“Lean production” requires “lean communication”: speeding up production troubleshooting via a messenger app

Communication is a central aspect of production. No manufacturer can afford to lose relevant information gained during production. In addition to visual communication via signal lights and displays, spoken language is the most common form of communication on the shop floor or at the conveyor belt. However, if, in the near future, people and machines have to communicate ever more, how can this be done easily and safely? connyun offers a solution for this: the I4_Station Optimizer and a connected GDPR-compliant messenger app combine "lean production" with "lean communication".

The production landscape in Germany is known to be extremely heterogeneous: medium-sized companies produce a wide variety of goods in a wide variety of processes, using a large number of production machines for this purpose. However, the requirement for key figures is the same everywhere: the overall effectiveness of the equipment - i.e. quality, productivity and availability - must be constantly optimised and increased in order to compete successfully. To achieve this goal, many production managers focus on avoiding downtimes as their main objective.

For this purpose, connyun developed its standard IIoT application, I4_Station Optimizer. This SaaS application ensures complete transparency and maximum availability of producing cells. Production staff can monitor their KPIs in real-time and instantly respond to problems, which quickly brings faulty machines or cells back online. This is where communication comes into play: to avoid losing precious time, the responsible operators have to receive both visual and acoustic error messages as well as suggested solutions immediately via notifications.

The problem is immediately sent to their smartphone: notifications via a messenger

In the I4_Station Optimizer extension, connyun is working together with Brabbler to speed up troubleshooting during production via a messenger app. Incidents are correctly addressed and escalated via push notifications. In the first step, error details are transferred to a higher-level system and combined with other information: Which employees are responsible? And which of them is currently present?

The intelligent messenger solution automatically notifies the responsible employee in real time. He/she must actively accept the order or reject it in case of hindrance. In the case of rejection, an escalation chain defined in the system takes effect: the error message is forwarded to the next person in charge until someone accepts the problem. The time between occurrence and resolution of the problem is significantly reduced because problems, as well as valuable information about the reasons for the standstill, are sent directly to the correct recipients.

The benefits of such a messenger-based escalation are obvious. Firstly, devices are used that every employee usually has at their fingertips: smartphones, tablets, but also smartwatches and PCs. Secondly, notifications are also sent when there is no visual contact with the system: employees are informed directly and in great detail about which machine or cell is involved so that the disruption can be rectified in a targeted manner. In a further step, the error messages can also be personalised and the messenger can be used for communication and exchange. Data security is also covered: the messenger meets all current GDPR requirements and regulations.