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Why You Need a Product Champion for Production Monitoring

time clock 8 min read • October 22, 2018 evocon product champion
martin lääts profile

Martin Lääts

Head of Design & Service

Starting to monitor production machines in real-time is often a breakthrough moment for a lot of manufacturers. A breakthrough regarding efficiency, profitability, transparency and in the ability to continuously improve their production process. This change requires a product champion who is responsible for the implementation of production monitoring and OEE.

But as with most new things, change can be difficult, and we see it all the time with our clients. In Evocon we call it the hesitation paradox – will this work in my factory, how will people react, how difficult it is to implement a new system and so on. This means that hesitating to move forward actually robs you of the benefits that you know, you will get.

So if you hesitate, then know that you are not alone and the roots of this lie in the history of legacy systems.

Luckily, times have changed, and digital and service focused solutions are the new norm. It no longer takes months to implement a digital tool. Instead, you can do it within days if not hours. It costs hundreds, instead of tens of thousands. And there is a support team on the other end whose primary focus is to help you with every step of the way.

We at Evocon understand this, and our primary goal is to help you make your first step as easy as possible. And it all starts with our free trial period. The test period enables you to run Evocon in your production so that you can experience the benefits first-hand.

How to get the most out of your Evocon free trial?

Since the process of monitoring machines in real-time has the potential to help uncover the true potential of your factory. Then how can you make sure you get the most value from your Evocon free trial?

What you need to know is that despite all production processes being different, there is an underlying formula for success. And if you follow the most important factors, you significantly improve the chances of it being an immediate success in your company.

It all starts with a product champion

We’ve found that the most significant indicator of implementation success of OEE is not only the user-friendliness of Evocon. But the excitement and competency of a product champion or team who takes personal responsibility to train and motivate people on the shop floor and investigate the newly collected data.

evocon product champion

Below, we’ll cover some ways you can be that champion for effective outcomes.

Inspire employees

If this is your first time using a system to collect real-time data, you need to make sure you have everyone’s buy-in. The people doing the jobs may feel insecure – they may think that the new system is there to watch over their shoulder.

We suggest that you present it as a communication tool to assist them in finding opportunities for improvement as well as letting them report what the real problems are that they are experiencing.

But saying is not the same as showing. People need to feel, not hear, how their jobs will get easier. That is why make sure you demonstrate to operators how easy it is for them to communicate the reasons for downtime using Evocon – a paper-based system is replaced with a few clicks, misunderstanding of responsibility is replaced with transparency. It gives them a chance to experience how things will change for the better and what other communications tools are not necessary anymore.

Read more about this from our article: “How to effectively communicate OEE to the shop floor?”

Introduce ownership

For the free trial to be successful, you may want to select a machine or equipment that is run by at least one highly-engaged employee, a product champion. Someone who welcomes change and who is passionate about what they do. You probably already know who that person is.

Let them know that you have chosen this piece of equipment for the trial because you value their input on the process and product. It also serves another purpose – it sets an example for others. So that when you move beyond the free trial, other operators know that it works.

But operators are only one side of the coin. You also need to engage with your shift managers, operations manager, maintenance manager, and quality manager during the trial. The more people you can involve in the process, the better. You may be surprised at who catches the vision!

Provide training

The Evocon team will be with you as needed every step of the way, from implementation to training to data analysis. However, it’s up to you to meet with your internal team and set up a plan to review the product, process and the new data. Make sure that everyone who interacts with the system feels sufficiently trained and is encouraged to explore the program.

Since the trial is 30 days, you need to get momentum as quickly as possible. We suggest running a demo and introducing the most relevant functions with your team before kick-off and training. And you can use our demo environment for this. Also, make sure that people involved know that they can always turn to our Knowledge base to find instructions or that they can write to our support.

The most successful companies have champions like you watching Evocon every day and frequently soliciting internal feedback as questions arise.

Encourage questions

Expect a lot of questions when you first start with Evocon. In fact, if you are not getting questions, the chances are that it’s not in use. There will be questions about data collection, discussion about the best reasons for downtime and questions about the data itself.

A favourite word of your team members on this project should be “Why?”. Why are there small gaps at regular intervals here? Why does it take 20 minutes to change over? Or why was there unscheduled maintenance on this equipment? Let everyone know that you love the “Why?” questions.

Read more about using the 5-why analysis in our article: “We have live OEE data, now what?”

By encouraging questions, you also promote curiosity. Helping people find answers to different questions and allowing them to see collected data makes the project more exciting to everyone. And you don’t know what opportunities it will uncover.

Build habits with feedback

If your company has different shifts, we recommend using Evocon as a tool for shift-change communication. You can put Evocon up on a monitor and use the data to drive conversations during shift-change or other operational meetings.

First, it helps bring people together, and it encourages conversations between people. Second, it removes emotion from discussions, because everyone sees the same picture and understands what is going on in a unified way. Lastly, and most importantly, it creates a habit of collecting and analysing data. And the success of every new procedure is how fast it becomes a habit.

Monitor and analyse collected data

In the first week, you’ll want to spend at least 10 minutes a day reviewing data collected. And one of the most important things to monitor is if operators are filling in the reasons for downtime. This input is crucial for discovering what the actual problems are in your production process.

Another key question that you should look for an answer is if collected data make sense based on what you know about that particular machine. For example, you should pay close attention to the performance indicator and especially if it is above 100%. It could mean that operators are not marking product changeovers or you need to make changes in cycle times. It could also mean that the Evocon device settings need fine-tuning.

Within a few days to a week, you’ll want to play with the reporting tools available in Evocon. And see if any patterns are emerging.

Remember, small improvements can add up to significant gains. For example, if you save 20 minutes per day of unnecessary downtime, then you’ve contributed successfully to OEE. But most importantly you’ve saved an entire shift worth of planned production time during the free trial. For free.

Plan your next step

Once you dig deeper into the data, you will surely discover something you were not aware of. Write down any opportunities you see for improvement, but don’t start implementing any changes during the free trial.

Because the 30-day trial is setting the baseline for the improvements that can be made. After which you should set clear and attainable OEE targets. These opportunities become your ROI (return on investment) calculator for fully implementing Evocon at multiple machines later on.

The key takeaway is this. Implementing an OEE system is easy, and Evocon is the surely one of the simplest ways to get started. But the overall success of real-time monitoring and your free trial requires someone who cares to take ownership of the process, a product champion.