industry 4.0 and the spread of technologies, many companies still use paper and pen to make the progress of production, to plan the production and verify the availability of raw materials in stock. And that’s how, as complexity increases, we focus on prioritizing activities rather than finding new horizons to compete.

Reading time: 7 mins

 

 

 

A SMART day

Every now and then, I have a walk around Venice with a childhood friend who is the production manager in a engineering company. I live near a tiny train station (Vigonza-Pianiga) where I can easily take a train and in a few minutes I can be in Central Station in Venice. The last time, having decided to go only the night before, we hadn’t bought the tickets in advance, but arrived at the station it was possible to buy them at the self-service ticket office on the platform paying by simply approaching my smartwatch to the contactless terminal. 

Around lunchtime we decide to go to a restaurant for “young people”, near San Marco. The place is known especially for the t-shirts bearing the name of the cities where you can eat their burgers…

The place is full, but the staff give you a red disk: when the table is free, it will start to vibrate and flash even if you are 200-300 meters away.

So we have lunch, we pay with a phone app and we return to Padua, always by train, in the middle of the afternoon.

Now we have to pay pawn with the wives left home: we have to make a quick visit to the well-known Swedish furniture shop.

The visit reveals as usual not so quick and then we decide to dine in the adjoining restaurant, where arrived at the checkout a camera recognizes independently what you have in the tray and proposes to confirm and then to pay.

 

Smart factory in connessione con apple watch
Luke Chesser

As if to remember that I don’t have to exaggerate with the meatballs, I get a notification on the smartwatch: the prescription of the drugs that I requested, via the app Health km zero, is now available and I can go to the pharmacy to pick them up.

 

CHAPTER 2

The problems of the factory

At this point my friend looks at me and calmly says to me:

“After this SMART day, here’s what I’m going to find and do at the company next Monday:

  • Spreadsheets for the factory where operators will have to scribble daily man and machine work times
  • Wait until logistics have carried out the production loads to get an idea of what was produced, copying and interpreting the quantities produced and written by hand by the operators
  • Calculate with the usual EXCEL sheet in a very spanno metric way what was the efficiency and use of the line

  • Roll the dice to date the delivery of a sales order
  • Watch the muleteers looking for materials to carry on board line to power production
  • Handling a complaint from a customer who has detected a non-compliant component and I dare not think of the effort we will make to trace back to all the finished products in which it was mounted”
  • Stop a production order because we realized late not to have all the materials to complete it

 

We could continue with a long list but the question I ask myself could be summarized as follows:

“why is there this profound difference between the usability of information and the ease of carrying out activities, between life outside and life inside our factories?”

 

CHAPTER 3

Why is there such a gap between everyday reality and what we find in the factory?

Sometimes, entering some factories, it seems to take a dip in the past: almost as if the technology of everyday life had stopped at the company gates.

Surely the efforts made by governments with the incentives of Industry 4.0 have given a major breakthrough to our companies, but it is still too little. Unfortunately, in a number of cases they have been practices aimed merely at obtaining tax incentives, but they have not changed the face of our companies.

It is a matter that all operators in the sector and business and institutional decision-makers must expose themselves as soon as possible (especially in Italy where productivity remains an important problem).

 

Fabbrica analogica senza MES che traccia le attività su fogli di carta

 

CHAPTER 4

Industry 4.0 Incentives and MES software: an opportunity only if it is seized

Surely the companies that develop, implement and market MES in recent years has seen a growing turnover and customer base: the MES is one of the tools that has allowed companies to meet one of the legal obligations required to access incentives.

But did these MES projects leave their mark on companies? Did they solve the problems my friend complained about? Or have these projects been implemented in an instrumental way?

 

CHAPTER 5

MES project is first and foremost an opportunity for growth

Qualitas Informatica has always aimed to leave its mark, in its projects, to realize a “before” and an “after” our MES project, to feel as partners and not just suppliers of our customers.

For us, “leaving a mark” means, and will increasingly mean, bringing the MES closer to what is defined in the literature as a Decision Support System (DSS). Quoting Wikipedia: “The main function of a DSS is to extract in a short time and in a versatile way the useful information to the decisional processes, coming from a considerable amount of data”.

What Does MES project means?

So not only solve the problems listed above, but draw a growth path, identify corrective actions and give support to decisions. The challenge is this and Qualitas Informatica is taking it up.

For several years Qualitas Informatica has followed the S.M.A.R.T methodology (“Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic Time-related” or “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Limited) in the implementation of its projects. It is an overused concept, I know, but for us it is of fundamental importance and has become an essential feature for our projects, allowing Qualitas Informatica to further create a fruitful and transparent dialogue with our customers.

To learn more: MES Production

 

CHAPTER 6

Qualitas Informatica: smart squared

Now Qualitas Informatica is making a further leap, that is to become SMART squared: S.M.A.R.T in the methodology and SMART in the product.

Today we expect that even in the work fields, the tools can be used exactly as in our daily life.

 

Calcolo indici KPI produttività per ordine

In the chart you can find the dashboard of the MES NET@PRO system for the analysis of productivity indices by order

What features should a MES have today?

A MES must be “similar” to the tools we use every day: simple, intuitive and social.

Today, in our daily activities we consult dashboards and reports, make payments, pay parking, order dinner and book holidays simply using our smartphone.

 

A MES, which is used for at least 1/3 of the day by the whole staff in the factory, can no longer escape this need for change.

 

CHAPTER 7

MES and the future: the next challenge

 

Qualitas has collected this challenge for a long time, and in addition to being the first to bring its MES entirely on the WEB, it already offers its own Apps for IOS and Android for monitoring and management of production, chat within the product, Automatic updates and the Dobeya (Digital Obeya Room), powerful tool for project management.

Of course we are already taking up what, in my opinion, will be the challenge in the near future: the use of wearable devices, in particular smartwatches, in our companies as well.

Believe me, we are still at the beginning and certainly we still have a long way but we gained power to face the challenges from the new group partnerships.

 

 

 

Author: Engineer Antonio Garisto, Account Manager of Qualitas Informatica an Impresoft Group company

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