Real-time Performance Management System Help Manufacturers Achieve Operational Excellence
Automation provides real-time information to decision-makers about the health, efficiency, and effectiveness of all shop floor operations, where true value creation takes place. Economic decision-makers looking for key performance indicators (KPIs), require a dashboard to monitor, manage and control production and enterprise operations.
Automation Systems are at the core of Real-time Management Systems. They, acting as the dashboard, help manufacturing companies to respond to the market needs most efficiently and effectively.
Automation is the epicentre of Real-time Performance Management Systems
Tracking and improving the plant and enterprise productivity and performance through Real-time Performance Management (RPM) are the key ingredients in making production and enterprise operations market responsive most optimally.
The foundation of RPM is the integration of real-time manufacturing data with real-time cost data for achieving operational excellence (OpX). Industry executives need to know how much money their company spent or earned on a realtime basis. The automation principle 'if you can't measure it, you can't control it' holds true. Real-time data, relating to the manufacturing process and emanating from the plant floor, that is integrated with the enterprise data would reveal the real-time economic performance and the true plant production potential.
Ready access to real-time data, when it is needed, where it is needed, in a form that is needed, and from any point in the system, ensures 'Data Synchronisation', which is an essential ingredient of any RPM implementation. Automation systems with pervasive computing capabilities, intelligent devices with communication capabilities, and high performance processing including asset management functionalities, enable Data Synchronisation and OpX to be achieved. As RPM initiatives take hold, intelligent and bus-enabled communicating devices will be more widely used along with control systems, which are standards based and built ground up.
Business Performance Improvement through Operational Excellence
ARC's business-performance improvement concept is Operational Excellence (OpX). The OpX concept is valuable for conveying a clear and intuitive understanding of the business improvement processes. Operational Excellence in a process plant environment translates to Production Management and Process Control.
OpX embraces two fundamental processes - Improvement and Control. Improvement is an offline process that utilises tools such as Six Sigma to identify weaknesses compromising performance. The second process, Control, essentially is the control strategy and execution for the plant and is the heart of OpX. Control also has two levels, a supervisory level and an execution level. These levels, in terms of their automation counterparts, are production management and process control respectively. OpX is achieved through Collaborative Process Automation System (CPAS) model, which is a scalable, high availability platform that facilitates a robust, data rich and unbounded environment for control of the process.
OpX in Production Management
Within the CPAS model, Performance Management is the heart of Production Management. Here, the guiding principle is optimal performance.
OpX in Process Control
Within the CPAS model, Production Supervision is the heart of Process Control. Here, the guiding principle is flawless operation. To achieve flawless operation, control and transitioning should be executed explicitly by the system rather than implicitly by the operator. The operator is provided higher-level tools, which provide a performance perspective and the opportunity to intervene on an exception basis.
Manufacturers should exploit what the current automation technology offers to achieve operational excellence and suppliers should respond with their integrated control system offerings to help manufacturing companies to truly emerge as globally competitive entities. A collaborative partnership between users and suppliers will be truly beneficial in enriching both.
- A V Rajabhadur, Director - South & South East Asian Operations, ARC Advisory Group