Once again, we’re at our weekly production meeting. The production manager notices that the recently optimised line is showing lower KPIs than before. He suddenly asks you to show a two-up comparison of the old and new setups – “a time and motion study would be great, or Yamazumi charts if you have them…”
“No problem, give me a second to look them up. I think the old results are in the production quality folder on drive D:\... and the new ones are currently still on my desktop… let me quickly copy the results together and generate a graph…”
5 minutes later in a 15 minute standup, you’re able to show a graph comparing the two results, and your production manager asks if 8h of measurement data can really give us the full picture? Ouch. Yeah, we’ve been there too.
Excel is a good tool for marking down data if you cannot use general sensors. But spending time on watching videos and manually typing it down can be extremely tedious to do. It also means that you spend most of your time looking at a single production line and going through a lot of repetitive actions.Even if you do produce a large enough body of data, keeping it in spreadsheets doesn’t make for great searchability. The result is silos of data that no one will ever use, as there are more urgent and pressing matters. This in turn likely means that long term high impact improvements will be missed.There is a limit to how much time you can spend marking down the actions happening on the factory floor. Unless you’re willing to spend most of your working time on meticulously transcribing events from video, you will struggle to compile a valid data sample to make well calculated decisions. So why do it manually?
Time and Motion Studies are a powerful tool, but because of the time required and the tedious, old-school nature of the work involved in producing a good body of data, they are woefully under-used or not used at all. This is your cue to step out of your comfort zone and innovate!
At Flowbase we have automated time and motion study (VSM) annotation, data collection and analysis. Flowbase uses computer vision and AI to automatically analyse any video footage that you upload, enabling you to easily analyse multiple material flows in parallel. All resulting data is gathered to a single dashboard and searchable indexed reports – and if you’re keen to see why the timeline looks the way it does in a particular place, then you can easily refer back to the original video footage.
Now, if your production manager wants to compare benchmarks, then it’s a click away. All data is visualised automatically in an easily understandable manner, with historical data and improvements (or regressions) available for each process. If you need to drill down into more detail, then detailed by-the-second data is available in detailed process reports.
Gather a couple of weeks worth of data, process it and you have your results in a matter of hours. Now you can make a quick and calculated decision about whether you need to go more in depth, or if simple boilerplate improvements are enough – with the confidence that you made that decision on broad patterns in data, not just a half day’s analysis.
What’s more, that data is now easily shareable. Making study results available to other engineers in the firm does not always come naturally, but cultivating a culture of sharing in a process engineering team can lead to outstanding results.