Improved efficiency: Manufacturing operations software can help streamline manufacturing processes, eliminate bottlenecks, and reduce lead times, which can improve overall efficiency.
By defining a structured digital traveller (work instruction / build sheet) in ProcessIQ quality and data are in-built.
Enhanced quality control: The software can provide real-time visibility into production processes, which can help identify and address quality issues quickly and reduce the risk of defects.
Product specification & quality data is controlled as the operator completes the build, ensuring issues are captured, disposed and recorded.
Increased productivity: Manufacturing operations software can help reduce downtime and improve equipment utilization, which can increase productivity and output.
Better inventory management: The software can provide real-time visibility into inventory levels, which can help ensure that the right materials are available when needed, reducing inventory costs and waste.
Connecting ERP manufacturing orders and associated data such as routing and BOM’s ensures synchronisation of orders, qty of finished goods and materials used for MRP.
Better decision-making: Manufacturing operations software can provide real-time data and analytics, which can help managers make more informed decisions about production processes, inventory management, and other critical areas.
Quality data is available as part of the digital traveller which enables the assessment of limits and variances in the manufacturing processes.
Compliance with regulations: The software can help ensure that manufacturing processes are compliant with industry regulations and standards, reducing the risk of fines or penalties and evidencing the build state records.
Controlling the build processes by enforcing quality thresholds ensures compliance and evidence what happened through the build.
Overall, manufacturing operations software provides several benefits that can help manufacturing companies improve efficiency, quality control, productivity, inventory management, decision-making, and compliance with regulations. By leveraging these benefits, manufacturing companies can improve their competitiveness, reduce costs, and increase profitability.
Kicking off our new website and rebrand from AssemblyX to ProcessIQ we decided to hand the content creation over to ChatGPT for this blog, to see how much was understood about the challenges manufacturing companies have when using Word, Excel & PowerPoint for work instructions.
Modernising the shop floor with digital travellers has a positive impact on a manufacturing companies bottom line.
We asked ChatGPT to explain the problems of using word, excel or PowerPoint for work instructions?
Using tools such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint for work instructions can have several problems, including:
Lack of standardization: When using these tools, there is often no standard format for work instructions, which can lead to confusion and inconsistency in how employees perform tasks.
Limited interactivity: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are primarily designed for static content, which means that they are not well-suited for creating interactive work instructions that can guide employees through complex procedures.
Version control issues: When multiple people work on the same document, it can be challenging to keep track of changes and ensure that everyone is working with the latest version. This can lead to errors, wasted time, and frustration.
Difficulty in searching and retrieving information: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are not optimized for searching and retrieving specific information quickly, making it challenging to find relevant work instructions when needed.
Lack of multimedia support: Work instructions often benefit from visual aids, such as images or videos, to help employees understand complex procedures.
Office tools do not provide an easy way to integrate multimedia content into work instructions.
Limited collaboration: These tools do not have built-in collaboration features, which can make it difficult for teams to work together on creating and updating work instructions. This can result in delays, errors, and inconsistencies.
Overall, while Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are useful tools for many tasks, they are not ideal for creating and managing work instructions. There are specialized software solutions available that are better suited for this purpose and offer features such as interactivity, multimedia support, and collaboration.
Word, Excel & PowerPoint were never designed for electronic work instructions, so why is your company using these tool to produce work instructions?
Take a look at ProcessIQ, specifically designed for building quality into your shop floor documentation.
I have just returned from attending the Autodesk Forge conference in San Francisco and what a great event it was. Held at the historical Fort Mason by the bay, which served as the army barracks many years ago, the event was well organised and attended with over 1,100 developers, start-ups and business owners, looking to get under the hood of the Forge platform.
Autodesk employees and attendees were a great bunch to hang out with, as there were lots of collaborations and discussions taking place over the 2 days. The noise levels were a testament to the amount of conversations that were taking place!
Engaged in the Design, Make and Use paradigm, Autodesk are building communities for developers and start-ups alike and making their core technology available through a set of rich API’s. Not your normal superficial API’s, but really opening up their software for partners like us to build the next generation of applications, that help people and organisations solve problems to Design, Make and Use the next generation of products and software.
The sessions on the main stage were both interesting and thought provoking as technology and business leaders alike demonstrated and walked through the ways in which the Forge platform is supporting key transformational services and software, from drones using the Autodesk API’s from 3DR to Protolabs, who are providing the world’s fastest source for prototyping and low-volume production parts.
In the main hall there were a number of cool and innovative companies sharing the latest and greatest in applications that are utilising the Forge Platform. A couple to note were Dotty, who are creating an experience for boardrooms and the ability to complete a design / market requirements review using smartglasses from ODG . (This is a company Al Dean put me onto as we are also looking at smart glasses for ProcessIQ Software, a killer app to support ‘Make’ / Operations that replaces Word, Excel or PowerPoint for the generation of electronic work instructions. More to follow on this topic.)
3DR using Forge API’s to connect drones and software
Sorry I digress…getting back to Dotty, the application extends to call centre support, Oil & Gas and Mining, where complex equipment needs to be maintained and serviced and planning the job in the warmth of the office, reduces safety incidents and allows technicians to walk through the assembly / dis-assembly process before setting foot into a harsh and dangerous environment. Another to note were Jitterbit who are reducing the complexity of integration and providing a smarter approach to connect to key systems such as SAP, Oracle, Autodesk and Microsoft to name a few. The premise being that you will remove all the technical nightmares that traditionally come with integration, reduce cost of ownership and enable customers to become self-sufficient. I.e Not requiring expensive consultants every time you require a small change.
There were detailed, I mean really detailed sessions on the forge API’s and code level examples of how to make a start. This was complemented with the Forge technical team, on hand to support deeper discussions on the Forge platform.
Involved in a start-up myself the finances for using forge API’s also made a lot of sense, especially if your revenues are below $100K, you can use all the API’s for free. This a great way to support the start-up community and shows commitment from the Autodesk Forge Platform to get traction and buy-in from the communities in which the API’s could form part of the next generation of applications and solutions.
Amar Hanspal and Carl Bass provided some excellent and at times brave executive insight into the thinking, but what really stood out was the commitment to make the Forge Platform and communities a success. It was muted that the success of the Forge partners will ultimately drive the success and innovation at Autodesk, a giant leap of faith!
Amar Hanspal – Real Innovation with the Autodesk Forge Platform
So the Forge Platform is open for business and the communities, developers, start-ups, entrepreneurs, established businesses involved in Design ,Make and Use should definitely take a closer look at how the next set of innovative applications that solve customer problems, can leverage years of great tech from Autodesk, with what feels like a Github like force, with little capital investment required, other than intellectual capital!
Final thoughts on the event for Autodesk to consider – Take the event to Europe, it might rain, but I guarantee there will be plenty of willing participants and opportunities for Autodesk to engage the next set of European Forge platform partners. If today is anything to go by make it July!
Look forward to the next Forge Platform event and showcasing our own progress with the forge API’s, in providing frictionless integration for production engineering and the factory, surfacing data in key factory processes that engage the shop floor, provided by ProcessIQ and the Autodesk’s Forge API’s.
Below is a sneak preview of where ProcessIQ is using the Autodesk Forge Viewer API model viewer to connect documents from PLM and make them available in an electronic work instruction process for the shop floor. Look out for more exciting developments over the coming months where we will take a look at other API’s including PLM360.
Using Autodesk Forge API’s to connect PLM360 content to the shop floor processes.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments on email@example.com or call us on + 44 (0) 20 8242 4398.
So, let’s start with a few frank observations. Firstly, don’t waste time thinking your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) vendor can solve critical business issues with a bastardisation of their finance, procurement, or planning system.
I simply do not understand. Manufacturers do not think twice about investing in ERP, Customer Relationship Management, Computer Aided Design, Product Lifecycle Management, Machine tools, the list goes on…
Yet, you give your operators on the shop floor, pieces of paper in a plastic wallet, or at best a very large complex PDF to try and navigate the build process. What the heck?!
Should a 2019 shop floor look like this?
You invested significant amounts to find new opportunities for your products, but your processes bear no resemblance to the expected efficiency and productivity of today.
Production and manufacturing engineers and management are asked to use Word, Excel or PowerPoint to create a build standard (work instructions) to assemble products. They must build them to a specification and test, as well as manage the governance and quality processes; all with pieces of paper or a set of disparate documents, such as PDF, Excels, etc.
Ask your finance director or CEO to use paper to manage the finances of the business. I can probably tell you what the answer will be, but it’s not appropriate to document the response here!
Significant investments have been made in complex systems, such as SAP, Oracle, Infor, Epicore, JD Edwards, and SolidWorks amongst others, to manage business and engineering requirements. Yet, ERP or design and product lifecycle management vendors do not solve the critical business issues that surround the use of paper or Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the shop floor.
If this resonates and you are wondering how to transform your shop floor, let me share a couple of other points.
Transition from paper or PDF based work instructions
Implementing a paperless work instruction solution can be very straightforward if you focus on the critical business issues. Our customers were experiencing a range of critical business issues:
• The use of paper PDF-based work instructions had a direct impact on quality.
• Build standards / work instructions were not being followed due to the cumbersome management and use of paper or very large PDF documents.
• Quality thresholds and confirmations to enforce accountability for the operators was non-existent in the build process.
• Data collection was in disparate places, or paper-based and not easily accessible.
• Reporting of production performance, build and quality data was time-consuming and not real-time.
• Issues in production was managed in yet another Excel spreadsheet.
Focus on these critical business issues must be the priority. Integration for integration-sake should come later once business results have been achieved.
The good news is gone are the days of ERP-type implementation schedules, resource requirements and costs. The new world is app-based, and agility is a given. Going from paper or PDF-based work instructions to an electronic work instruction process can happen quickly, in some cases in a matter of days.
Which work instructions solution is right for your business?
There are a few key considerations to support the selection of a solution partner.
Remember you are not just replacing Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Take the opportunity to consider the end-to-end process, as new solutions enable a concept of a ‘Digital Traveller’ that enhance the ERP and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES).
Check and validate how your processes can be replaced or updated. Identify any new opportunities that may arise from the transition. Migrating to a data driven process is a major change from a document-based process, so you will need to ensure you pick the runners in production and then transition over time. Supply chain and sub-contract manufacturing can also be pulled in to your quality and build processes.
Consider the ergonomic implications as input devices, such as scanners, screens and layouts for operators, will be required for different configurations, depending on the type of work being completed.
A significant point, how do you manage your product variants from a work instruction perspective? For example, how will the system manage many 100s or 1000s of variants? Will you need to generate each variant separately or does the system support variance?
If you have variance in your products, you will need variance to be supported, otherwise you will need an army of production engineers creating a separate work instruction for each variance. Modern systems should be able to hold characteristics which dynamically generate the work instruction.
Equally important, ensure that you understand how quality data is defined, managed and captured in the build process.
Finally, updates to content. How does the system enable fast updates whilst maintaining the document control processes? Change is constant, so you need to see how change is implemented.
As an engineer and advocate of digital, I believe there is a fantastic opportunity for manufacturers to invest in the shop floor. This advances their own, as well as the industry’s productivity. Significantly, it engages shop floor operators, an undervalued point, whom given the opportunity will enhance quality and provide feedback. This ultimately affects the bottom line and enhancing your brand, whatever you manufacture!