Who do we think about when we digitalize?
We digitalize thinking about people.
The end of the year is, usually, a stressful time. We always attempt to organize the year so that there are not projects that need closing in the very last quarter. But the reality is that as of September everything accelerates and there is no other option but to press forward.
During the last three weeks, members of the mLean team has been visiting different plants, potential clients, and fairs about connected industry, both in Europe and in the US. One of the strengths of the mLean solutions is that we have first-class Lean Manufacturing implementations at our customers. This real-life experience helps our solutions evolve quickly and in substantial ways. We digitalize the dynamics of continuous improvement adapting to the needs of each client.
Well, I wanted to share a reflection that came to mind when talking with my colleagues about their experiences. We detected a trend that seems to be quite common. To put it in context. It is well known that daily meetings, both production meetings at the beginning of the shift, and rapid response meetings to address problems are very useful, there’s nothing new there. The objectives are clear: to favor communication between production teams and a to enable rapid escalation of problems to supervisors when needed. All of it within a limited time span of about 30-40 minutes a day in total. These meetings are held in rooms, usually fitted close to the production line and usually without chairs, to prevent them from lengthening over time. In these rooms there are countless panels with dozens of indicators that are filled, in most cases, by hand.
We digitalize the dynamics of continuous improvement adapting to the needs of each client.
The trend we see is that more and more frequently we find large screens, tactile in some cases, which are used to display scorecards in Web format. In some other cases they display Excel spreadsheets or some type of office tools.
Our point of view is the following. We are not against any of this, far from it. We believe that it is an obvious path for the industry to go. However, these implementations have some challenges. Is the plant “digitalized” just because of the existence of those displays? What is known about the source of the data displayed, as that data depends, from the most part, on collection by individual persons? Is it sensible to make an investment that, in the best of cases, is used at most two hours a day?
We have seen cases in which people continue to fill in the paper form and then waste time transcribing that information to digital format. They then arrive at the meeting and use the 80″ screen with “good” data. Isn’t this a bit mindboggling?
Have we asked team leaders if that was, indeed, the first need that had to be addressed? Well, in mLean we truly live with people in the ground. We see how they breathe, how they act, how they struggle, and how, with all that effort, they get the job done. And we can guarantee you that there is one thing that no one has ever told us: I need a display in the daily production meeting room. They ask us a lot of questions related to the management of people, training and managing their versatility, among many others, but never about a display in a meeting room that is accessed through a door.
Data is important, but people are more important. That’s why at mLean, we provide people with mobility and with simple, robust, and connected solutions.
We are not saying that visual management, been digitalize or not, is unimportant. Quite the opposite. It is the key that provides the transparency needed by an industry that wants to change its way of working with their people. We believe that, before one takes the step of investing in expensive displays with quick obsolescence, it is important to know how to help the main actors, the people who are in the ground all the time, how to support those who add major value, the operators and the machines.
Data is important, but people are more important. And the industry needs its people to contribute value where and when they best can. That’s why at mLean, we provide people with mobility and with simple, robust, and connected solutions. It is the first step towards that sci-fi industry that we see in the promotional videos of the major automobile brands. Do not start building the house by the roof … or the fix will be more expensive than the problem!
Roberto Delgado Marcos
CEO at Mobile Lean
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