Corporate digitalisation campaigns often underestimate the need to include the administration, control, and monitoring on shopfloor level. Thus, classic topics of the daily shop floor meeting – such as daily targets, target/actual comparisons, reject rates or safety issues – are still presented in the form of Excel evaluations and with whiteboard markers on pin boards. As the well-established format is nothing bad at all, critics is rather about its delayed, out-of-date or often inconsistent data quality caused by one-dimensional, decentralised and asynchronous information processing. The result: A competitive disadvantage that should not be underestimated in the dynamic daily shop floor routine.
Based on the PDCA cycle – Plan!, Do!, Check!, Act! – digital shop floor management (dSFM) has the task of creating transparency to centrally control processes and resources at production and workshop level. In this way, disruptions and deviations from the standard process can be detected. Tools on what initially caused them can thus be provided. By automating the provision of information, processes can also be accelerated considerably. With the objective of designing a continuous improvement process, the advantages of dSFM are apparent:
But let’s get back to the initial question. We are convinced that dSFM is more than the digitalisation of the daily shop floor meeting. It is rather an essential key on the way to the digital factory. But more on that in a moment.
The digital factory grounds on the principle of the digital twin. Analogous to genetics – where identical twins share identical DNA – the digital twin shares specific functional characteristics with its analogue brother. In the smart factory, formerly isolated solutions and information silos in the shop floor (actual state) and supply chain management (planning state) are merged into a common digital ecosystem. So far so good! But aren’t several digital twins then again “just” an improved information silo? Slow down! The path to the digital factory is not taken in a sprint, but in smart steps! The ultimate goal is to synchronise digital twins into a digital hub in a holistic end-to-end approach.
The dSFM requires a clear architecture of the applied software. In addition to the classic structure – backend, applications and frontend – a PaaS solution paves the way to the networked future factory.
Due to its open interface infrastructure, Edge.One enables the linking of modular web applications from shop floor management, supply chain management, laboratory management and beyond. Both, complete modules, standard products and individual applications can thus be integrated straight through a cloud connection. The PaaS solution not only reduces the administrative effort noticeably; the integrated applications can also be easily scaled. By avoiding the need to purchase software and hardware, fixed costs are also significantly reduced. Finally, Edge.One may provide the digital anchor for future smart extensions, for example in the form of IIOT, augmented reality or blockchain applications.
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Head of Sales Germanedge