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Zen and the Art of Manufacturing Analytics

Zen: (n) a state of calm attentiveness in which one’s actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort

It may sound far-fetched to blend a Buddhist mindset with an IIoT technology but stick with us. The connection will make sense shortly. By definition, a person reaches a Zen mindset when feelings of stress and clutter are replaced by calm and organization. A natural flow replaces forced efforts. If you could apply that Zen mindset to the factory floor, why wouldn’t you?

Zen is not a new concept, and it’s become somewhat of a buzzword in recent years, but it’s not very often, or at all, that it is applied to the world of manufacturing which is exactly why we wrote this blog.

With Zen and the art of manufacturing analytics, think of how smoothly your floor would run and the improvements that would result – everything from product quality to overall efficiency.

Finger-Pointing and Lack of Cohesiveness Between Production and Maintenance Teams is Not Zen

Manufacturing analytics software is designed to monitor and pull data from the factory floor to gain insights into how a machine, line, cell, or entire floor is running. When manufacturing analytics is implemented correctly, it can bring harmony to the plant floor.

See, in most organizations, there is constant finger-pointing between the maintenance and production teams. It may sound ridiculous, but the blame game is often a problem. Maintenance will say that downtime isn’t their fault because the production team doesn’t set up the machines correctly or does not know exactly what they’re doing. On the other hand, production will say the exact opposite; they aren’t responsible for downtime because the maintenance team doesn’t maintain the equipment correctly or didn’t actually fix the problem. The list goes on and on.

The finger-pointing blame game is based on each team member’s gut feeling and point of view, rather than hard, indisputable data. If you do have objective information and objective data, problems are addressed based on what has actually happened rather than what everyone thinks is the problem. (Don’t fret, there is a solution.)

In reality, problems on the floor can likely be attributed to both production and maintenance. But, without data, there is no way of knowing which, or both can be held accountable for each individual problem. The lack of data leads to a lack of visibility on the floor which often leads to quality issues. The domino effect will inevitably create even more problems down the road. Now, that doesn’t sound Zen or harmonious, does it?

It is possible for the maintenance and production teams to work together to fix the issues that arise and ensure those problems remain fixed (and create harmony at the same time). This is the part where you humor us and ask, “How is that possible, oh wise manufacturing analytics gurus?” You guessed it, the answer is manufacturing analytics.

Sustain the gains by implementing a manufacturing analytics platform that ensures data is collected and contextualized so that production and maintenance can figure out what the biggest downtime reasons are. Then, with that knowledge in hand, they can work together to fix the problems rather than blaming one another. Cue harmony and Zen.

So, How Does Implementing a Software Have Anything to do With the Philosophy of Zen?

Frankly, it has everything to do with it. The use of manufacturing analytics can greatly increase the efficiency of not only the machines on the floor but the people that work to ensure everything runs smoothly, too. Think, less finger-pointing and more cohesiveness. The reduction of friction undoubtedly contributes to calm, or as the definition says at the beginning of this blog, “a state of calm attentiveness in which one’s actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort.”

If you don’t believe us, believe the words of Versatech, full-service engineering, manufacturing, and consulting company that after implementing manufacturing analytics, saw measurable results in less than 3 months. (See the case study here!) Their biggest issue prior to implementing manufacturing analytics was being unable to agree on what the problems on the floor actually were.

“The biggest benefit of Mingo to me was the ability to easily dig out whatever data I needed… I feel like this really helped us focus on specific problems, and helped our entire business work more efficiently”, said Matt Perry, a production manager, that used Mingo daily at Versatech.

Manufacturing analytics is more than software, it’s increased efficiency, improved quality, cohesiveness between teams, and peace of mind that problems can be found and corrected without guessing; Mingo is truly the art of manufacturing analytics. When implemented correctly, expect to feel that extraordinary feeling of calm attentiveness associated with knowing everything is running smoothly on your factory floor. Yep, it’s at that point that you, our friend, have achieved the Zen mindset. (If it helps, channel your inner Bob Dylan, Everything’s gonna be alright….. with manufacturing analytics.”)

Embodying the Idea… With a Podcast

Tune into Zen and the Art of Manufacturing Podcast where Mingo CEO and Founder, Bryan Sapot talks with industry professionals about the intersection of topics routinely talked about in manufacturing, but rarely explained how to actually accomplish.

We get down to the nitty-gritty about creating calm in the plant.

Where Can I Listen?

Picture of 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.