The Benefits of Real-Time Production & Process Monitoring

Jun 21, 2024 4:15:00 PM / by David Crowley


To succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, manufacturers must continually optimize production, reduce costs, and minimize waste—all while adhering to high standards of quality and customer service. Real-time visibility into what’s happening on the production floor and in the supply chain gives decision-makers the insights they need to put these goals within reach. In this article, we’ll discuss several ways real-time production and process monitoring benefits manufacturers, making it an essential tool in the ongoing quest for a leaner manufacturing operation.

Production Monitoring

Through continuous observation and analysis of manufacturing and supply chain production processes, real-time production monitoring helps promote quality and efficiency. Production monitoring software can track not only the goods produced but also the labor, tools, and materials that go into production as well as waste such as downtime, defects, and scrap. By collecting, analyzing, organizing, and presenting this data to key personnel in real time, the latest generation of production monitoring tools empowers manufacturers to improve production processes in multiple ways.

Detect & Quickly Address Errors

In the old days, production errors often went unnoticed until the end of a run, resulting in significant waste of time, labor, and materials. Less obvious defects could go unnoticed entirely—that is, until customers started lodging complaints about product quality. Real-time production monitoring software helps prevent these scenarios by alerting manufacturers to errors as soon as the occur. Personnel gain the insights they need to respond promptly and correct problems sooner. Addressing issues as soon as they arise can result in many benefits, including reduced waste, increased on-time delivery, higher product quality, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Understand Production Flow & Material Usage

While the ability to respond quickly to errors is a game changer in itself, real-time production monitoring software can do much more than this. It can provide an overview of the entire production system, from labor and raw materials through distribution of finished goods. This allows manufacturers to make several kinds of improvements to streamline operations:

  • Quickly identify bottlenecks and make the adjustments needed to reestablish the free flow of goods.
  • Reduce lead times to more promptly meet customer demands.
  • Optimize scheduling to deploy workers where and when they’re needed most and ensure an efficient allocation of labor.
  • Reduce the need for storage by better understanding the flow of materials through the facility.
  • Reduce waste with more precise management of labor and materials.
  • Utilize job setup sheets to input product standards based on running jobs which can be used to train and assist operators.

Make Accurate Forecasts

Because cutting-edge production monitoring leverages the internet of things and advanced data analytics, it is capable of providing not just raw data but actionable insights. The software sorts through the immense amount of data it collects to deliver customizable reports and detailed analytics that make forecasting easier than ever before. Manufacturers can get a clear view of their labor, material, and storage needs so they can streamline production, make better informed financial decisions, and maintain high quality and quick turnaround even during times of peak demand.

Process Monitoring

Process monitoring involves collecting data on various process variables such as temperature, pressure, flow rate, run time, vibration, and energy usage. Monitoring software can send out instant alerts (email, text or voice alerts) when anomalies are detected, allowing employees to address issues at their earliest stages and preventing larger problems from arising. SYSCON PlantStar also creates real time process monitoring dashboards so manufacturers can view all their process variables across all their machines on one screen. Additionally, advanced analytics can enable a predictive maintenance program, which uses real-time sensor data to determine when a machine is likely to fail. This results in a more cost effective maintenance spend compared with reactive or even traditional preventive maintenance practices. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that depending on a facility’s current practices, implementing a predictive maintenance program could significantly reduce maintenance costs and downtime while boosting production and return on investments in equipment.

Production and process monitoring provide unparalleled insights that enable manufacturers to optimize product quality, efficiency, costs, productivity, and customer satisfaction. By leveraging the latest technologies in IoT and advanced data analytics, manufacturers can transform their operations to remain competitive.

The Advantage of SYSCON PlantStar

SYSCON PlantStar is an experienced provider of manufacturing execution system (MES) solutions, providing manufacturers end-to-end insight into a facility’s operations. Our MES can connect directly to machines without the need for additional data collection equipment. The system can communicate using methods such as OPC-UA, MODBUS, or EUROMAP to extract all available process variables directly from the machines. Learn more about our solutions, or read more about the benefits of a robust MES on our blog.