Frequently Assessing Standards is Critical to Continuous Improvement

Frequently Assessing Standards is Critical to Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is critical to the most successful process industry companies. These industry leaders strive for year-over-year efficiency improvements by performing annual assessments of labor standards, standard work, and overall operations. 

Iterate Labs works with a number of these leading companies in food processing, manufacturing, and other industries, and they don’t “make time” for an annual assessment of labor standards on each processing line or task (which too often can mean that it doesn’t get done); they build it into their annual plans as surely as they build eating and sleeping into their personal schedules.

These leaders know that with a data-informed review of each line that they can achieve annual 5-10% productivity boosts. This is central to their approach to reducing turnover, improving retention, enhancing safety, and dealing with the current labor shortage. 

Typically these companies undertake an annual Kaizen event to assess labor standards and standard work on a line. The first part of any continuous improvement process is mapping and measuring the current process and using this data to decide on key problem/opportunity areas to improve. This is by far the most important aspect for success for one key reason: Garbage IN = Garbage OUT! 

Recent technologies, such as Iterate Lab’s smartwatch and AI platform, automate the data collection so that orders of magnitude more data — and far more accurate data — are collected; companies still using manual data collection methods such as stopwatches, pen, and paper to perform time and motion studies simply can’t produce the same results. These new tools also enable the collection of data at the individual worker level for performance, cycle time, and exertion. The automation of this data collection is a huge time saver and contributes significantly to the impact of these continuous improvement programs.

After the first step of data collection and identification of major issues on the line, the improvement lead would consider root causes for those problem/opportunity areas. Identifying the solution and fixing the process is often relatively simple once a key problem has been identified with data backing the finding. And the industrial engineers and continuous improvement specialists are often the best suited for solving the problems as they live, eat, and breathe these processes day in and out.  

The next part of the process is measuring the results and the performance after the changes have been implemented; with modern digital tools this can be quick and effective. If the results are successful, the last part of the continuous improvement process is defining, documenting, and completing training on the new standard work —  and, of course, celebrating your new profound efficiency improvements. 

Leading companies are taking advantage of these advances in digital technologies including wearable sensors and computer vision, AI, and dashboards to eliminate the manual and time consuming parts of the continuous improvement process. With nearly effortless data collection these continuous improvement activities can occur annually or more often on each production line, and that means big, continuous returns on efficiency and production. 

Iterate Labs offers the first of its kind patented smartwatch and AI platform for collecting data on every aspect of your workforce performance. Our smartwatch digitizes worker arm and hand activity and our AI connects this to your manufacturing and production KPI’s. Cycle times, downtime, speed, idle time, takt time, and any other metrics that you can imagine are now at your fingertips, almost instantly. You can assess thousands of hours and millions of cycles without a single stopwatch or piece of paper, empowering the lean and continuous improvement professionals at your facility to focus on the other steps of improvement and apply their skills to maximizing profitability and efficiency. With the Iterate Labs platform and your team working together, Overall Labor Effectiveness (OLE) and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) can reach unprecedented levels year after year (that is, after all, the definition of continuous improvement). 

Easily track the productivity, downtime, and activity trends for your production lines

Currently Iterate  Labs is offering a package for first time users to assess labor standards, productivity, and standard work for one month on one production line for $5k. Please fill out the link here to request access and find out more. Join the other companies that have taken the step to drive efficiency, OLE, and OEE, and gain a competitive edge by using Iterate Labs.

Contact Iterate Labs today to talk about how we can help you make training a strategic center for growth at your company. 

Frequently Assessing Standards is Critical to Continuous Improvement