How to Prove a Successful Equipment Trial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re selling equipment or consumables in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) sector, you’re likely intimately familiar with requirements to pilot or trial to prove out the value proposition of your equipment.

It’s an expensive part of your sales process and if it’s not executed appropriately, can lead to substantive cost overruns and unsuccessful sales efforts, considering the expense of deploying field based personnel to sell and hardware at customer sites.

With mobile based technology, it’s becoming easier than ever to collect and share pilot and trail data when you deploy your equipment or consumables at a customer site. Quantifying it can lead to dramatically reduced sales cycles and increased probability of a win.

Consider the power of collecting data related to reduced downtime, rework, and other issues that affect performance and throughput, and linking that value creation back to the purchase of your equipment. With the right technology, you can transform your salesforce into true solution sellers.

We’ve done this to a high degree of success with both consumables and equipment suppliers, and have aggregated large volumes of data across multiple sites while trials were being completed by channel partners.

Very few original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) have real-time access to trial related data, much less a quantified output from the trial on the value created to present to decision makers who ultimately decided whether or not to make a purchase.

Tracking data and sharing it in real-time when you run your trials is possible with a limited amount of effort and training, particularly in cases where you have channel partners selling your equipment and making a commission.

Set the Goalposts

It’s important to define success criteria before you begin a pilot and build this into your tracking efforts on site. This includes defining how long a pilot will run, what objectives define a successful pilot, and what parameters will be measured throughout the pilot to gauge movement towards meeting those objectives. Establish communication protocols and the way in which knowledge gained throughout the pilot will be disseminated amongst various parties.

Configure and Train

Mobile devices have to be configured so that it’s clear what information field based partners or on-site employees at a plant need to collect throughout the trial period. It’s important to consider the variables that indicate that your product is performing, and to consider other factory variables that need to be tracked to show a correlation between your equipment or consumable and overall improvement (downstream of your equipment). Equally as important is ensuring that the customer, and any other personnel monitoring the trial from your organization has access to a real-time view of the trial on a dashboard.

Deploy and Roll with the Punches

When partners or field based employees show up on site, the communication protocols should be reestablished in person and the data collection should begin with mobile devices. There will inevitably be events that occur, such as unplanned downtime, that affect your trial. These events can be recorded as well. In some cases, when they occur downstream of your deployment, you can potentially link to an opportunity to address the problem.

Enjoy the Remote Diagnostics

During acceptance testing by the customer or your partner, you could be receiving real-time diagnotics from the field. This is possible when you deploy a discrete, semi-automated solution with your field based personnel.

Run Consistent Pilots and Win

With an appropriately configured system and a powerful reporting engine, you’ll have all the intelligence you need to share successful pilot or trial results with plant management, procurement, and other buyers of your products. You also get the advantage of running your pilots in a consistent manner from plant to plant, at scale.

To find out more about how our customers are using SITEFLO to identify their problems and to procure solutions that live up to the promise of their value proposition, please email us at info@xiplinx.com.

Are you getting these alerts in real-time?

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Thankfully, our customers are, and it helps mitigate million dollar losses as a result of downtime, rework, diminished throughput, and more maintenance. The quicker they respond to it, the better.

Responding to the root causes of issues in near real-time in a manufacturing facility requires a perpetual finger on the pulse of an operation. While manufacturing execution software (MES) and other machine based applications can help, every organization has knowledge gaps and it’s rare that response times are quick enough to the root causes of issues on the floor.

It’s even more rare that all of the root causes of issues are known. Those precious minutes every day slip away, in many cases without the appropriate personnel knowing.

Consider for a moment, how we’ve helped one of the largest food manufacturers in the world respond to critical issues, and shave millions annually while doing it:

1. We picked a line that we knew was causing them trouble and dug in: Collaboratively, we picked one line we knew they were having problems with, and we freed up a resource to collect some data on that line. In this case, we freed up a vendor who they had a relationship with to collect the data, alongside their technicians (an approach that works well for our customers).

2. We enabled our partners and their employees with a tool: We deployed a locked down, safe tablet on the floor with key employees and one of our channel partners. The tablet was configured so that the appropriate data was collected throughout a defined period of time, with clearly defined goals over that period of time. All of the data was date and time stamped by the user, so we all had substantive insight into the project.

3. We gave managers and decision makers access to the data in real-time: Our web-enabled dashboard was the quickest route to socialize everything being collected on the floor in real-time. Managers and vendors were getting real-time data that required their attention right away. They went from not knowing about root causes of issues and learning about problems within weeks, to knowing and being able to proactively respond to issues in minutes.

4. We scaled it everywhere: Our customer had all the proof they needed about one week into the pilot. Responding to the root causes of downtime and rework leads to huge savings on one line. When we mapped out the potential value of that throughout their international operation, the numbers were staggering.

Make no mistake. This didn’t take months or years to implement and didn’t require capital budget. It took two weeks, a great partner, powerful software, and a tablet. You deserve to be getting these alerts today, and you can respond to critical issues faster than you ever thought possible.

To find out more about how SITEFLO helped this customer, please reach out at info@xiplinx.com.

Enabling Single-Shift Continuous-Improvement in 2015

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You’ve likely noticed, but wearable, mobile, and sensor-based technology is advancing at a rapid pace in the consumer products sector. You’re being bombarded with “SMART” everything, from your watch to your household electronics. In 2015, you can expect to see substantive convergence of these technologies in the consumer packaged goods sector in a more significant way than ever before.

What were traditional barriers when it came to marketing and selling technologies prevalent in the consumer space to industry are being lowered as the considerable potential that these products can bring is clearly articulated through case studies.

This means that what were once costly performance improvement projects have become doable with discrete systems that can be implemented in a matter of hours to prove out their value.

We’ve befriended, partnered with, and rubbed elbows with a number of the companies building these products throughout the course of 2014. Although in some cases we’re compromised, given that our SITEFLO product has also been adopted to help prove out the value of some of these products during trials, we think you would do well to experience them for yourselves.

Products like these make single-shift improvement projects entirely possible. Literally, all you’ve got to do is take the time to consider them and accept a product demonstration. The demo alone will be powerful enough to convince you to take another step and if that isn’t enough, we’ll get on the demonstrations with you and walk you through why we think the solution could be a benefit.

Here’s a shortlist of some really interesting technologies. We’ll keep sharing them as we experience them:

  • Smart Skin Technologies Quantifeel: Smart Skin Technologies released a product called the Quantifeel, which is taking the food and beverage sector by storm. It’s a sensor-based, packaging pressure monitoring technology embedded in a sensitive can that can help food and beverage organizations regulate production line flow and reduce bottlenecks. This is a single-shift continuous-improvement product all the way through. (www.smartskintech.com)
  • Shurtape ShurSEAL Tape Applicators: If you were at Pack Expo in Chicago this year, you read about Shurtape and their tape applicators and if you were lucky, you got a demonstration of some of the most advanced engineering and sensor based technology to ever see a tape head. Do yourself a favour and demo their applicators next to your existing technology. You won’t let them take the tape head back. (www.shursealsecure.com)
  • Thalamic Lab’s Myo Armband: Thalmic Labs released a gesture-based armband called the Myo. Think about what it could mean in the consumer packaged goods sector to control devices, equipment, and/or collect data with a gesture of your arm left or right, and you’ll get the flavor. The armband is well sized, light, sanitary, and is a complete game changer. It’s worth dreaming about the potential of this one.
(https://www.thalmic.com/en/myo/)
  • BlueWater Automation’s F16 Case Former: You can’t wear their technology (yet), but the mobile-based analytics available, the design of the unit, and the Beckhoff controls and Festo components justify the coopted F16 name. If you haven’t toured Tri-Mach Group Inc., where one of their demonstration units sits, you should probably get on a plane tomorrow. Simply put, this is the only true fully wash down, compact, user-friendly case former on the market today. A tour of the unit will be enough for you to place an order. (http://www.bluewaterautomation.com/equipment/)

As we continue to experience and partner with organizations, we’ll keep sharing our insights. With new approaches like these, we have no doubt that 2015 will be the year for Single-Shift Continuous-Improvement in the consumer packaged goods sector.

To talk to us more about improving your operation, or SITEFLO, contact us at info@xiplinx.com.