An industrial IT solution that pays itself back in one shift – fact or fiction?

Would it not be a relief to know a solution exists for production monitoring and information-sharing that not only increases your profit, but pays itself back within one shift? Unbelievable? Read on.

Efficient Operations Management is one of the key issues that keep the management of industrial companies awake at night. Would it not be a relief to know a solution exists for production monitoring and information-sharing that not only increases your profit, but pays itself back within one shift? Unbelievable? Read on.

The pulp, paper and fibre industry is no exception to the trend affecting all manufacturing companies in today’s competitive business environment and under a constant cost squeeze – optimize, optimize, optimize.

A Nordic forest industry conglomerate, therefore, started looking for a harmonized IT solution that could replace their disparate production optimization systems nearing their end of life. A market study quickly revealed no software vendor had such a system on offer.

To the drawing board, then, with a trusted IT partner

Digitalizing mill workflows was the first objective, using the huge amounts of data the machinery provides, and combining it with information-sharing capabilities between staff members.

Collaboration between teams was the natural result of making sense of data. Production and maintenance needed to be on the same page to cooperate and reconcile their respective operations. The solution also needed to be integrated with the SAP PM system handling maintenance notifications through an easy-to-use interface, and SAP Quality module to handle customer claims.

The efficiencies sought were harmonization of systems across mills, plus efficient production monitoring with collaboration especially between production and maintenance teams.

Whiteboard the gate to all functions

An intuitive Whiteboard was created for a main view of all the functionalities available. They appear under their respective tabs, with drill-down possibilities.

This view gives one-click access to logs, events, the Morning Meeting function, tasks and instructions to operators, maintenance requests and work permits, root cause analyses, and even a short messaging system for all users.

Process view – the Money Maker

The process view, an alternative user interface into mill data, is the real money-maker. Thanks to the underlying digitalization, it shows real-time machine production target and actual production as trend, as well as other parameters. It also shows the digitalized events together with their status updates on a dashboard timeline. This creates a connection between the events and production monitoring, as well as between the operators and maintenance as operators can see what is going on and easily create and follow maintenance requests.

The process view also collects stats that enable more far-reaching decisions, such as maintenance planning and investment needs calculations.

Boatload of benefits

Intuitive and easy to use, the solution – TIPS Operations Management System – OMS for short, provides an interface between mill floor systems and SAP, so personnel do not need to learn how SAP works. This is particularly important with regard to maintenance, as maintenance requests and instructions between operators and maintenance personnel are processed in SAP PM with which OMS integrates natively.

OMS also includes a native mobile app for added flexibility.

Besides helping optimize production and producing huge savings in maintenance, the OMS solution has a remarkably short payback time. As a Mill Production Manager spontaneously put it:

The example outlined here is from the pulp, paper, and fibre industry, but OMS lends itself quite as well to any production or process industry.

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