By Constant Ondo
Every Quality Manager undoubtedly experienced insight at least once. Insight, the unexpected discovery of an element that had escaped everyone and yet turns out to be the key to an unsolvable problem. All QMs would probably also like to live this experience more often within their continuous improvement work.
It is now possible, thanks to augmented intelligence platforms, in which knowledge is organized in the form of systems that promote the development of quality insights.
Insight: a finding that can change everything
Insight usually appears like an eye-opener. Suddenly, by chance one could almost believe, we pinpoint a parameter that was never taken into account or an operation that has never been reported, which explains why a problem persists despite all the corrective actions taken. And just as suddenly, new ways of solving the problem are opened up to us.
We don’t believe in chance. We know that getting new quality insights requires a spirit of discovery. It requires to be able to look with fresh eyes at a workstation or a step in the manufacturing process that have already been observed a thousand times. But it also requires a strong trusting relationship and thorough dialogue with colleagues so that they dare reveal what we cannot see for ourselves. Many quality insights come from informal discussions about the daily routine of a workstation, where the problem under investigation is not even mentioned.
The main reason why quality insight is so rare is the lack of time. It is impossible to keep an operator or a technician busy for too long because production always comes first. However, like the gold flake in the gold digger’s sieve, insight requires to collect, process and sort tons of information to be revealed. This is precisely where augmented intelligence platforms make the difference by fostering information collection and analyzing it automatically.
Indicating a vivid quality system
Fostering the emergence of insights within an organization means being aware that no process is set in stone; nor can it be 100% controlled. Every individual has his/her own way of carrying out a task, solving a problem, or dealing with a change in habits. Every human intervention can be a source of progress, but also a source of error. Errors that, because they are not necessarily conscious, cannot be expressed as such.
Insight is best developed in a vivid quality system, fed by committed employees. It is the reflection of a bottom-up approach to continuous improvement, which shows a real consideration of human’s contribution to quality.
An organization that nurtures insights is able to reach new levels of operational excellence. It is also better equipped for risk management because it develops more intuition in its analysis of failure modes and their effects (FMEA). Finally, it is able to maintain a good level of quality in a production environment subject to frequent changes.
For all these reasons, insight becomes an essential resource in quality management systems.
The fruit of an enrichment and a different reading of knowledge
What are the necessary ingredients for quality insights to flourish? We can see at least two of them: the volume of experience feedbacks available and the ability to rearrange the ins and outs of a problem when new analysis parameters are added. Knowledge growth and reorganization is what will allow to identify unsuspected root causes.
It implies however to find a tool that is both well accepted in the shopfloor and sufficiently powerful for the automatic analysis to provide relevant results. This is exactly how our customers describe PICC.
We have primarily designed our platform as a solution provider. Users therefore see PICC as a real support for troubleshooting. This encourages them to feed the system with new problems they encounter, including those that might seem insignificant at first glance. PICC can also be connected to sensors that will give access to the machine data at the time the problem occurred. Knowledge is naturally enriched taking just the necessary time, not more.
It is automatically integrated into our dynamic Knowledge Map (KMAP) to form a system of interdependent problems and solutions. PICC’s incredible analytical capacity allows us to create cause and effect links between events that are not related at first glance.
For example, our platform detected that a change in cloth supplier was the cause of an increase in the failure rate of a machine.
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