Implementing new ways of working and learning how to use new technology can be a challenge for anyone. Asking workers to incorporate machine monitoring software into their daily routines can cause a mix of emotions. Getting your operators on board from day one is the dream, getting it wrong will cause a false start and make it more difficult to get people on board going forward.
Here are our top tips for getting your machine operators engaged in the process and ensuring the new digital technologies such as machine monitoring software is embraced and utilised from the very start, resulting in a positive change to processes, culture and commercial benefits the investment in the new technology can reap.
Give your operators ownership
Many people are uncomfortable with change, and no one likes to have a new system forced onto them without warning, so our advice is to get them involved in the process as early as possible.
Managers can often learn a lot by listening to the shop floor workers, whose insights can be invaluable when choosing a new system that will work for the whole business.
Think about creating a working group that includes representatives from different parts of the factory, for example, you may want to include a machine operator, shift supervisor, and operations manager. This will ensure that a range of views will be taken into account and everyone can take ownership of the preferred system from the start.
Remove the uncertainty
Your workforce will no doubt have lots of questions when you introduce technology like machine monitoring onto the shop floor, so it’s important to create a clear process with simple steps, training and a timetable. Schedule time for questions and answers – or even better, anticipate any concerns and present reassuring responses with a fact sheet or FAQs.
At FourJaw, our Customer Success Team works with our customers from the day you sign up to ensure successful cultural adoption, removing the chance of any friction caused by uncertainty.
Explain the benefits
Communicate the benefits that machine monitoring software will deliver from the point of view of the operator and the business. For example, Operators need to know what’s in it for them: how will it make their lives easier, make their jobs more secure, speed up processes, eliminate redundant processes, or help them to focus their skills on the parts of the business where they can add value.
Here's a common scenario we often here from manufacturers.
Do your operators feel like they are communicating (or complaining about) issues that never get acted on by ‘management’?
This is an ideal example that many operators will be able to relate to for you to use to explain how FourJaw’s machine monitoring software will stop this from happening.
"FourJaw allows you to use that as a loggable downtime so that the operators can really prove how much time they are wasting on something. This gives tangible data around the biggest problem, making sure the business is working to solve the biggest issue’s facing them".
Bust the myths of machine monitoring
Identify the false beliefs that operators might have and address them head-on. The most common misconceptions about machine monitoring platforms are that the resulting efficiencies will lead to job losses, it’s there to watch me (big brother), that the technology won’t work, or that it will lead to more work for individuals.
Samuel Heath, a 200-year-old Midlands-based manufacturer of prestige quality bathroom fittings and architectural furniture, expanded its skilled workforce following the installation of FourJaw’s machine downtime monitoring software. Data from the machine monitoring platform provided the company with the information it needed to recruit additional skilled machine setters on the shop floor to reduce setup times and get the CNC lathes running at an improved level of utilisation.
As a result, Samuel Heath has a growing workforce that is achieving elevated productivity across their machines and has welcomed new skills onto the shop floor through their recent hires.
Watch this video to hear how this sub-contract manufacturer saw machine operators engage in friendly competition to improve machine utilisation after installing FourJaw machine monitoring, the result of which saw one operator hit 100% machine utilisation!
Recognise and reward success
Have a clear picture from the start as to what success looks like. Understand why you are implementing machine monitoring and what you expect it to achieve. Make this visible in the business: be honest, transparent, fast and fair.
One company that achieved buy-in from its team is Westley Plastics. Tom Westley said: “FourJaw’s customer success team supported me to communicate this effectively and once the team understood how the data was being used, it facilitated conversations which were used to inform and educate operators, which lead to a greater sharing of best practices, changed behaviours and enhanced machine utilisation and productivity”.
To date, we’ve installed FourJaw’s machine monitoring software across a wide range of manufacturing businesses, from small contract manufacturers with a handful of machines, to large multinational food manufacturers with hundreds of machines and everything in between.
We hope this article helps you overcome any concerns you might have when considering how best to approach introducing new technology, like machine monitoring, onto your factory floor.
Please remember you’re not alone, the FourJaw Customer Success team is here to help support you and make your smart technology project a success.