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6 Questions We Ask Customers About Manufacturing Analytics

In our sales qualification process, we ask you a series of questions so we can understand your challenges and goals. Based on what we learn, we can start planning the ideal implementation for your plant to achieve those goals.

These are general questions, not technical ones, used primarily for scoping and pricing, however, the answers offer critical insight into your process and operation.

This blog post highlights six of the most common questions we ask and why they are important.

1. “What do you make and how do you make it?”

This question starts the conversation so we can learn from you. All too often, sales folk regretfully end up talking too much about their own solution, without learning anything about their prospective customer’s business.

At Mingo, we know that no two factory floors are alike. They are a mix of machines, manual and automated, current or legacy systems and processes. By finding out your manufacturing mix, we can very quickly determine the best fit solution for your plant and machines.

2. “What are you hoping to achieve with real-time visibility from the plant that you are not currently getting?”

Is there a particular process that is dragging down your OEE or throughput? Is there a machine you are thinking of replacing? Are you trying to understand why certain shifts and operators seem to outperform others or hoping to track your continuous improvement efforts to establish an ROI? The answers to these questions help us understand how we can leverage the power of manufacturing analytics to help solve your problems.

3. “How are you currently collecting data, if at all?”

This question gives us a better understanding of how you currently track your plant’s KPIs. We provide you with the formula behind our metrics, so you know exactly what we mean when we talk about Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and how we monitor and track machine cycle times.

In addition, many reporting practices are still in pen and paper and excel. By learning about how you are gathering data and reporting, we can show you the power of a single automated data point to revolutionize your reporting and plant-level visibility, providing you with powerful real-time insight while cutting back on manual processes that take time away from your employees.

We also ask you: What you are doing with those reports and whether you are seeing any benefits? In one case, we reduced the amounts of weekly reports to a plant operations manager from 60 to just a Mingo dashboard. That’s not just time we saved her, but think of the poor soul slaving away at 60 reports a week!?

4. “How is the plant organized (ex. lines, cells, departments)?”

This question gets into the customizable aspects of Mingo. Ideally, Mingo will be installed on every machine in the line or cell to provide you with the ability to see the bottlenecks in your production process by machine.

From an organizational view, different dashboards can be configured for the different role-based views as you need. For example, as a supervisor, you might say “I need to know how my crew is doing.” A supervisor with a tablet overseeing a line can switch views as they need, viewing data as they walk up and down the production line.

As a plant manager, you might want to ask, “Which processes are more or less efficient?”

If you need to see your data in a certain way, such as comparing two similar cells side-by-side using historical data, Mingo provides flexibility in how to categorize and contextualize to do this.

More plant-wide views like a Scoreboard dashboard in the breakroom, for instance, can give data showing all the operational cells or teams. Anecdotally, our customers have seen productivity lifts just by providing this level of visibility back to the employees and supervisors on the plant floor.

One of the biggest values Mingo provides is the plant floor visibility all the way up to your organization from machine operator to CEO.

5. “How many and what kinds of machines will we be connecting?”

Having a machine count will fine-tune the pricing (by machine) while the type of machine and whether it has a PLC will affect the scope of your implementation. Most 95% or so of the time, we are talking directly to the machine’s PLC to get the data we need, without any modifications to the PLC and its code.

Complex CNC machines, for example, require more implementation since we’re often interfacing with a PC-based control system, while older machines might require retrofits or wireless sensors (like a Banner Engineering sensor for example) to capture data. In any case, we’ve never met a machine we couldn’t gather data from, and implementation is easier than you might think. 

6. “Do you have an ERP or CMMS and/or an IIoT roadmap you are working towards?”

This gets to the level in which you can start integrating Mingo to other systems. We have worked with organizations that care most about visibility, so connecting to the ERP is a way in which operational data can easily be shared across the organization and viewed as business intelligence that might affect pricing and your ability to fulfill orders.

For some, connecting and gathering data from the plant floor is part of an overall drive towards automation and more reliable manufacturing. CMMS integration provides a powerful way to automate maintenance and build up a data set from which a preventative maintenance plan can be based on saving hours of machine availability by eliminating unplanned downtime.

By discussing the answer to these questions with you, we’ll have a great idea of the best way that Mingo can meet your goals. The next step is to watch this demo to learn first-hand how Mingo’s flexible, affordable solution can be scaled to your business and your needs.

Bryan Sapot
Bryan Sapot
Bryan Sapot is a lifelong entrepreneur, speaker, CEO, and founder of Mingo. With more than 24 years of experience in manufacturing technology, Bryan is known for his deep manufacturing industry insights. Throughout his career, he’s built products and started companies that leveraged technology to solve problems to make the lives of manufacturers easier. Follow Bryan on LinkedIn here.