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56 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2020 According to the reports, all the machines in the factory are performing well, but the factory itself appears to be in a coma, unable to fulfill critical delivery requirements. Is this a night- mare scenario, or is it happening every day? Trying to help, some managers are requesting further investment in automation, while oth- ers are demanding better machine data that explains where it all went wrong. Digital tech- nology to the rescue, or is it making the prob- lem worse? Having machine data—or not having it—is not an indication of good or bad. My evil self could go into any factory shut down due to COVID-19 today and find ways to take out pro- duction reports that show that over the recent period, no scrap was made, no parts were lost, there were no line imbalances, the factory achieved zero-defects, there were no missed It's Not What You Have: It's How You Use It deliveries, and there was no sign of produc- tivity loss on any machine. No time was lost for manual operators taking restroom breaks, there were no accidents, nobody was late for work, and there was no need for any overtime. In different circumstances, these statistics would be excellent news, and while they may be true, they don't have any meaning. These statistics would show that you can take a cer- tain view with data and make a case to justify all manner of things. Though perhaps not as extreme, this prac- tice is happening all the time. Metrics are crafted from simple data sources to promote the positive; after all, we each look forward to a good review at the end of the year, but iso- lated "facts" can hide an overall negative situa- tion. Money first seeps, then pours through the cracks, covering over fundamental operational Smart Factory Insights Feature Column by Michael Ford, AEGIS SOFTWARE

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