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How to Choose the Right Smart Factory System

Selecting the right smart factory system is crucial for transforming a manufacturing operations into a well-oiled machine. This decision can be overwhelming based on the business’s unique needs and objectives. One way to break down this decision is to frame it like shopping for any other product.

I enjoy running, so I get hundreds of emails each month and retargeted ads to buy their shoes. I am not one of those people who has a different pair of shoes for each day of the week. My three criteria when selecting a new pair of shoes includes:

  • Requirements: does it fit my need for road or trail running traction
  • Ease of Use: are they comfortable and something I’ll wear
  • Cost: will the durability last the 400 miles that will make it worth the $120+ price tag?

You might be amazed how few shoe brands fit this criteria. Applying those standards helped to narrow my preferred brands to Mizuno for road longevity, and Saucony for trail traction.

Similar to my search for the right pair of shoes, you might be bombarded with different ads about selecting a smart factory system. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the process of selecting the right smart factory system for your discrete manufacturing business.

choosing the right smart factory system

1. Assessing Requirements: Finding the Perfect Fit for Your Business Goals

Much like shopping for a pair of shoes, selecting a smart factory system starts with assessing your goals. Look for solutions that you won’t outgrow in six months. Consider what functionalities and features are essential for optimizing your manufacturing operations. Manufacturers must align their decision with overarching business goals to drive success and competitiveness in their operations.

Key objectives to consider include:
  1. Reducing Downtime: One of the primary goals of implementing a production monitoring system is to minimize downtime by identifying issues in real time. By tracking equipment performance and identifying potential bottlenecks, manufacturers can proactively take action to keep production running smoothly and minimize costly disruptions.
  2. Improving Quality: Another critical goal is to enhance product quality and consistency. A production monitoring system enables manufacturers to monitor quality metrics in real time. This allows them to identify defects or deviations from standards. They can implement corrective actions to maintain or improve product quality throughout the production process.
  3. Increasing Production Output: Enhancing production output, whether in terms of speed, performance, or throughput, is a key objective for manufacturers. By optimizing equipment utilization, streamlining workflows, and identifying opportunities for efficiency improvements, a production monitoring system can help manufacturers boost productivity and meet increasing demand without compromising quality.
  4. Visibility for Better Operations Management: Achieving greater visibility into production processes is essential for effective operations management. A production monitoring system provides real-time insights into key performance metrics. This enables managers to make data-driven decisions, optimize resource allocation, and identify opportunities for continuous improvement.
  5. Capacity Analysis: Understanding and optimizing production capacity is crucial for meeting customer demand and maximizing revenue potential. A production monitoring system allows manufacturers to analyze capacity utilization and identify production constraints. This information allows them to make informed decisions about resource allocation and production scheduling to optimize overall capacity and throughput.

By aligning the selection of a production monitoring system with these business goals, manufacturers can effectively leverage technology to drive operational excellence, enhance competitiveness, and achieve long-term success. Identify your must-have requirements to narrow down your options and find the perfect fit for your business.

2. Ease of Use: Features You Will Actually Use

Selecting a smart factory system that is user-friendly is crucial for maximizing its usage. Look for solutions that are easy to use, fast to deploy and fast to implement. Manufacturers must carefully evaluate the features that align best with their unique needs and objectives.

Here are several key features that manufacturers should consider when deciding on a production monitoring system:
  1. Dashboards: A production monitoring system with customizable dashboards provides real-time visibility into key metrics and KPIs, allowing manufacturers to track performance and identify areas for improvement at a glance.
  2. All-in-One System: Opting for an all-in-one system that combines hardware and software components offers several advantages, including seamless integration, simplified setup, and streamlined maintenance.
  3. Ease of Use: Look for a production monitoring system that is intuitive and user-friendly, enabling operators and managers to navigate the system with ease and make informed decisions without extensive training.
  4. Scalability: Manufacturers should choose a system that has the capacity to start simple and grow with their business. Scalability allows for flexibility and ensures that the system can adapt to evolving needs and requirements over time.
  5. Mobile App: A mobile app enables manufacturers to access critical production data and insights on the go, empowering them to make informed decisions and take action from anywhere, at any time.
  6. Unlimited Data Storage: Unlimited data storage ensures that manufacturers can store and access historical production data without restrictions, enabling deeper analysis and informed decision-making.
  7. Scoreboards: Scoreboards provide a visual representation of key performance metrics, fostering transparency, accountability, and healthy competition among team members.
  8. Support for Various Machines and Processes: The production monitoring system should support the types of machines used in the facility. This ensures compatibility and seamless integration with existing equipment and other software.
  9. Quality Modules: Integrating quality modules into the production monitoring system enables manufacturers to track and manage quality metrics, identify defects, and implement corrective actions to improve product quality and consistency.
  10. Flexibility: Looks for a system that offers flexibility to handle the unique machines and niche processes that make each factory unique. Customization options and adaptable features ensure that the system can meet specific requirements and workflows effectively.

By carefully considering these feature requirements, manufacturers can select a production monitoring system that not only meets their immediate needs but also sets them up for long-term success.

3. Cost and ROI: Demonstrating Value

Budget

Budget considerations play a significant role in any shopping decision, and selecting a smart factory system is no exception. Look for solutions that don’t require hiring an entire IT department to maintain. While investing in a production monitoring system is essential for driving efficiency and competitiveness, it’s essential to ensure it aligns with your budget and demonstrates a clear timeline for a return on investment (ROI). Look for solutions that offer transparent pricing models and insights into the potential ROI. With Mingo Smart Factory, you’ll gain a cost-effective solution that delivers tangible benefits. Visualized data can help executives run a more efficient organization while generating more capacity. A production monitoring system provides the data needed to solve problems and hit targets.

Time

When selecting a smart factory system, it’s essential to consider the costs involved beyond just the price of the product. Implementing a new system requires a significant investment of time from both management and employees. Some companies have more experience than others with manufacturing analytics, the process of automating data and managing the equipment. Those with dedicated IT departments might opt for a more complete system that can be customized for their individual factory. Others without an IT department will tend to go with an off-the-shelf system that is more user friendly.

Training

Training is another crucial factor to evaluate, as employees will need to be trained on how to use the system effectively. This training may incur additional costs, both in terms of time and money. Simpler systems that arrive pre-configured can days or weeks to fully implement whereas a more complicated or homegrown system can take months to years to get up and running. Every day that you are paying for a system that you cannot use is revenue lost. By carefully considering the costs in time, training, and price, you can make an informed decision when selecting a smart factory system that meets your business needs.

The Strengths of Mingo Smart Factory: Achieving Manufacturing Excellence

Now that we’ve outlined the process for selecting the right smart factory system let’s delve into why Mingo Smart Factory’s production monitoring system stands out from the competition:

  1. Easy to Use, Fast to Deploy & Fast Return on Value: Mingo Smart Factory is an all-in-one solution with hardware and software components. Deployment and set-up can be done in weeks. Most customers see a return on their initial investment in the first three months.
  2. A Production Monitoring System Your Business Won’t Outgrow: Mingo Smart Factory’s motto is: start simple, think big and move fast. Start simple with the data that will make the most impact to your bottom line, optimize the factory floor, find the next data point, and repeat. The customizable system will continue to grow with your business as your data needs expand.
  3. Built for the Manufacturing Team, Not a Dedicated IT Department: Mingo’s hardware components are shipped to the manufacturer 80% ready to deploy and can be installed by the current maintenance staff. The dashboards are easy to use and don’t need a dedicated staff to maintain the system.

Achieving Operational Excellence

Selecting the right smart factory system is crucial for achieving operational excellence and staying competitive in today’s market. I am biased, but I think Mingo Smart Factory is one of the best production monitoring systems out there. When I made the jump from providing media marketing to hundreds of companies to being the dedicated digital marketer for one company, I did a lot of research about the product and teams I was applying for. My parents are engineers and Mingo Smart Factory makes the most sense out of any others in its category. You’ll gain a powerful tool that empowers you to optimize your manufacturing operations, drive efficiency, and achieve manufacturing excellence. You’ll find an intuitive platform designed to empower manufacturers to create lines of accountability with data-driven decisions.

I invite you to watch a demo to see if it is the right system for you. I have also compiled a competitor analysis page if you want to do more research.

Picture of Alyxandra Sherwood
Alyxandra Sherwood
Digital Marketing Manager @ Mingo Smart Factory I Adjunct Professor @ SUNY Geneseo I Boston Marathoner I Second Street Award Winner I Media Professional with 15 Years Experience