Gaining ‘Insights’ into your production
Canadian PlasticsCanadian Plastics Software
A new made-in-Canada software platform aims to make extracting value from production data easier than ever.
This isn’t difficult: The more production data a manufacturer has, the more resources and money it can save by streamlining its operations, which is critical as the industry continues to grapple with crippling labour shortages and skyrocketing costs.
A new software platform from Canadian technology company Worximity Technologies Inc. is designed to make extracting value from production data easier than ever. Called “Insights,” the software transforms metrics from the shop floor into concrete improvement opportunities prioritized according to the highest impact on the bottom line.
Worximity was founded by CEO Yannick Desmarais in 2011, and has helped improve the performance of more than 3,000 projects in North America so far, with technologies that enable automatic data collection, real-time operations monitoring, automated analytical reports, and preventive and predictive advice.
Data gathered by smart technology allows management to optimize production schedules, create more agile production processes, reduce downtime, and identify potential issues before they become major problems, Desmarais said – but despite these benefits, many shops are reluctant to make the leap. “These companies cite a variety of factors including concerns about cost, lack of expertise, and resistance to change,” he said. “And for some of those that do, the sheer volume of data available from a plant or multiple plants can be overwhelming. For data-gathering software to be useful, decision makers must have actionable data without relying on a team of analysts to provide it.”
The new Insights software processes and analyzes four key categories of information, Desmarais said: downtime, throughput, rejected product rate, and raw material consumption. “For a plastics processor, for example, this analysis could find that a shop is wasting too much time between product changes, or isn’t running at the right speed, or is wasting resin – these are all critical issues that, when fixed, will have a significant positive impact on the business,” he said. “This is a solution that doesn’t just provide overwhelming amounts of data, but connects it to tangible opportunities that optimize existing resources.”
The Insights software isn’t just bought off the shelf, Desmarais explained, but is installed only after a deep dive into a manufacturer’s business. “Usually, we conduct a two-day assessment to understand a customer’s shop floor operations and define its goals and challenges,” he said. “We then connect our data acquisition device to a key manufacturing line, and then provide training on how to monitor it. After the first month, our continuous improvement specialists review the client’s performance and highlight a few high-impact opportunities for improvement.”
Insights software is used in tandem with Worximity’s data acquisition ecosystem and real-time production monitoring software, Desmarais said, and it can also pull information from other software suites. “The only prerequisite for installation is that a shop’s equipment is connected to the network or an existing database,” he said.
Worximity offers its production monitoring software on a trial basis for the first month with the goal of reviewing two or three opportunities identified by Insights following the trial period. “It’s a good way to introduce the customer to the platform,” Desmarais said. “If the manufacturer is happy with the result, we’ll connect more lines.” In the longer term, Worximity holds quarterly business reviews with its customers to ensure their investments and opportunities are maximized. “We fully understand the need to support manufacturers in their digitization efforts,” Desmarais said. “They have a lot on their plates and even though most recognize the importance of this technology, other issues often take precedence. But, after a year or two, customers should be proficient enough to use the platform on their own.”
The bottom line, Desmarais said, is that real-time production monitoring and tracking overall equipment effectiveness alone won’t cut it these days. “Companies that use automated data collection combined with preventive and predictive advice are the ones that survive, and Insights closes the loop between acquiring and measuring production data by using information to drive improvement,” he said. “Leveraging historical performance to understand long-term trends is critical to making improvement decisions, and it requires a minimum of 300 data points by category. We expect customers will see between a 30 to 50 per cent improvement in their processes with this software, but the later they start, the more catching up they have to do.”