Schlauer Raum Blog

When the chaos of others disrupt your smooth production flow

The shop floor is digitalised, the processes are optimised. Everything in flow in your own production hall. The reassuring momentum of security when the morning view shows the shop floor dashboard: Everything under control. Until this one phone call. About which a supplier tells us that something is anything but fine with him. Gone is the perfect flow. Gone are the stability and planning reliability. Instead chaos and hectic rush. Welcome to reality.

What seemed fine a moment ago can suddenly sink into chaos. The large number of causal relationships within an entire production environment means that a well-structured shop floor does not mean that production is – and will remain – in a perfect flow. We have known how quickly things around us change, at the latest since the Corona pandemic. There is no way to stop or prevent this. But that does not mean that we are powerless to face incidents.

The full extent of the existing dependencies often only becomes apparent when the worst-case scenario has occurred. Delays or errors on the part of a single supplier not only lead to standing machines in the production hall, but also have consequences for inventory management, quality management and the customer – who will certainly not be very happy about having to wait for his end product. Apart from the monetary and financial expenses that cause disruptions at any point of the production process, the endangered reputation is the much bigger problem. Dissatisfied customers are not interested in the details of the problems. The manufacturer is responsible for them.

The bad news is that just because everything is going well today, there is no guarantee that it will be the same tomorrow. The good news is that there are ways to protect yourself from such horror scenarios.

Victim or creator?

The decision on what to do in the event of a malfunction can be made at the moment when the problem occurs. But it does not have to be. This is where the wheat is separated from the chaff: who is waiting for the problem to be dealt with and who is strategically preparing for the greatest possible number of eventualities in order to be able to calmly fall back on existing tools and skills in case of doubt.

This is where a sentence becomes real money: Success comes to those who do not wait for the future, but actively shape it. A strategy that takes the entire production process into account and does not stop at the boundaries of the production hall not only offers protection in the event of a malfunction, but also potential for optimisation. After all, the real potential of digital production lies in looking at all sub-processes and choosing a 360° digitisation approach. This horizontal digitisation approach has now become established under the term Industry 4.1.

Technologies as the immune system of production

Digitalisation should help people to make faster and better decisions. And this is not possible if only the shop floor is digitalised. The key to long-term, forward-looking success lies in an X-ray of production from the individual supplier to customer feedback.

The most important thing to bear in mind here is that the use of a large number of individual solutions operating in their data silos will not provide the desired analyses in the event of a disaster. Only when all sub-processes are digitally interlinked can problems be detected at an early stage and well-founded options for action based on the data be identified.

Forward-looking technologies for digital production already include this approach of horizontal, uniformly presented digitisation. The overriding goal here is to create a digital image of the entire production environment to keep production flowing – or bring it into perfect flow – with intelligent data management and well-founded analyses.

Success comes to those who shape the future themselves, rather than waiting for it! Find out here how you can set up your production now, less susceptible to disruptions, for the future.

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