“Let one of our automation specialists spend a day with you on the plant floor,” they proposed. “We will document your current state and compare it to to a potentially improved state during a single shift.”
Not a unique approach, but, interesting.
“4 hours your current way and 4 hours another way,” they suggested. “There is no cost to you.”
Anybody can accept the challenge. Anywhere. That’s different. And, so is the jurisdictional scale of their offer, and, the level of confidence they seem to have here.
Sure, accepting the challenge means they get to build a relationship with you through the process and if you need their solutions, they will sell them. They would admit that.
But, this still feels different.
“We will provide you with complete visibility throughout the shift by giving you access to our “real-time” dashboard.”
No smoke and mirrors, just real-time proof so that you can see what they’re doing while they’re on site.
Worst case scenario?
“At the end of the day, you will have powerful data to make an informed decision and improve your process.”
This is really the approach of the performance specialist, who views improvements in factories differently than somebody in a sales role.
You know such specialists as agents, solution sellers, original equipment manufacturers, lean and six-sigma practitioners or your continuous improvement leader.
The standouts prioritize problem identification and value added solutions over product sales and implementation.
Then they deliver unparalleled insight regardless of your installed base of equipment, which is in many cases disconnected, with data collection, tracking, and software systems that don’t relate.
You know them because they care about downtime, OEE (overall equipment effectiveness), rework, and they’re continuous improvement aficionados.
Want to learn more to get familiar with the process before accepting their challenge? Here are the 6 steps you can take to engage your performance specialist.
Step 1: Site Needs Analysis
Invite the performance specialist into your environment to conduct a plant tour, for a comprehensive review of packaging and other operations. The great ones will work with you to share audit data, or identify process improvement areas using a survey. In partnership with the specialist, prioritize the opportunities for improvement collaboratively, and review your desired outcomes.
Step 2: Solutions Identification
Consider the value added solution proposed by the partner, and the impact it has on the most painful elements of your process or operation, and work with them them to either scope out a system or product demonstration, or, to move forward with a non-system or product related solution.
This is a key distinguishing factor. The specialist not simply focused on equipment, services, or consumables sales is concerned with value, and may suggest you proceed directly to a value added solution analysis.
Step 3: Trial / Demo / Testing
During the trial, demonstration, and testing phases, expect real-time data from your performance specialist on performance relative to your existing business processes or factory assets.
Mobile devices can to be configured so that it’s clear what information field based partners or on-site employees at a factory need to collected 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.
Equally as important is ensuring that any personnel monitoring the trial from your organization has access to a real-time view of the trial on a dashboard.
During the trial, you should be receiving real-time diagnostics from the factory. This is possible when you deploy a discrete, mobile solution with your performance specialist.
Step 4: Value Added Solution Analysis
Other value added solutions based on the specialist analysis should be presented, over simply recommendations for asset, equipment, or consumables based solutions, and should be brought forward either before the trial or demo process, or following the trial based on the additional observations. Measurable benefits can and should be articulated.
There will inevitably be events that occur that affect the trial, such as unplanned downtime that may also factor into a value added solutions recommendation. The performance specialist can observe and record these events as well, and in some cases, when they occur downstream or upstream of a trial deployment, you can potentially link to an opportunity to address the problem.
Step 5: System Proposal
If the analysis supports the presentation of a solution to the performance improvement problems identified, expect a proposal clearly outlining measurable return on investment, and a fulfillment of your desired outcome defined in Step 1. Technical service capabilities should be evident in the proposal.
Step 6: Solution Implementation
Whether you’re proceeding with a non-system or product related solution, or a system and product integration based on the specialist recommendations, expect to receive reports on the ROI of your investment with some frequency, and an analysis of the overall benefit to your operation.
To take the Bluewater Automation and ShurSEAL challenge, click here
To learn more about the tools they use to do it, click here
If you’re really intrigued: