State-of-the-art digitization technologies as a key element for a substantial leap in production efficiency

The issue of productivity has been around in the manufacturing world for decades. However, in practice, we have often seen failed investments and unexploited opportunities to improve production efficiency. Fortunately, a proven approach exists that delivers productivity growth and cost optimization on a constant basis – digitally supported approach of Operational Excellence (OPEX), which can also be upgraded with artificial intelligence (AI).

What is OPEX and how does it work?

The OPEX approach is based on an in-depth insight into manufacturing processes and monitoring of their performance through key performance indicators (KPIs), and systematic detection and elimination of root causes causing downtimes and losses.

The essence of operational excellence lies in the reduction of losses, for which acquisition and storage of manufacturing data in real-time are required. In the next step, the data is processed and transformed into clear, transparent and valuable information, with which we can identify opportunities for improvements.

At the core of the approach lies OPEX information system, which collects and processes manufacturing data, and provides relevant information to all key stakeholders in manufacturing.

However, technology is often only a part of the solution. Productivity growth and manufacturing costs decrease require also various skills and, above all, experience.

In addition to knowledge, experience and technology, what is essential is strategy. In practice, we too frequently encounter isolated solutions, focusing on individual problems. Instead, manufacturing improvements should be tackled comprehensively and with a clear vision of the ultimate goal.

Five key benefits of the OPEX information system

With the introduction of the OPEX information system and the operational excellence approach, we gain several significant benefits:

  • better understanding of manufacturing processes for development of improvement measures for productivity increase and cost reduction
  • easier detection of hidden losses with KPIs, using standard methodologies such as OEE and TPM
  • faster response to events and anomalies in production, leading to shorter downtimes and losses
  • elimination of manual data recording and often unclear / inaccurate paper logs more effective cooperation among key stakeholders such as management, operations and maintenance.

What does an upgrade of OPEX system with artificial intelligence bring?

Artificial intelligence is nowadays extensively used in numerous, especially consumer-oriented industries (e.g. banking, telecommunications) to support classical analytics and diagnostics.

Recently, with advancements in computer methods and predictive modelling, it is gaining ground in more complex environments as well, such as manufacturing. With proper preparation of data infrastructure, it can be used as decision-making support for various crucial processes – from manufacturing to planning and maintenance.

In combination with OPEX information system, artificial intelligence enables various process improvements, simplifications and accelerations, while relieving the burden on key decision-makers. Thus, on the one hand, it ensures faster identification of problems and easy interpretation of indicators that affect manufacturing efficiency. It enables the execution of simulations and predictions, with which critical events in production can be tackled before they even appear and affect productivity. Artificial intelligence is also increasingly used in product quality improvement, employee control and guidance, predictive maintenance, and optimal planning.

Although artificial intelligence in connection with production systems appears in more and more areas, its real boom in manufacturing is yet to come. In the future, in combination with the OPEX system and other tools, it will contribute even more to productivity growth and successful operations of manufacturing companies.

How can we help you at Metronik?

At Metronik, we have been working in the fields of automation and digitalization of manufacturing for over three decades. We employ numerous experts in automation, informatics, digitalization and manufacturing process-domain, which is why we can carry out the most demanding OPEX projects in various industries.

Based on our experience in increasing productivity and reducing production costs, we have developed a proprietary software solution MePIS OPEX. It consists of several modules that allow users to automatically detect and classify downtimes, calculate KPIs, provide useful information through control panels and dashboards, and offer advanced functionalities for reporting and analytics based on artificial intelligence.

OPEX is a web-based platform, which means that all functionalities are available anytime, anywhere, with the device of your preference (e.g. computer, smartphone and tablet), which makes the solution effective also for remote work.

Cutting-edge architecture and technology enable easy deployment of MePIS OPEX and seamless connection to existing information systems. Flexible artificial intelligence algorithms can be integrated with other applications to tackle productivity and production costs comprehensively.

For more information on how to improve productivity with the operational excellence system MePIS OPEX, please contact Vanja Tomažič by e-mail