At Innovation Unplugged, we recently were asked by Manual.to to co-imagine a complete production monitoring and support solution, with digital work instructions at its core. They had received a request for an all-encompassing worker support solution, including Industrial IoT connectivity for integration of data from machines and tools, processes and ERP. Even the competence matrix was part of the picture. The core of the schematic that was shared with us? A box called Digital Work Instructions.
Simplified shop floor diagram with its tools and machines, processes, IT and other supporting systems and, to be designed, digital work instructions system as central service.
The company that issued the request assembles and builds components for the electronics and electrical industry, combining Build to Order (BtO) and Assemble to Order (AtO) production. Inherent to this industry is a manual manufacturing process using semi-automated equipment. In industries like these the effectiveness of the floor worker is an essential component of the Overall Production Effectiveness (OPE).
In particular for Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM), for manual and for semi-automated manufacturing, starting from the floor workers’ perspective unveils interesting Industry 4.0 opportunities for efficiency and effectiveness improvement. Bridging OT physical to digital, combined with acquisition and integration of data from IT and OT systems, can equip your manufacturing workers with digital how to work instructions, seamlessly integrated with real-time work order, machine settings and status information.
Artificial Intelligence based predictability holds great promise, but takes time to grow. Investing in support for human intelligence (operators), combining real-time information with clear instructions can generate tangible, sustainable returns very quickly.
Especially in highly worker-driven industries, only considering Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) while forgetting Overall Worker Effectiveness (OWE) would be a missed opportunity. The potential of supporting the operator with real-time data based insight from Industrial IoT, IoT, OT and IT is tremendous.
Imagine the following approach…
- First, interview the operators
- What information do they need?
- How would they like it presented to them?
- Then, using Manual.to, engage the operators to create real-world best practice instructions, combining video with text
- Present the Manual.to manufacturing assembly instructions together with production related data in a dynamic, versatile format
Wouldn’t the resulting, live process insight enriched instructions, dramatically improve the learning and the effectiveness of workers?
Example of how an integrated How To & Information Screen could look:
- At the left hand side, Manual.to based multimedia How To instructions
- At the right hand side, related information like machine/tool settings, process and order information, etc.
We’re already familiar with:
- Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
- Overall Line Effectiveness (OLE)
- Overall Production Effectiveness (OPE)
But the following concepts somehow are less well known:
- Overall Worker Effectiveness (OWE)
- Overall Human Effectiveness (OHE)
We’ve learned to consider the human component in an Industry 4.0 setup – and encourage you to do so as well. Let’s call this aspect, People 4.0. Because unless your operations are completely robot operated, improving the way humans learn and perform can dramatically improve your operational effectiveness and efficiency.
- Development of a Conceptual Model for the Measurement of Overall Worker Effectiveness (OWE) In Discrete Manufacturing SMES, Bhimasen Soragaon, Nagaraj L Hiregoudar, S B Mallur (International Journal of Engineering and Innovative Technology (IJEIT) Volume 2, Issue 3, September 2012)
- The Role and Importance of Employee’s Productivity in Industry 4.0, Črešnar, Rok & Nedelko, Zlatko (2017)
- Knowledge Management 4.0 – Lessons Learned from IT Trends, Peinl, Rene (2017)
With this exercise in mind, Innovation Unplugged has changed its perspective on manufacturing floor workers. Historically, we have been very machine centric with our user personae being highly educated knowledge workers (managers, engineers, analysts, etc.).
While Industry 4.0 promises tremendous improvements for knowledge workers, going forward, we will also consider the wider potential from the perspective of factory workers and operators. Having senior workers create How to documentation helps unveil which information they actually use as well as the tips & tricks that characterize experienced staff.
Whether Manual.to (which offers unique advantages in usability and integration capabilities ) is used or not and regardless of the human interface device – e.g. traditional HMI (Human Machine Interface), tablets or smart glasses – with or without use of Augmented Reality, having knowledgeable, experienced workers who can quickly create and share effective how-to manuals helps drive improvements in productivity, well-being, engagement, efficiency and effectiveness.