When we started MachineMetrics, we interviewed over one hundred manufacturers to better understand how the various manufacturing analytics platforms and Industry 4.0 solutions they were currently using were either letting them down or could be improved upon. One of the disappointments that continued to come up was a general lack of customer service and support after a company was sold. In many instances, this lead to a less than successful product implementation.
That’s why our strategy was to provide all customers with a customer success manager (CSM) whom, through routine meetings, helps train your team on our software and helps you meet performance goals. Customers often make feature suggestions, and CSMs are dedicated to making those requests a reality. CSMs are there to not only ensure success using our platform, but to know the right questions to ask and to make sure that customers are happy with their product experience.
Working with each new customer presents an opportunity for MachineMetrics’ Customer Success team to learn and improve. Through our experiences, we have identified 5 key success criteria that will prime your company for success with implementing our IOT platform and driving sustained value from the data and analytics provided. If you are a new customer of MachineMetrics or are considering the platform for your factory, here are some helpful tips:
1. Identify your internal champion(s)
Every initiative needs a champion and identifying this person, even before starting your MachineMetrics journey, is important. This person will serve as your staff ambassador and point of contact with MachineMetrics. The qualities needed in your champion are someone who is respected by your team (both office and factory floor), good communication skills, and the ability to manage internal action items. For many companies, their champion has a role in Continuous Improvement, Operations, or Engineering, but each organization should select the right player from their team. Getting this person involved early and ensuring they understand their role in the project is key.
2. Set goals and success criteria & share them with others
Having clear goals for utilizing the platform and success criteria to evaluate your progress against is a must. Whether its enhanced visibility into your production standards, downtime root cause analysis, or introducing OEE as new metric - having documented goals that everyone can work toward is an important step. We recommend you have an internal discussion about your goals and come to a consensus on priorities before your initial on-boarding.
Once your goals have been established, you should share them with your team. Your executives and managers will need to know what value you want to drive from MachineMetrics and can help you communicate your goals to their direct reports. The team working on your factory floor should also be informed of the goals and expectations so they can buy into the vision and feel part of the process. Finally, it’s important you share your goals with us! Your Customer Success Manager will also be asking about your goals during your first on-boarding call and will be using them to help measure your success.
3. Be transparent with your team
Change is hard, especially when it requires people to develop new routines in their day to day work. Our Customer Success team is frequently asked about proven strategies for introducing MachineMetrics in a positive and informative way. We encourage customers to be open with their teams - explain why you are implementing MachineMetrics and tie it to the goals you have established. Have a plan for how you will communicate MachineMetrics within your organization. Operator transparency is especially important. Having a tablet interface at their machine that is monitoring the process and performance can be an adjustment. Having the data to drive continuous improvement is important to making the job better for everyone. This is also a place to draw on your Customer Success manager for tailored
4. Take advantage of training & opportunities to interact
Successful training is another important component to success. Each MachineMetrics’ customer has a dedicated Customer Success Manager (CSM) who will coordinate and provide training for you and your team. During your onboarding, detailed system training and configuration will be provided and your CSM will discuss action plans for training the remainder of your team. Thinking about your training needs and communicating them to your CSM should be a priority.
In assessing training needs, it can be helpful to consider the following groups: Power Users, Executives & Managers, Supervisors, and Operators. Power users are your key ambassadors of using MachineMetrics and should include your champion. This group will need top to bottom training on the system and should be the go-to resource internally. Executives and Managers will need training to learn the key reports tailored for their role and how to use them. Supervisors also require thoughtful training as they play an important role in supporting the operators and responding to real-time issues on the factory floor. Operator engagement is the foundation of MachineMetrics, so focused training with this group is key. To aid in this. we have developed an operator training guide that takes less than 10 minutes to review and and can be kept at the machine for easy reference.
5. Build new routines and make them habits
To make the most of MachineMetrics, you need a plan to utilize the data throughout your company on a sustained basis. Operators need to be engaged at the machine and providing context to the data, supervisors should be using the dashboards to monitor the factory in real-time to quickly solve problems and improve machine utilization, and managers and executives need to regularly engage in the data and reports to drive continuous improvement across your facility. Be persistent, but patient with your team while they establish new routines and listen to their feedback.
As a company, we’re constantly looking to identify new ways that our team and our platform can help any manufacturer optimize their chances of successful implementations. In the end, the success of any product/technology implementation, MachineMetrics or other, can only be as good as a customer allows it to be. That said, preparing your workforce with the above strategies may allow you to succeed where others have failed.
Stacy Pease is Director of Customer Success at MachineMetrics. She is a seasoned manufacturing leader with shop floor management experience in multiple industries including aerospace, defense, and electronics. She has an MBA from UMASS Amherst and multiple certifications in lean manufacturing management.