March 29, 2018
Soldiers, Firefighters, and Generals: Part 1
I was thinking about my previous experiences in manufacturing and how different people (that is, employees with different jobs and responsibilities) could use Enact®, our cloud-native quality intelligence platform. I was thinking about the full gamut of users: from shop floor operators to quality inspectors and managers to corporate level and Six Sigma users.
My imagination kicked in, and I began to see their roles a little differently. I saw the operators as the soldiers on the front line of the battle to maintain quality; they’re in the trenches, keeping quality at the forefront for your organization. The quality inspectors and managers? I saw them as firefighters because of the nature of their work; that’s what they do—put out the fires that spring up daily. And the corporate and Six Sigma folks I saw as the generals, using Enact for analysis to get the big picture view of their operations–like a general overseeing the battlefield and strategizing her next moves.
It was a fun and interesting exercise. And out of it came this idea for a three-part series about how easy Enact is for each of them to use…how Enact makes their day less stressful because it lets them know exactly what they need to pay attention to and what needs fixing…and how visually engaging the product is.
This first part is about the operators—our soldiers—on the shop floor/front line. Sending your operators to the shop floor without Enact is like sending a soldier to the front line without a helmet.
First of all, any statistical process control (SPC) tool has to be easy for operators. That’s particularly important, because the easier we can make things for operators—and we all know how crazy busy their work lives can be—the better they are going to function. And as manufacturers, we need our operators to be efficient and able to multi-task.
When thinking about these frontline soldiers, it became very clear to me what it was about Enact that’s important to them:
It All Starts with a Dashboard
- Enact uses dashboards – they’re easy, they’re powerful, and they’re the home base of operations for our soldiers
- Easy personalization – even after the system is set up for them, Enact makes it simple for operators to customize their view even further to streamline their work
- Alerts and Notifications – Enact enables operators to focus on their myriad tasks by prioritizing for them the data that needs the most attention—without worrying about missing a data collection or entering wrong values
- Data collection – it just got easier with Enact
- Mobility – they can take Enact with them out on the shop floor
When you’re in Enact, you can see right away that it’s highly visual. And the dashboard is the central point from which our soldiers will interact with the software.
As the dashboard to the right illustrates, Enact puts the power in the operator’s hands. Everything they need to get through their day is right here at their fingertips. We’ll take a look at examples of how easy everything is in Enact, from configuration to data collections to responding to alerts.
Personalizing for Focus
Our operators are in the trenches, keeping a keen eye out for issues with processes and products. Enact helps these soldiers by keeping them focused. Enact brings to the forefront only the issues that matter to each specific user.
In this way, Enact helps operators focus on what’s important to them, and keeps them efficient.
For example, let’s say an operator is responsible for three lines at their manufacturing facility.
As you can see, the software is easily personalized so that this operator sees only information pertaining to the lines for which they are responsible for that particular day. Nothing else. The dashboard will reflect this, and they can focus on how those three lines are performing; everything else is just noise. And any other user would see the lines they are personally responsible for.
Enact is so easy to personalize that if that same operator is only responsible for one line on a given day, they need only select that one line—and they would then only see information for that line.
Software doesn’t get much easier to configure.
Alerts and Notifications
Variation exists. Everyone involved in any manufacturing endeavor knows and understands this.
But with operators as busy as they are—keeping their lines running and performing dozens of other tasks throughout the day—it makes no sense for them to be digging through all kinds of data and charts to see what needs attention.
What makes their lives easier is a system that alerts them when they need to pay attention.
No more wasting precious time.
Enact is a quality software system that presents the information to our operator in a prioritized fashion with out-of-spec pieces and out-of-control subgroups in which they have easy access to Histograms, Control Charts, and Event Pareto Charts, allowing them to examine the data more closely. Without a doubt, having a system that notifies the operator when something is out-of-spec or a data collection is due is worth its weight in gold. Enact does just that. Operators perform their daily tasks as they normally would, and when something is off, the system lets them know. When they need to perform a quick data collection, again, the system lets them know.
Collecting Data Just Got Easier
Operators can focus on the myriad other tasks they need to be doing until it’s time to react to an issue or perform that data collection.
You can see in this example that the software is letting the operator know that a data collection is due. And a timer is running. Notifications are very visual. When the color is green
, this indicates that they still have time to perform the data collection. When the task is overdue, it turns red
. It’s great how easy this is for the operator: they just continue with whatever they’re doing until a notification displays, which points them to what they need to do. This same notification shows up in the upper right-hand corner, under the notification (bell) icon, no matter what screen they’re on
. At a glance they can always tell if there is a task they need to perform.
Here’s how easy the data collection is with Enact:
- You click the collection icon.
- The appropriate collection choices display; in this case, what part are you collecting data for?
- Select the lot for which you intend to collect data (optional configuration).
- The Data Collection screen displays. As you can see, this screen is highly visual; let’s take a quick look around, since our operators will be using this a lot.
Right off the bat, you can see that this data collection consists of three measurements: Inside diameter, outside diameter, and correct decorative trim. Both the list at the bottom left and the icon “filmstrip” on the right illustrate this. This helps to ensure that all our operators are taking measurements the same way.
And, lastly, notice the work instructions located at the top left of the screen, just under the black bar. This, along with the filmstrip, can also help with consistency (not to mention training a new employee).
So, the operator selects the measurement they’re going to make, performs the measurement, keys in the appropriate figures, and clicks Save
. So easy. And if a measurement is out-of-spec in the collection process, the system sends a notification, letting them know:
Another Enact feature that is unequaled is mobility. Our soldiers will particularly enjoy this. Since it’s a cloud-based system, they can access Enact from a tablet and feel free to move about the shop floor (battlefield) and, for instance, see their alerts and notifications and perform a data collection.
It’s easy to see how the mobility of Enact truly enhances its usefulness for operators.
So, this has been a brief look at how visually engaging and easy to use Enact is. It’s a system that operators can embrace. They can focus on the many tasks they need to perform throughout the day without worrying about data collections or alerts. Enact is there to let them know when they need to shift their focus.
In the next piece in this Soldiers, Firefighters, and Generals
blog series, we’ll look closely at how easy Enact makes the lives of quality inspectors and managers—the Firefighters. Until next time…
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