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Best Practices for Boosting Operator Adoption

We’ve heard this time and time again from customers: “We don’t need a better stopwatch. We need something that drives adoption and operator engagement. Operators should feel like there’s something in it for them rather than feeling like it’s a punishment that they’ll grow to resent.”

We hear it. We understand, and this is the best practices guide for how customers should incorporate Mingo into their go-live and beyond to encourage operator adoption.

The overarching goal of this playbook is to provide the tools needed to succeed in implementing software like Mingo. This translates into creating established best practices for the managers and area supervisors in charge of the project to teach operators, with the help of the Mingo implementation team. With this type of process, training becomes more authentic and actionable. It turns into a trickle-down effect that promises success.

But, at the end of the day, Mingo is a great platform for the management team, but if there isn’t operator buy-in AND good data isn’t collected from those same operators, it’s hard to make good decisions from it, and ultimately, Mingo won’t provide the benefits needed to be successful. That’s the cold, hard truth. To generate returns on the investment, key stakeholders need to be bought in, and that includes operators. Many manufacturers may not consider operators to be key stakeholders, but when implementing new software that directly affects their day-to-day activities, they become one of the most important group of people to have on board.

There are 4 best practices: 

  1. Replace an existing process.
  2. Make data visible. 
  3. Show understandable metrics.
  4. Get quick wins.

Replace an Existing Process 

It’s important to make sure that Mingo replaces something already being done today. It should not add an extra task that operators must do in addition to their existing job duties. 

Oftentimes, this looks like replacing the manual production or downtime recording process. Instead of writing information down on a sheet and entering it into Excel, operators can input the information directly into Mingo. This not only eliminates tedious work but streamlines the process and makes their day easier, as opposed to adding more to their very busy plates.

Make Data Visible 

Operators need to see the data they’re entering. On top of that, they need to know the data is being looked at, talked about, reacted to, and used by the management team. This translates into an understanding that the work the operator is putting in to make the system effective isn’t for naught. 

To do this, display scoreboards throughout the plant. The scoreboards will provide real-time visibility into what’s happening at the plant at any given moment. Then, review the data with the team, ideally in daily production meetings. The benefit is two-fold – operators know the data is being reviewed and management knows operators are actively engaging with the system.

Show Understandable Metrics

Not all metrics mean the same to every manufacturer. OEE, for example, is a complicated, personal metric that many define differently. That’s why, for the sake of adoption, it’s important to stick with the metrics that operators know, understand, and have used previously. 

If operators are used to talking about production in parts per hour, don’t change that to a different metric. They are familiar with what exists and understand the difference between a good number versus a bad number. Changing metrics will only create widespread confusion and frustration.

Get Quick Wins 

To build momentum, understand, define, and celebrate the quick wins. Eventually, downtime will reduce, throughput will increase, and visibility will increase, but none of those things are going to happen in the first week. It’s a win if a problem is discovered that was unknown before implementing Mingo. In fact, that’s a huge win because problems are starting to be identified which means the plant is one step closer to becoming more efficient, which inevitably results in cost savings, happier customers, and increased profitability. 

The small wins, that lead to the bigger wins, are the ones that should be recognized and talked about to encourage operator adoption.

Operators Need to Understand the Benefit

Operator buy-in and the four main pillars of adoption are vastly important, but above all, the operators should understand “What’s in it for me?” They should want Mingo because it makes their lives easier by giving supervisors the information needed to better support them in their roles. If management reacts to problems, operators know they’re being supported.

This all contributes to a level of transparency that also promises efficient workflows. Everyone is on the same page and knows where problems are coming from. There’s no fingerpointing or guessing. There are actionable, measurable numbers to provide actionable solutions. 

The Key to Success? Using the Data

In a way, operator adoption relies heavily on the efforts of two teams – operators and management. To ultimately be successful, the final wrung in the ladder so to speak is the involvement of the management team. They need to react to the data. That will build adoption because operators know it’s being looked at and used. 

Driving operator adoption has to come from feedback from the management team in some way. That’s the blurred line between the two – without one or the other, it’s impossible to be successful. That has to be used by everyone involved. Plain and simple.

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.