Operational Consistency – Operator Driven Reliability

I recently presented a webinar on the topic of Operational Consistency – Operator Driven Reliability focusing on stable, standardized operational processes for Operational Excellence. I believe that at its core, Operational Excellence is the state of an organization – it’s a culture, where problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership result in ongoing organizational improvement. This operational approach demands shared standards across all departments, areas, production shifts, etc. with repeatable, measurable processes. The critical inter-dependencies that support this foundation involve People, Procedures, and Technology.

With the awareness that an organization’s culture is a living, breathing thing, it is important to recognize that within that culture, individual “tribes” form. In manufacturing, these tribes could be shifts, departments, maintenance groups, operator teams, etc. Each tribe has its own practices, processes and even language, such as referring to a piece of equipment by one name, while another shift uses an entirely different name. Often tribes will not proactively share information across the workforce and this dynamic prohibits collaborative teamwork and the sharing of best practices or innovation and this provides a catalyst for a culture change in order to reach the state of Operational Excellence.

So, how do you create repeatable, measurable processes across tribes while fostering a culture of collaboration and a continuous drive to improve? Our proven method to develop operational consistency using accurate manufacturing data follows three basic steps:

  1. Document  The operators know the equipment and processes better than anyone else and there are Best Practices and SOPs to be gained by collecting this knowledge.
  2. Implement – Using technology, media and other tools to deploy this knowledge in the proper context for each user across the workforce in a standardized platform.
  3. Measuring the Results – using selected relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to set the baseline.

Automation and Manufacturing Intelligence solutions are key to capturing consistent and usable data on all plant processes and ensuring that the processes are conducted the same way each and every time. What technology should be considered to enable this to happen in your operation?

  • Workflow products such as Microsoft SharePoint, Archestra Workflow by Wonderware, Proficiency Workflow by GE and FactoryTalk by Rockwell Automation to facilitate standardized electronic procedures, multi-user remote access, e-signatures, and notifications and reminders. Workflow tools allow automated and manual processes to be combined, accurately capturing and recording steps across procedures.
  • HMI knowledge delivery of the SOPs and Best Practices such as, online 1-point lessons, instructional video, etc. creates consistency at the point of action.
  • Mobile Interface Devices – enable employees to move around the facility and conduct automated tasks and electronically document events in real time.
  • CBLOs (Computer-based Learning Objects) provide consistent training and assessment on a scheduled or ad hoc basis to ensure all members of the various tribes are using the same process and speaking the same language. These serve two purposes: employee development as well as performance support.

Centralized knowledge deployment tools ensure access to standardized and consistent best practices and SOPs across the workforce at the place and time that the information is needed.

Operational Excellence is the state of an organization based on reliability through consistency and efficiency. Creating Operational Consistency is achieved through leveraging your tribes to create a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement. Overall, the measurements should improve and become more consistent across the workforce delivering data-driven results to continuously improve the baseline.

For more insights on creating operational consistency with manufacturing intelligence tools, visit our Think Tank to download free whitepapers: Share and Share Alike and Tribal Knowledge.

View the full presentation, Operational Consistency – Operator Driven Reliability