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    Eric Fogg
    Eric Fogg Dashboards, MachineMetrics / February 18, 2021

    Manufacturing Dashboards: Visualize Production In Real-Time

    Using a Manufacturing Dashboard to Optimize Production

    Digital dashboards are one of the most effective tools to use for production optimization in manufacturing. With better information comes better decisions, and a real-time display of the highest priority information using a digital dashboard means that decisions can be made well and made quickly. While the data may range from simple to complex, a digital dashboard offers a dynamic visual that is easy to understand at a glance. This sort of instantaneous feedback helps improve the overall efficiency of manufacturing operations, helps supervisors spot any situations that require attention, offer feedback to floor workers who can adjust their behaviors as needed to meet production goals, and even encourage dialogue between floor workers and management to help better set realistic expectations and voice concerns. They also boost plant utilization and can help unearth the causes behind unplanned downtime and defective products.

    Because digital dashboards are used to track KPIs, they bring the most valuable information to the forefront—an important approach for agile and lean manufacturers who may have to pivot on a dime.

    Digital Manufacturing Dashboard Above Shop FloorThe MachineMetrics Performance dashboard provides instant real-time visibility into the state of the shop floor and gives operators an easy way to see how they are performing against expectations, and allows them to make faster, more confident decisions.

    Replacing Your Whiteboard with a Digital Dashboard 

    The whiteboard has been a staple on the factory floor for years, increasingly so as lean manufacturing became the status quo.

    "You can't manage what you can't measure."

    - W. Edwards Deming (Statistician & QA Expert) or Peter Drucker (Management Consultant), depending on who you ask

    This whiteboard was usually mounted on a wall in a central location and smudged with faded colors where leadership erased and updated the info a few times a day and many times per week—sometimes hourly, sometimes by shift. Tracked stats might include planned vs. actual production numbers, important notes about anything that occurred (or simple motivational scribbles), and a sign-off from whoever added the notes.

    Of course, because these numbers get erased frequently, if someone forgot to log the information in a new location, then those numbers were often lost to time. Not to mention that the numbers were often wrong to begin with due to human error or forgetfulness. Similarly, poor handwriting sometimes made numbers unreadable, leaving high-priority stats to a squinty guessing game.

    This whiteboard is the predecessor to the modern manufacturing dashboard. More than a few improvements have been made since the analog days, however. Digital dashboards win over whiteboards for many reasons, including:

    • Real-time updates for instant production visibility and shop floor feedback
    • Automatic calculations—how many parts does a shop floor employee need to complete to catch up to the day’s goal? Are they ahead of schedule? How many minutes ahead or behind schedule is the floor as a whole? How many defective products have been manufactured at each station and overall?
    • Machine precision ensures stats are accurate and readable.
    • Long-term trends can be seen using data that is logged continuously (rather than erased), even after it no longer appears on the screen. Any number of these factors can be utilized to gain insights or make predictions using numbers rather than intuition alone.
    • Literal visibility from across the shop floor thanks to large, high-definition screens often used to display digital production dashboards, so everyone can see how they’re doing in real time.
    • Remote viewing capabilities enable leadership to stay apprised of shop floor data even when they are away from the facility, via their smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

    Manufacturing Dashboards Unlock Real-Time Insights

    Production dashboards are a valuable analytics tool for lean manufacturers when used wisely. That is to say, when the dashboard is used to display the most immediately understandable, relevant, high-priority information that workers can actually do something with.

    However, production dashboards like the one used as a part of MachineMetrics are customizable based on need. Whether that need is immediate information about utilization and production numbers visible to the shop floor or long-term trends to show investors and stakeholders, this type of production dashboard can be configured with the most relevant information for the audience at hand. Color coding makes these types of dashboards easy to read and understand quickly, without the need to go into all of the technicalities which are unneeded in most situations.

    As for the numbers that make digital dashboards function, that data must be collected from the shop floor. For example, machine data captured using the MachineMetrics High Frequency Data Adapter can be used to understand utilization trends, possible machinery complications that require maintenance, production capacity, and much more, with a data collection rate of 1kHz (that’s 1000x faster than other sensors on the market). With our data transformation engine, all types of machine data can be collected and put into a standardized data structure so you can get actionable insights that much faster.

    shop-floor-iot-integrationThe MachineMetrics IIoT Platform collects machine and operator data, and displays it in performance dashboards that are available both on the shop floor as well as remotely.

    Edge computing (learn more about how edge computing is used in manufacturing) is used to analyze data on-site for real-time predictions and other insights while remote data storage via the cloud lets you collect and store all types of information for later, deeper analysis. It’s easy to pull whichever data is most relevant and meaningful to the questions you want to ask, rather than having to wade through mounds of endless, unhelpful numbers. Then, automatically pull that info into easy-to-understand dashboards tailored to your audience.

    TL;DR Measure and analyze what’s most important to your specific production KPIs so you can make better decisions and faster predictions at every step of the manufacturing process. Show what’s most important through a color-coded dashboard that gives an at-a-glance visual representation of even complex data.

    How Can MachineMetrics Help?

    From simple machine monitoring and performance dashboards, to deeper advanced analysis based on your historical data, MachineMetrics IIoT Platform transforms shop floor insights into actions. Our plug-and-play solutions will make it easy to get your machines connected quickly, with access to the data in a matter of minutes.

    Learn more about our Machine Monitoring solution or set up a demo with our team.

    MachineMetrics Machine Monitoring



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