4 JAN, 2021
AvatarMichal Gajdos

Do you want to produce efficiently? Digitize data!

Industry 4.0 is not just about manufacturing technology

In my practice, I often encounter the situation that manufacturing industries have a large number of modern, powerful and especially expensive production equipment. Businesses are trying as hard as possible to find "best practice" for their effective use. Process engineers spend hours innovating and optimizing processes. Their goal is clear - to increase productivity and reduce costs, through the results of advanced analyzes. However, the biggest obstacle is the data forming the inputs of individual analyzes. Inaccurate or even missing data (e.g. on the course of processes, time intervals of operations, unplanned interruptions of production) make it impossible to define realistic suggestions for improvements of a particular company. And so, despite the implementation of innovative technologies in production halls, companies are constantly struggling with the obstacles presented by outdated management tools.

Goodbye industrial "notice board" and documentation collector

Information about production processes is still most often recorded physically. The most valuable data for the development of companies are entered manually into production collection cards, preventive inspections of equipment, or checklists for the production of the first part. After collecting the production documentation is implemented a process that many companies consider to be digitization. It is a manual transcription of data and defining their electronic form – a digital document. It then serves as a platform to monitor equipment efficiency and eliminate major sources of waste. However, it is important to be aware of the following fact – the very process of "digitization" implemented in this particular way is a waste. At the same time, if a company uses the data obtained in this way for advanced analyzes, it may encounter a risk for several reasons, namely:

  • The production situation does not always correspond to the data in the paper documentation. Employees either intentionally or by mistake incorrectly fill in documentation.
  • Failure to meet deadlines for monitoring the process / equipment and entering key data into the documentation.
  • Errors arising during manual transcription and inattention.
  • Outdated results due to the enormous time required to transcribe all data from paper to electronic form.

However, the problems of "bulletin boards" are not just about production, and monitoring its progress. All departments of industrial enterprises are often collectors of documentation. During audits, employees become searchers whose task is to quickly find an up-to-date version of, for example, the FMEA, the equipment inspection plan, the annual equipment maintenance plan, the 5S audit plan etc.

The transformation of manually obtained data and their writing in an Excel document causes the reality and statements to be very different. I consider the use of barcodes directly in production and the tracking of the path from the input material to the final product to be an effective step towards digitizing processes.

It is still important to realize that we are still talking about paper documents. In companies that use such data, I encounter employees' distrust in the veracity of the data. The disks of their PCs or server storages are therefore full of outdated documentation, which is created "just to be."

iFORM-at your documents

The results of the analyzes are unsatisfactory and it is often necessary to supplement other types of data. A worker with paper documentation is thus the most stable element, I guess, of all companies. How can companies deviate from this breaking spiral of paper / digital oversaturation of an organization with inefficient data?

My answer is iFORMS. These represent the rapid transformation of production and non-production forms into electronic form and provide space for their effective analysis. They can be used wherever the company needs to quickly and efficiently monitor data on a regular basis. In addition, they have the ability to create their own updates without complex and lengthy programming.

Why is iFORMS considered a step towards SMART Factory:

  • Forms are always available and in one place.
  • Online data access.
  • Flexibility - the possibility of connection with the current corporate information system.
  • Clear identification of the user (login) and the time of the registration.
  • Wide range of uses - work procedures, inspection standards, instructions, checklists, forms and more.
  • An attractive solution,
  • Dashboard presenting real production results.
Procedure Efficiency

Access to the iFORMS documentation can be realized through the use of NFC tags, QR codes and a web interface. It depends on the specific operation which type determines to be the most suitable. However, if you are worried whether the alternative you have chosen is the most suitable for your company, we will advise you together with our colleagues.

In addition, we can help you with the development and setup of the system based on your requirements for the collection, evaluation and processing of forms. Based on the initial assessment and analysis of the current state, we will prepare your unique optimization package, which, among other things, contains suggestions for improvement. We offer several alternatives for cooperation:

  • Transform paper documentation into iFORMS and create an interactive dashboard.
  • Transformation of paper documentation into iFORMS.
  • Professional outsourcing creation of documentation by our specialists under your guidance.

I hope that after reading these lines, you are certain that without effective and reliable data, you will face ever-deepening obstacles on the way to Industry 4.0. You can also get more information about the product at the web address iForms.

If you are interested in getting your current collection of documentation into digital form, I look forward to meeting you in person.