Monday, March 21, 2011

Paper-on-Glass? Don’t Throw Your Money Away

I recently generated the content for a mailing piece targeted at our Life Sciences Clients here at Avid addressing Paper-On-Glass… This is something that I feel strongly about, and decided to re-host here – so without further rambling…
For many, the concept of Paper-on-Glass (simply replacing the existing paper batch ticket/ink with a computer screen, i.e. glass) seems like the logical, low-risk evolution of automation systems.
Of course, we all know that implementing even this seemingly low-risk evolution will require a large team, representing every facet of the business (operations, quality assurance, IT, engineering and validation), due to the impact of the change. But a Paper-on-Glass system is worth it, because it can generate an EBR (electronic batch record), right?
The real question should be: While that team is together, can something better be done?
Paper-on-glass systems (like typical paper-based) require review after the fact and not in real-time (or by exception). The next step up, from Paper-on-Glass, focuses the exception handling during the EBR execution. Reviewing the process during the manufacturing process allows the operator on the shop floor to address exceptions as the manufacturing rules are enforced in real-time. This reduces wasted time, money and materials and decreases the review time.
Any change to the batch ticket will require cultural transition and careful change management.  Again, why limit your focus to simple remove the paper? Some additional areas to consider with the implementation of any EBR system should be:
  • •  Total Quality Control – Tracking material lots and manufacturing within the process
  • •  Scheduling – Queuing and optimizing production based on best-fit algorithms
  • •  Recipe Management – more than weigh and dispense, formulation, set-up parameters, tolerances and labels, and prepositioning of set points
  • •  Inventory Management – tracking “work-in-process” and state of assets, i.e. clean, used, in-process
  • •  Maintenance – Monitoring equipment performance, tracking usage for preventive maintenance and downtime

Monday, March 14, 2011

Welcome to Level3!

Welcome to Level3…a manufacturing information space blog.  Here we will discuss a variety of topics related to the space that sits between the PLCs/DCSs controlling your manufacturing process and the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).  We will tend to focus on integrating from the ‘Shop-Floor’ up as opposed to ERP down or “Big Bang” MES packages.  Posts will be generated by several of us here at Avid, some leading experts outside of Avid, and hopefully comments by users too.
Some of the topics we have planned are:  Historians, Reporting, OEE, KPIs, Networking, Virtualization and so forth…