One night a few years back, while sitting and chatting over dinner, a colleague from the manufacturing industry once asked me to list the things about ProFicient™
, our industry-leading real-time statistical process control (SPC
) solution, that I found most compelling for potential customers. Before I could answer, he interrupted. “Like this,” he said, and then embarked on what he called an “elevator pitch” description of his own company’s product. It only took about thirty seconds. It seemed like a great exercise.
When he was done, I tried to create my own version of the elevator pitch for ProFicient on the fly. It was a fun exercise and it reminded me of why I love this product and this industry so much. In a nutshell, here’s my quick list of the five things I included in my pitch—things about ProFicient our customers can’t live without:
- Reminders and notifications
- Ensured compliance
- Unparalleled analysis capabilities
So, that’s my list. Allow me to extrapolate from my “elevator pitch” and explain in this short blog.
The shop floor is a different world. Different from anything you might imagine. Sure, there are computers there, just like in your office; but the environment in which the computers reside is utterly different.
When you’re on the shop floor, machines whirring and people and objects moving all around you, the one thing that you need and most desire is simplicity. You don’t want to be using software that requires you to stop everything, sit down, put on your thinking cap, and click the mouse a thousand times. I’ve heard that over and over again from folks I’ve met in the manufacturing industry.
So, simplicity for an operator is desire number one. They honestly can’t live without it. ProFicient is designed specifically for helping operators quickly and easily enter and analyze data. ProFicient is “big-button-based,” and has been optimized for shop floor usage. And the reason why is self-evident: we are manufacturing people first. We have worked on shop floors around the world, and we understand the challenges operators face. InfinityQS is filled with people who have spent many years on the shop floors of myriad companies—earning our stripes through hard work. So, we appreciate that simplicity is critical for operators.
Reminders and Notifications
Reminders and notifications are very important for operators. These invaluable prompts can be generated in ProFicient for manufacturing limit and statistical violations, checklist violations, and timed data collections.
ProFicient Alarm Pop-up Windows Alert Operators in Real Time
First of all, you definitely want your operators and supervisors to be notified whenever a violation of any kind occurs. In a blog I wrote a little while back, Don’t Drive Blindfolded—The Importance of Real-Time Data in Modern Manufacturing
, I stated that “Companies strive to be as efficient as possible, which means they want to run their production lines at optimal speeds with minimal downtime, so they can get as much product out the door as quickly as possible. The trick is ensuring that you’re creating good quality products while operating at high speed.”
To always operate at optimal speed, you must have reminders for data collection events and notifications for when your processes get a little out of whack. These instant notifications help to ensure minimal downtime and maximum communication with support personnel and management.
Operators need to collect all sorts of different types of data throughout their busy day. Rather than burdening operators with remembering when they're supposed to collect data, ProFicient remembers…and ProFicient reminds
Great big windows pop up and say, "Hey, in a few minutes you need to collect data." A little later, another one pops up: "Hey, you’ve got X minutes left to perform your data collection." And yet again: "Hey, your data collection is required right now."
ProFicient Data Collection Reminders Help Ensure Data is Collected on Time
Operators love these reminders. They don't have to remember to look at their watch to assess whether or not they need to collect data. ProFicient software automatically tells them. Managers love the reminders, too, because they don't have to worry about whether or not a data collection has been missed. Yet, if a data collection is
missed, emails and notifications can be instantly sent to management and support personnel.
Giving operators data collection notifications is an easy and simple way to keep them organized, prepared, and in control of their day-to-day workflow.
ProFicient Event Information Notifies Operators About Potentially Serious Problems
Compliance is more than external regulations or hopeful afterthoughts around quality; instead, compliance is inherently connected to both product and process quality. Finding defective products and stopping them from being shipped is essential, but a solid compliance program also has process at the center of your quality strategy.
So, let’s build a typical scenario…
Let's say something's happened on a production line somewhere in your plant. The operator was pulled away from their computer for some reason. They're not standing in front of it. They get a reminder from ProFicient, but they fail to collect the data, because they weren’t there to see the data collection notification. Well, immediately there's a potential compliance concern.
But who's made aware of that compliance concern? Well, first of all, the operator gets a big red window saying, "You didn't collect data." Then ProFicient communicates that information to a supervisor. Anytime there's an exception that's created, those exceptions are communicated via email and other formats. So, imagine those managers who are responsible for compliance, they receive emails stating that someone didn't collect data. Well, it's better to know now, the moment that happens, rather than at the end of the shift—because at the end of the shift it could be a disaster.
Failing to collect compliance data can be risky and expensive. It's possible that hours’ worth of production—or even an entire shift’s product—would need to be placed on hold and inspected for defects. That’s both time-consuming and expensive
ProFicient helps our customers comply with regulatory and other requirements. By doing so, ProFicient simultaneously prevents extra costs and inspections that shouldn't have to occur when data collections are performed on time, when expected.
Unparalleled Analysis Capabilities
As my colleague, Greg Matranga, our VP of Global Marketing, states in his blog, Statistical Process Control Analysis—Take Data to the Next Level
: “The importance of analysis to manufacturing operations can’t be overstated. Over the years, manufacturers have used statistical tools to study historical data to reveal information regarding unique differences between comparable items: shifts, products, machines and processes, plants, lot codes, etc.”
ProFicient Control Charts Allow Operators to Monitor Real-time Quality Performance
“Historical information forms the foundation for specifying performance differences between comparable items and if those differences are consistent over time. Control charts are brilliant tools for assessing performance over time, and their related ‘control limits’ are predictions of normal future behavior.” I couldn’t agree more.
Sadly, many manufacturers still use paper and spreadsheets for their statistical analysis and overall quality control system. I’ve been witness to some astounding transformations for customers who have switched from pencil and paper to a digital system, like ProFicient.
They begin gathering their data electronically, and then our software can take that raw data and put it into summary reports and create statistical analyses and metrics specific to what's happening on their plant floor. Before their very eyes, that data is converted into information that's actionable
. Converting data into information is one of the things that ProFicient does exceptionally well. Once they understand ProFicient’s prodigious analysis superpowers, our customers can no longer live without them.
ProFicient Box & Whisker Plots Simplify Data Analysis
Converting data into information helps our customers to dramatically reduce their costs, ensure compliance, improve efficiencies, and maximize machine up-time.
ProFicient’s creative, flexible, and amazing analysis powers put information into our customers’ hands that they have never seen before. Creatively analyzing data is truly a ProFicient superpower.
ProFicient was architected from the ground up to be something that can be used on any shop floor around the world—no matter how challenging or complex. How do I know? Because I’ve helped our clients do so. ProFicient has incredible flexibility in how data can be gathered and how that data can be analyzed. It's truly amazing.
Do you have a single plant with two production lines and a couple of product codes? No problem. We can handle it. Do you have 50 plants, thousands of product codes, and hundreds of production lines? No problem. You say you work in automotive, aerospace, food, beverage, packaging, or other complex industries? No troubles. ProFicient software can handle your challenge.
ProFicient can handle the smallest, most focused quality efforts to the largest, grandest scales of quality deployments that you can imagine, and do it all with that same focus on simplicity that we've had from day one.
And that is my extended explanation elevator speech. To summarize more simply, ProFicient is a great product because of its:
- Reminders and notifications
- Ensured compliance
- Unparalleled analysis capabilities
Want more information about ProFicient? We would be happy to help. Just contact one of our account managers (1.800.772.7978 or via our website
) for more information.