July 28, 2021

User Story – Data Improves Any Process

One of our customers in the pharmaceutical industry started to improve their manual process by using the Blackbird solution.

The customer has been using the Blackbird standard solution, which collects data from sensors on some of their packaging lines, for a long time. The data gives them valuable insights: the biggest stop reason, average changeover time and OEE, which they can continuously improve on.   

Recently they contacted the Blackbird team, if there was any way to do the same on one of their manual process stations. The manual process has a long cycle time to complete, consisting of several steps and there is often long a “downtime”.  The customer wanted to understand what is causing downtime and how long it is e.g., which tool is taking more time to be changed, and which material is delayed for how long. 

The customer started to use one of the Blackbird software’s function called Manual Process Performance Tracking.  As it is very simple and has similar usability to as what they were using on the existing Blackbird software, it was easy to get started. The customer installed a tablet at the manual process station where operators simply click buttons to register a downtime reason.  For example, when they need to wait for a material, they click “Begin stop“ and “waiting for material A” buttons. When they get the material, they click “End stop”. Simple as that!

This allows the customer to have all the “downtime” registered and timestamped easily, and the Blackbird software calculates and visualizes the data automatically on the cloud server. This changes the conversation during the status meeting: they can immediately discuss how to improve the biggest problem at each meeting. 

Moreover, this manual station requires several process controls during the operation, which they also use the Blackbird software for. The Blackbird software pops out the message which prompts operators to perform controls when needed, e.g. measure and record the weight every 15 minutes after material B is inserted.  The operators can perform the control and type in the result easily on the Blackbird software. All records are archived and can be viewed at any time.

The customer continues to analyze the downtime reasons and improve the manual process, while its process control become paperless and streamlined.

The Blackbird solution has several functions as a standard, but by starting to just use a few functions, you can start improving any process in your factory. As this pharmaceutical company shows you can start using other features as you go and thereby ensure that you are continuously improving your process. 

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