Why Plant Information Matters: Because People Matter

As my career continues, I’m often asked what I do. Being a consultant and researcher on manufacturing software, specializing in plant floor software, it can be

Employees make a difference in any production business, and the fewer there are the more each one must do.

Employees make a difference in any production business, and the fewer there are the more each one must do.

difficult to explain. And even more difficult to explain why I’m so dedicated to it.

I’m finding a way to articulate what I hope to accomplish: helping companies create environments where employees can flourish. There are many dimensions of that (including teaching yoga and meditation), but for this post, I’ll focus on how it ties into my nearly 30-year fascination with and passion for articulating the value of plant floor software.

The manufacturing execution system (MES) or manufacturing operations management (MOM) market has never been well defined, as my industry colleague Chris Rezendes of Inex Advisors points out. Most people have some notion of what it means for them, but that is a relatively recent development. In the early days I often explained it as “the control system for the people in the plant.”

That helped many people, particularly controls engineers.  But it’s not exactly right.

You can set it up MES/MOM so operators can’t bypass proper procedures. Yet at core, it does not control but allows those people to take control. MES/MOM takes in, holds, and distributes the information that employees in the production operation need to make sound decisions and take the actions they must to keep the process in control.

The distinction is important. Many industrial companies have a shortage of skilled workers. Part of that is training, but much is also experience and intuition. People who work in production often have a “feel” for when things are going well and not going well – and MES/MOM delivers further information for them to check that gut feel.

Given the appropriate information, production employees will improve the performance of their line, area, and facility. So having the end-to-end view of what’s happening, what’s coming next, what’s going well and not so well can really provide a foundation for the success not only of the employee and that team, but of the company.

One more reason underlying all of this – production facilities are where value is added in the world economy. Those on the front lines of adding that value are operators, supervisors, technicians, engineers, and mechanics in those plants. As the engine of the value-adding activities, these people matter – to all of us.

 

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  1. Empower People in Manufacturing OperationsThe Manufacturing Connection - August 12, 2013

    […] Julie Fraser, principle of Iyno Advisors, recently wrote Why Plant Information Matters: Because People Matter. […]

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