If you operate a manufacturing plant or other production facility, you may spend much of your time in the pursuit of efficiency and growth. However, moving forward will generally require you to build atop your existing foundation, and without accurate data about your historical production processes, you may be shooting in the dark.
Should you implement a data historian to track these trends and give you the data you need to make the big-picture decisions? Read on to learn more about the benefits that can be afforded to your manufacturing facility through this software, as well as the factors you'll want to consider when deciding whether to invest in a data historian or utilize another recording and reporting tool instead.
What benefits can a data historian bring to your manufacturing facility?
There are several specific benefits you can gain from hiring a data historian, regardless of your industry or the type of manufacturing you handle.
The bevy of governmental and industry regulations surrounding the world of manufacturing can be all but impossible to track on one's own; and those whose facilities are out of compliance could face hefty fines and civil penalties until the problems are corrected. A data historian that has been properly programmed with the relevant regulations and industry standards can keep your production on track and alert you by generating a report when any problems crop up so that they can be corrected sooner rather than later.
In addition, by keeping track of your past production trends with a data historian, you'll be able to quickly and unequivocally demonstrate your compliance with applicable regulations if audited. And even if you've been officially deemed non-compliant with certain regulations, your efforts to track compliance through a data historian may serve as a mitigating factor when penalties or fines are being assessed.
In many cases, your data historian can save you money (and product) by pinpointing when and where a problem with your product originated. For example, if your facility pasteurizes milk and a quality control worker discovers that all the gallons on one pallet ready for shipment have already spoiled, your data historian should be able to quickly spit out a report that shows precisely when the pasteurization temperature was changed—even whether the change was due to equipment problems or human error. This level of detail can help you in issuing any product recalls that may be necessary and will prevent you from having to scrap thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of dollars of product for fear it may be contaminated or defective.
How can you determine whether this software would be a good investment for your facility?
In some cases, a manufacturing facility may be able to run all necessary reports through its own proprietary database system. However, if you don't currently have a good way to gather data on historical manufacturing trends, or if you find yourself frequently backtracking to determine where a problem began, a data historian can save you both time and money.
Those who manufacture products for heavily-regulated industries (like food, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals) can also benefit from a data historian if only for liability protection purposes. Staying apprised of your product quality (as well as your compliance with industry regulations) is key in today's economic climate, when a poorly-managed recall can be enough to put a company out of business.
There are just so many things that a data historian can do for your business and peace of mind. To learn more about your options, set up a meeting with local services like Canary Labs before you make you final decision.