If you’ve ever looked at the fault and error codes in the user manuals of your control systems and equipment, your eyes have glazed over. Sure, they’re powerful features, but you need timely information and context associated with issues to respond to events in near real-time, and that’s not always possible.
If you leverage real-time alarm, fault and error code notifications from your systems, you know how powerful they are, but many organizations in the CPG sector don’t have the IT infrastructure to support such processing of data or the equipment to provide it. And, even in cases where the infrastructure does exist and notifications are streaming in, context is missing to help you get to the root causes of issues.
Don’t underestimate the power of context, like many software providers have over the last twenty years in this sector. Typically, your operators or supervisors are forced to walk to a personal computer to enter information on downtime or other operational events, an approach that doesn’t suit their workflow. The screens they interact with were designed as an afterthought, simply streaming data in with text boxes for data entry. Very little appreciation has been given to user experience affecting adoptability of the systems, and dramatically impacting the context you get from system users.
Here are a few experiments you can run to explore the power of a discrete, Context-First system.
Ignore Your Existing Fault Codes Altogether
This doesn’t exactly reflect the title of this blog post and it isn’t going to work for every CPG, but it has for a variety of the ones we’ve worked with. Test our hypothesis, that you can deploy a discrete, semi-automated system that is web enabled and wirelessly connected, to collect critical information on context and events that create issues in your factory. The goal here is to collect more powerful diagnostic data than you can by aggregating fault codes, allowing you to get to the root of your problems effectively and rapidly, without having to leverage your existing cumbersome systems. Remember, this is a moment-in-time experiment, to prove the power of the context so that you can make changes to your existing systems and internal processes.
Put in a Context-First System and After it Works, Integrate (Not Before)
It’s natural to rush to connect all of your disparate systems, but don’t rush this time. Test our hypothesis, that you can implement a system to retrieve better context on events that lead to factory issues, and that this data will be so powerful that you’d rather move forward with a “Context-First” system. After that, you’ll look to integrate with that system at a later date if possible, streaming machine data into the contextual system and not the other way around.
Pick a Context-First Project and Calculate the Financial Impact of It
This one is simple. Pick a project to address an issue that you know is costing you money (think downtime or rework), given a lack of context. Deploy a discrete system to help you collect data, and review the data at the end of the project relative to the project goals. Now calculate the financial impact of what you’ve learned. Test our hypothesis that putting context ahead of a system driving only machine data, isn’t always a “garbage-in” and “garbage-out” scenario.
To learn more about how customers are using our Context-First system SITEFLO, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.