When I started my career as a software engineer, I used to see firsthand how end users would get frustrated by the digital tools they were given. Often an alert would appear on their system with no context as to why it mattered – or what they should do next.
Fortunately, great colleagues and training on the equipment and processes meant that teams were equipped to keep the business running.
But you can’t count on great teams and tacit knowledge forever. As the baby boomer generation of engineers and operators approach retirement, new staff aren’t always going to be able to rely on colleagues to help translate a single data point into action.
That’s why we need to put industrial data more firmly in the hands of the teams on the ground – in a way that helps them make better decisions – while also giving plant managers and COOs visibility into performance across multiple lines and plants globally.
What’s the first step? It starts with context.
Why Context Matters
If I’m an engineer, I need to know about my equipment. How many pumps are in the field? What kind of equipment is on Line 1? What’s the status of all of my packaging machines? How is the bearing temperature of Motor 1 compared to Motor 2?
This is data in context – and it helps drive real decisions to help operators and leaders in industrial companies improve performance. So why are so many operational companies still running software that only uses tag names with values – but no context? I need the data to tell me what I need to know, when I need to know it and in a centralized environment that enables me to act upon that data anywhere, any time.
Fortunately, data is no longer the problem: Many industrial companies already have decades of untapped operational data on their servers; sensors are cheaper than ever, so they are easily deployed in multiple scenarios; High speed networks provide the ability to manage huge amounts of data that come from those sensors at a reasonable cost; the proliferation of mobile and touch interfaces increase the amount of data available from operators; storage – both on premise and in the cloud – has also become more affordable than ever.
But all that data means nothing if you can’t use it. Visualizing and analyzing data is where leaders from the factory floor to the C-Suite are looking to unlock the value of their existing data. In other words, bringing the “democratization of data” to their fingertips.
When I talk to our customers about this opportunity, I typically get these questions: How do we pull in non-traditional and historical data, and data from other systems? Contextual data analysis gives you a view that you didn’t have before – an operational view.
Proficy Operations Hub is your next step
Introducing Proficy Operations Hub, a new solution from GE Digital that offers centralized visualization/configuration, digitized processes and democratized digital tools to enable collaboration and continuous improvements. It provides visualization enabled across all levels and roles within the plant and enterprise for business intelligence. And it aggregates data from multiple sources across an industrial organization, helping teams make the smartest decisions with the best context.
A democratized tool in the hands of all plant users enables them to increase operational efficiency and make better decisions based on comprehensive information – real time, historical, automation and MES, and third party – that’s easier to analyze and act upon, independent of location.
As one example, a customer has employed Proficy Operations Hub to democratize their digital tools and ideas for continuous improvement within the entire plant. All users in the plant use Operations Hub to analyze, troubleshoot and monitor operational information through a timeline of events. Users share their new found insights with others by quickly creating new apps and pages that do things like trend KPIs and categorize data. Managers and supervisors promote user created pages to plant dashboards for visibility and accessibility by all employees on the plant floor resulting in operational improvements, which ultimately benefit the business.
Digital transformation is a journey. Companies worldwide are looking to connect, collect, store, visualize, analyze and optimize their business processes across multiple assets to drive down operational costs and achieve consistent quality in their plants – regardless of industry.
Increased visibility into production process status and progress in real time enables continuous improvement through digital tools. Unlock your operations intelligence today with Proficy Operations Hub to discover and realize optimized plant operations.