Manufacturing Execution System • October 31, 2022

Tricks or treats on your shop floor this Halloween?

Sung Kim Sung Kim

If you’re anything like me, sometimes work problems can keep you up at night. It probably takes only a moment to list a few of the tricks that commonly haunt your shop floor. Suppliers occasionally send defective parts, which are hopefully caught in the testing and sampling phase—but if not, they become downstream component issues. Supply chain problems can disrupt production plans. And isolated work systems can make it difficult for your various departments to communicate.

Fortunately, iBase-t has filled the Solumina iSeries with treats to improve your operations inside and out. So, in the spirit of the Halloween season, here are some treats to look for in your digital transformation:

Treat #1: MES-PLM integration
A major step toward a modern factory is tightly integrating MES with PLM to create closed-loop data feedback. These two applications are at the core of your business, yet most manufacturers still use manual data entry to exchange information between them. Wouldn’t it be a treat if your PLM and MES could work together?

iBase-t is making it happen. Solumina MES provides standard integration layer through BIS (Business Integration Services) layer and REST APIs for easy and proven integrations with PLM. There’s also a Software Developer Kit (SDK) that enables users to create reduces or custom APIs, microservices, and custom user interfaces. More help is coming too, as iBase-t is committed to integration across the manufacturing environment.

Treat #2: Embedded quality
A truly spooky situation for any factory is a discrepancy during manufacture. First, you have to hope the problem is spotted before it escapes the plant. Then, production has to grind to a halt while the quality team is notified, the root cause is identified, and a replacement part is found. The speed with which all this happens will determine how much damage the manufacturer suffers. With Solumina MES, quality checkpoints can be enforced during production, improving the odds of detecting discrepancies in the first place. Workers can then take a quick picture or video and send it straight to the quality team, who can analyze the problem and provide a quick response. The solution can be as easy as looking through a standard parts list and selecting a replacement. Quality is embedded in this fashion throughout Solumina MES, so quality issues become much less scary.

Treat #3: Streamlined shop floor
It may seem simple, but it’s important: back and forth time between computers can consume a lot of time for a worker. If you’re taking gloves off and filling in checklists at a computer terminal at every step, the time adds up. It’s worse if workers have to move around the shop floor looking for other people to get information or sign-offs. In Solumina MES, online work instructions have built-in data collections to keep the process running efficiently. For supervisors, there are standards that help plan how much time an operation will take and to ensure billed hours are accurate. Streamlined online work instructions and improved communication free up time for everyone to work faster and smarter.

Treat #4: Expanded digital capabilities
Your business’s performance doesn’t stop within its four walls. How are your products doing in the field? Do you know which suppliers are helping your business, and which ones are hurting it? Are you claiming your share of the maintenance and repair business?

Solumina SQM provides visibility into supplier quality assurance and compliance, manages incoming inspections, and maintains full histories and reports so you can continuously improve supplier quality. And Solumina MRO brings the power of digitalization to maintenance, repair and overhaul operations; it expedites, streamlines and simplifies intricate, often error-prone MRO processes while lowering maintenance costs.

Treat #5: Cloud-native solutions
Out of everything I have mentioned in this blog, cloud-native design might be Solumina’s greatest treat. In the words of research vice president at Gartner, Sid Nag: “Cloud is the powerhouse that drives today’s digital organizations.” The Solumina iSeries is designed for cloud deployment, enabling manufacturers to get started faster, integrate more deeply, and save money. In order to harness the full potential of the cloud, Solumina’s cloud-native design has the flexibility to respond to sudden changes by delivering containerized microservices. Leveraging Solumina APIs, shop floor can bring artificial intelligence and machine learning services. To top it off, Solumina’s cloud native design future-proofs your digital solutions by simplifying upgrades and scaling.

A “sweet” of solutions
This blog has covered only a few of the many ways that iBase-t’s solutions suite can help you avoid problems on the shop floor. Today’s manufacturing environment is filled with possibilities, both good and bad. So, will it be a trick or a treat for your shop floor this Halloween? Every situation is different, but one thing is certain. If you know what to look for in your digital applications, your factory will be a lot less scary—not to mention more profitable!

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