Identifying opportunities for improvement

As another year approaches, tradition suggests we take time to reflect on what we've accomplished and identify opportunities for improvement. There's a lot to be said for taking inventory of where you are and where you want to be. There are pragmatic applications to self awareness that can translate into work and business environments.

11/01/2009


As another year approaches, tradition suggests we take time to reflect on what we've accomplished and identify opportunities for improvement. There's a lot to be said for taking inventory of where you are and where you want to be.

There are pragmatic applications to self awareness that can translate into work and business environments. Plant Engineering editor Bob Vavra recently wrote in his “Five Fast Things” blog: “If you don't have a baseline for everything going on in your plant, you cannot manage your operation. A big part of that is understanding your infrastructure. What works and what doesn't, and how much is what doesn't work costing you?”

Measuring KPIs and collecting data are important steps, but they are just the beginning of understanding what's going on in your plant. Translating collected data into useful information requires analysis; proper analysis requires context.

Now that you have useful information within the proper context, what should you do with what you know? If the information is truly useful, it will have identified opportunities for improving your operations such as equipment that is not operating as efficiently as it could, processes that could be designed to move workflow more efficiently or operators that could be working more productively.

Armed with the knowledge of where improvement opportunities are, plants can then apply solutions such as repairing, adjusting or optimizing equipment; designing processes to minimize waste and maximize productivity; and training employees to identify waste, work more efficiently and strive for a culture of continuous improvement.

Managing data, information and knowledge enables plants to understand where they are, where they are going and how to get there.





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
2015 Top Plant: Phoenix Contact, Middletown, Pa.; 2015 Best Practices: Automation, Electrical Safety, Electrical Systems, Pneumatics, Material Handling, Mechanical Systems
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Migrating industrial networks; Tracking HMI advances; Making the right automation changes
Understanding transfer switch operation; Coordinating protective devices; Analyzing NEC 2014 changes; Cooling data centers
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.