Making sense of Big Data – reporting and visualisation of production information

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Shop floor networking specialist, Forcam, has produced a new paper on reporting and visualisation. This is a key module in Forcam Force, the manufacturing execution system (MES) that brings communication and networking to the shop floor, gathering performance data, providing real-time analysis and representing the results in an understandable and transparent format for action to optimise performance.

Andrew Steele, Forcam UK's managing director explained, "Collecting vast amounts of data from the shop floor means amassing big data. Forcam Force enables users to transform this big data into actionable and understandable smart data. This is an incredible management tool, but thorough real-time analysis is required, followed by presentation in actionable graphic format, otherwise it is just a morass of statistics. Every member of the team has different information needs and so data needs to be suitably filtered for each role and presented graphically, with relevant KPI's, to pinpoint exactly where action is needed."

The Forcam system presents each member of the team with an individual, configurable dashboard, relevant to their needs. Productivity and better overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) are the goals of the managing director and so information presented will generally focus on KPI's such as utilisation of plant capacity. The plant manager on the other hand is looking at daily performance optimisation, he needs to know where there are outages, processes that are performing sub-optimally and where capacity may be available to re-direct work to keep production flowing. At the operator level, information is presented on how best to complete the task and gathered on job timings to compare to target time.

Data can be presented on different devices including desktop PC's, laptops, tablets and smart phones. The web based information is accessible 24/7 from any location with an internet connection, subject to access consents and protocols. A manager travelling to a conference, for example – even overseas – can keep track of plant performance and remains in contact with colleagues to advise on overcoming any problems.

Increasing efficiency by better OEE, improving productivity and eliminating waste will be the primary goals in installing Forcam Force, but the benefits go way beyond this. Real-time accurate performance information from the shop floor, streaming directly into SAP or other ERP systems, means more effective intelligence for better senior management decision making.

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