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How to implement manufacturing software across multiple sites

Manufacturing Matters Ep. 5

With Anders Holmenlund, Sales Manager, Nordics at Factbird

Release Date: April 29, 2024

Manufacturing Matters Episode 5: How to implement manufacturing software across multiple sites
Michael Bosson
Senior Content Manager at Factbird
LinkedIn
Date
April 29, 2024
Last updated
May 24, 2024
  • Manufacturing software includes systems like MES, CMMS, ERP, OEE systems, and manufacturing intelligence solutions like Factbird
  • Multi-site rollouts are tricky because they require overcoming resistance, integrating diverse systems, and ensuring consistent training across locations.
  • Start Slow, Scale Fast: Anders recommends beginning with small-scale pilots to fine-tune the software before full deployment.
  • The PSC Method: Emphasizing People, Standardization, and Continuous Improvement to ensure successful software adoption.

In the world of manufacturing, agility and precision are paramount. As the competitive environment, consumer demands, and technology evolve, using manufacturing software to boost efficiency and reduce waste becomes more and more important.

However, it is not easy to introduce new systems to manufacturing environments. Multi-site rollouts of new systems must overcome multiple challenges:

  • Multiple stakeholders with varying needs
  • Difficulty changing the processes people are used to
  • Security challenges with digitisation
  • Technical integration challenges
  • Costs from training, shutdowns, and the tools themselves.

I spoke to Anders Holmenlund, who has years of experience dealing with the challenge of multi-site rollouts of manufacturing software from both the vendor side with Factbird and the manufacturer side with Radiometer. 

He shared his tried-and-tested strategies for the successful deployment of manufacturing software. As you’ll know, the goal isn't just about installation—it's about understanding, cultural transformation, optimization, and continuous improvement.

What is manufacturing software?

Before we get into the solutions Anders gave for implementing new software systems at manufacturing organizations, let’s define what we mean when we talk about manufacturing software.

In the context of this podcast, manufacturing software comprises specialized applications that optimize production processes. Examples include:

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, which integrate all operational facets from inventory to finance; 
  • Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) that monitor the transformation of raw materials into finished goods; 
  • Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) for tracking maintenance activities; 
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) systems that measure productivity and identify efficiency losses;
  •  and Manufacturing Intelligence (MI) systems like Factbird.

Start slow and scale fast

One thing that Ander’s recommends to manufacturers is to "start slow and scale fast".

This strategy emphasizes the importance of gradual implementation, beginning with pilot programs with the right stakeholders that allow room for adjustment and iteration. Starting slow offers a controlled environment to evaluate the software’s impact and effectiveness, ensuring any kinks are worked out before broader rollouts.

And once your proof of concept is working, then it’s about copying and pasting it across similar processes, equipment, and sites.

While doing this, remember that it takes time. You won’t get all of the value out of the new system in the first couple of months. Start with the basics, get the fundamentals right, and then expand from there.

The PSC framework

Delving deeper, Anders outlines the “PSC” framework—People, Standardization, and Continue, Check, Control, plus Consistency—designed to address the challenges of manufacturing software implementation.

People

At the heart of any technological transformation are the people who use it every day. For manufacturing software integration to be successful, it needs to be user-centric, providing clear benefits and enhancements to the daily operations of all its users. 

Start by defining the roles that will need to interact with the system and what they need to do their job and interact with the system in the best possible way.

Then make sure you define some champions on the floor. Get them involved as soon as possible to have some key people who can help develop the rollout. 

And remember that change management requires buy-in from the people who are affected by the new systems. Help stakeholders understand the “why” for the change for them individually. If you don’t get buy-in and engagement on the new system, you will not get much out of it.

Finally, remember that continual training, open communication, and involving employees at all times in the deployment process are crucial for fostering an environment of acceptance and enthusiasm.

Standardization

Consistency is key in a multi-site operation. Standardization across all levels ensures that every site operates under the same rules, making the management and analysis of operations simpler and more effective.

This uniformity helps in maintaining quality and reliability, critical elements for any manufacturing operation's success.

This doesn’t mean that every manufacturing environment will be exactly the same, but the goals, KPIs, and standard operating procedures people follow should be aligned.

Continue, Check, Control, and Consistency

The final piece of the PSC puzzle involves ongoing evaluation and refinement. Introducing a new way of doing things isn’t a one-shot game. You need to continually remind people of the way, train, get feedback, and evaluate effectiveness.

Implementing manufacturing software is not a set-it-and-forget-it solution but a continuous journey of improvement. Regular checks and controls ensure the system remains aligned with the company’s evolving needs, while consistency in these efforts solidifies the gains achieved through standardization.

Finally, an important tip that Anders gives as part of this is that it’s important to know where the responsibility for the check and control part lies. Typically, a good set-up is having one person responsible per site and a centralized unit of specialists who implement and coordinate between sites.

Looking Ahead

As this episode highlights, the path to digital integration in manufacturing is layered with opportunities and challenges. But by involving stakeholders and using clear systems and standards, you give yourself and your team the best chance of successfully rolling out new software.

For more insights into this topic, listen to the full episode where Anders goes into more depth.

Show notes

Remember to subscribe to Manufacturing Matters to get notified when the next episode is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Amazon Music, and other popular podcast directories.

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