Frequent human decision making is as important as ever in continuous or batch manufacturing processes. Digitisation has not replaced those decisions, but it does enable manufacturers to move a significant amount of that work from process engineers to operators with major impacts on cost and efficiency.
This technology approach by Cyzag has resulted in an average annual saving of $400k across more than 60 plants and over $1million in some. There has also been a significant benefit for sustainability with reductions in energy and materials. This is all delivered by enabling significant steps towards plant Manufacturing Excellence:
By using SaaS technology and a highly configurable, purpose-built solution, results are delivered in just 8 weeks.
Most process manufacturing plants have a focus on performance but they face many of the same problems:
These problems result in significant losses and missed opportunities in some plants which run into $millions each year as well as impacting sustainability. While in many plants, Manufacturing Excellence programs are implemented with a focus on OEE and many other parameters, the technology and processes for gathering and sharing data have not really changed. Software is not user-focused so is under-utilized, starving the process of vital human input. Equally, it often does not facilitate collaboration between operators, who are best placed to identify process problems in real time, and the engineers who use their knowledge and judgement to validate and advise.
Success in moving decision-making to the shop floor starts with four steps:
Cloud-based technologies now make it possible to consolidate data from multiple sources and make it available through a browser – either to an operator on the shop floor or to a manager at headquarters.
Realtime alerts coupled with contextualized process data significantly improve an operator’s ability to react to a given situation, make a detailed assessment of available solutions and to confidently make a decision for loss avoidance.
Capturing and visualization of decisions and process events facilitates a stream of knowledge transfer from one shift to the next and to process engineers. It is a result of this problem-solving culture and resulting accumulated knowledge that it becomes possible to achieve the level of insight required for manufacturing excellence.
User-centric tools, designed with the operator in mind ensure the engagement and ownership necessary for shifting decision-making to the shop floor.
Cyzag implemented their Cypher.team solution at a specialty chemical plant in The Netherlands, delivering a €1M saving in year 1. Even though the plant appeared to be running normally, once a contextual overlay was applied, it became clear that under specific running conditions there was a significant overconsumption of steam. Operators were able to use the tool to identify the root cause of the problem and track the incremental steps taken to reduce the steam consumption to within efficiency limits.
Moving decision making to the shop floor becomes possible with a combination of digital technology that is user-centric and drives collaboration with the right level of automation. This approach has a material impact on cost and sustainability but also enriches the experience of operators and provides the foundations for a high performance culture in manufacturing operations.