How to Improve Troubleshooting Efficiency on the Plant Floor: Your questions answered

Webcast presenter Alex Leclerc from Poka answered additional questions about topics such as knowledge bases, CMMS integration, and capturing and transferring knowledge.
By Alex Leclerc, Poka April 5, 2018
Courtesy: PokaThe "How to Improve Troubleshooting Efficiency on the Plant Floor" webcast was presented live on Mar. 28, 2018, by Alex Leclerc, CEO, Poka. The webcast can be found here.
Leclerc supplied written answers to some of those questions that weren’t addressed from the webcast attendees:

Question: Can you describe Poka and how it is different from other factory floor applications?

Answer: Poka is a manufacturing software built first and foremost for the factory floor. It makes it possible for operators and mechanics to use a mobile app to easily access standard procedures and training content, and to create a connected network of equipment and experts to ensure continuous improvements are shared in real-time.

Q: Does a solution like this help get the operator involved in routine maintenance?
A: Yes, like operating procedures, routine maintenance tasks like cleaning, inspecting and lubricating the machines can be easily taught to operators via guides through micro-learning, videos.
Q: Is this for small equipment or large machine applications?
A: Both. Equipment as small (and simple) as a label printer to equipment as large (and complex) as a blowmolder can added to the app.
Q: How can we capture this operator/technician knowledge gained from experience on the machines, without bogging down these key people with "paperwork" to record troubleshooting steps and not just the final solution?
A: That’s the benefit of a solution like Poka – you can avoid the need to document lengthy procedures in writing. Instead, solutions can be captured in real-time using videos, photos and brief descriptions, then reviewed and approved for publication.
Q: What are suggested strategies for capturing and transferring knowledge (machine and equipment failure and remedies) from senior experienced personnel to new less experienced personnel?
A: Make it easy for frontline workers to log issues and send out calls for help to experts across the company. When a solution is found, it should be automatically logged into a knowledge base and made available for operators on those machines for future reference.
Q: How are knowledge bases managed and moderated so they are useful to everyone on the team?
A: Guides are assigned to departments, depending on their guide category. All users belonging to a given department have access to its content (associated guides).
Q: How long or difficult is CMMS integration and how long would it take to integrate with our system?
A: Depends on the complexity of needs. If the integration you need is simple or similar to one we’ve already done with a previous customer, it could be done within a day. If it’s a complex and unfamiliar process, we could be looking at weeks.
Q: When you speak of empowering employees, for example operators, what is the strategy in using Poka in a unionized environment where the application of solutions may be considered to be outside someone’s job description?
A: Change management is a key factor of our implementation methodology, more specifically employee buy-in. It is important to be able to communicate the benefits of Poka to operators. We can share results from other factories that demonstrate Poka can make tasks easier, faster and more effective. And as manufacturers work to attract a younger workforce, the ability of Poka to empower operators and give them a voice is actually a welcome change to traditional factory floors.
Q: What is the best way to avoid "tribal" knowledge on the plant floor and ensure that everything is documented for everyone to see?
A: What’s most important is to offer a platform for workers to share knowledge and then encourage participation in the app. Some common mistakes are overly restrictive posting/sharing rules and/or a lack of timely feedback and comments on posts.
Q: What are the cost savings associated to the efficiency?
A: ROI and benefits of a solution like Poka will vary from one company to another however we have seen customers realize 4% improvement in OEE, another 5.9% reduction in equipment downtime.
Q: How do we support remote troubleshooting?
A: Experts (from anywhere on the planet) are assigned to equipments. Whenever a problem is identified on a machine, those experts will have access to it. Using the Poka platform, workers can send out calls for help to ensure experts are notified and include photos or videos of the problem, making it possible often for a mechanic to resolve the problem remotely.
Q: How do you incentivize knowledge base article creation?
A: Workers first need to be explained and convinced of the benefits of using Poka and contributing to a shared knowledge base. Sponsorship for the new way of working needs to come from leadership while gaining buy-in from workers. Operators will be encouraged to contribute once they see first hand the value and convenience of the platform. For this reason, the initial implementation should include a minimum ‘critical mass’ of content be created.
Q: What can you tell us about security of the information?
A: The Poka information security program is managed by a dedicated security team is based on the ISO 27001 Information Security Standard. The information security policies, procedures and work instructions are approved by management and available to all Poka employees. As a Cloud Native application, we work hard to ensure that our efforts are in alignment with these standards, code of practices and industry best practices:
  • ISO 27002
  • ISO 27017 – Code of practice for cloud service providers
  • ISO 27018 – Code of practice for protection of personally identifiable information (PII) in the cloud
  • Cloud Security Alliance – Cloud Controls Matrix
  • OWASP best practices
  • IAPP best practices.
As a result, we have built an application that thrives on the Secure by Design principles of the OWASP. It’s based on a modern technology stack that provides the agility, performance, reliability, availability and the level of information security and privacy to meet our customer’s most stringent requirements.
  • Poka is frequently infosec audits from our customers
  • NDAs and confidentiality politics apply to everything related to the usage of Poka
  • iPads can be configured to lockdown whenever taken away from the plant.
Alex Leclerc, Poka