April 28, 2021

User Story – If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it


A company learned the hard way that you cannot improve what you cannot measure. It is one of the Blackbird customers who manufactures consumer products in large volume. They realized in order to improve, they had to start by knowing what they did not know in their production. 

The company was looking for an OEE system for their 10 production lines and it had to be scalable because their market share was growing, and their factories spread across Europe, Asia, and North America.  

The efficiency was lagging due to the strong growth. They needed a system that could monitor their production expansion as well as improve the situation. Currently significant amount of time was being spent on daily fire-fighting with problems, hence limiting the time available for making the production stable and ensuring strong growth. They were looking for a performance management system that could give a clear picture of the production status and the actionable analytics based on live data. But most importantly, it had to be scalable along the company’s expansion. 

The people in the shop floors were busy all day, every day. They were spending a lot of time on firefighting with new issues and recurring issues - and with no time to improve the situation.

The customer did not have overview and could not answer to these simple questions:

  • Which production line is performing ahead or behind the schedule?
  • What is the biggest cause that makes up the downtime?
  • Do we have any available capacity next week?

The company asked for a trial of using the Blackbird system and this was an eye-opener. 

With the Blackbird system and the live data from their Factbird data collection devices, the answers were right on the customer’s smartphone. They can measure the production performance and they can see it and they can therefore make improvements.

They have learned the hard way that if you cannot measure something, and don’t know the results, you cannot possibly improve.

During the trial, the operational director was positively surprised by the real time data, which could be collected so easily. As it was so easy to install and start using the system, the customer could easily picture how it would be to install on other sites too – no excuse not to install it. 

 The system is flexible and scalable, which means the Blackbird system does not require any big commitment: it allows any customer to start one by one. No need to roll-out an expensive IT project that they never know if they will get the return on its investment.    

The customer told the Blackbird, “We did not know what we didn’t know. We want to explore more about what we don’t know with the Blackbird”. 


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