Integrators Part 2: Adapt to a changing market and avoid the ‘Nedry Effect’
In the first of this two-parter, we discussed how incorporating process signature analysis into every phase of an integrator’s build can help reduce risk and keep the project on time and on budget. In this post, we talk about how bundling this same quality assurance technology into a build can also bring more business to an integrator’s door.
Whether it’s called “Industry 4.0” or the “Industrial Internet of Things,” competitive pressures are leading discrete manufacturers to invest in new technologies that will increase yield, improve quality and optimize their processes.
This begins by capturing and consolidating all the digital process signature data from every process and test station as a part moves down the line. This provides more accurate and reliable real-time pass/fail decisions. Using signature analysis, this collected data can then be used to trace the root cause of a problem and optimize operations for continuous improvement.
How? By using modern data analytics tools. These allow all the production data – the record of every process, tool and human hand that touched the part and could impact quality – to be consolidated into a single birth history record for each part. These records are then stored in a common database so they can be easily searched and cross-referenced, to spot trends and patterns. The manufacturer has full product traceability, down to the individual serial number.
If a manufacturer comes along with this requirement, an integrator can find itself having to design, purchase, assemble, code, install, pipe, wire and test a scratch-built quality assurance solution. And starting from scratch always means greater risk of failing to deliver on time and on budget. We’ve worked with integrators that take a DIY approach and start from scratch every time a customer comes along with such a requirement. Each time, it’s a fresh hair-pulling exercise in risk management.
Many integrators operate under the belief that a DIY build will somehow save them money versus buying a common standard solution. But in the end, it usually only causes them internal problems and big headaches.
I call this the “Nedry Effect,” after that irritating IT manager in Jurassic Park who tried to steal the dinosaur embryos. He designed the park’s IT systems to be under his control and a nightmare for anyone else to manage.
The most efficient and cost-effective way to deliver on a quality assurance requirement and avoid the Nedry Effect is to find a proven common standard solution. They do exist and can be adapted to any discrete manufacturing line.
Think about it. Would you build a spreadsheet program from scratch, orjust license MS Excel?
It just makes better business sense for an integrator to partner with a reputable quality assurance vendor willing to license their technology than to incur all the trouble that arises from taking the DIY route. In this way, an integrator can market their own white-labelled Industry 4.0 offering.
The result is reduced risk, more business, better margins and a sharper competitive edge.