Wednesday, October 24, 2012

MTadditive -- Why Monitor Your Shop Floor?

If you are a shop owner, a plant manager or really anyone in manufacturing who cares about productivity and the profitability of your company, the No. 1 question you should be asking is, “How can monitoring our shop floor improve our business?”

One of my favorite quotes is from Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, who famously said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, just not their own set of facts.”  Lord Kelvin’s quote, "If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it,” definitely applies to shop floor monitoring.

When considering shop floor monitoring, it is important to remember John Turner’s Five Laws of Manufacturing:
1.  We measure what goes into production and what comes out; we have little data on what really happens on the production floor
2.  If anyone says “I know exactly what is happening on my plant floor” – don’t believe them
3. We don’t gather data because it’s hard, and someone has to look at it
4. No one solution, or set of data, works for everyone
5. If you don’t have an avid champion, save your time and money
The best advice on monitoring your shop floor comes from Ben Franklin, who famously said: “If I had 8 hours to improve the productivity of my shop, I would spend 6 of those monitoring my shop floor.”   I am taking liberties with Ben’s famous quote, but the point remains, you cannot improve what you don’t know. 

What are popular examples of information that could be analyzed through monitoring?
  • OEE
  • Asset utilization
  • Diagnostics
  • Machine health
Wouldn’t it be nice to have anywhere, anytime access to plant floor information?  You can with most of the shop floor monitoring programs.

When you decide to monitor your shop floor, remember that how you get the data matters.  Choose a solution that provides the widest selection of choices as well as the greatest flexibility as your needs change.  The standard you want to go with is MTConnect®. MTConnect® provides the most widely adopted manufacturing data standard in the industry and is currently used in more than 14 monitoring applications with more coming.

If you are attending IMTS 2012, please stop by the Emerging Technology Center (ETC), Booth N-650, where we will be showing MTConnect- enabled applications in the following categories:
  • Efficiency – Understanding Hidden Cost
  • Utilization – Discovering Untapped Capacity 
  • Sustainability - Minimizing Negative Environmental Impacts
  • Managing Your Plant Anywhere, Anytime (mobile devices)
On April 10-11, 2013, [MC]2 2013 MTConnect: Connecting Manufacturing Conference will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Stop by the ETC to learn more, sign up for [MC]2 2013 and meet those experts who can answer all of your monitoring questions as well as show you the applications live!

Perhaps the question you should be asking is, “why shouldn’t I be monitoring my shop floor?” 

A great place to ask questions regarding shop floor monitoring and MTConnect is at the new  To learn much more about both shop floor monitoring and MTConnect, go to