Actually, we have long been in the midst of digitalization: the physical world is increasingly merging with the digital world. All kinds of new services and offers are available to us all the time. We can already interact with the things around us in real time – not only in our homes and cities, but also in production and logistics. This allows processes to be optimized and completely new market potentials to be opened up. But this is time-consuming, planning intensive and expensive. SMEs in particular often lack the resources here.
A large scaffolding manufacturer from Brandenburg relies on standard solutions and “rents” the Industry 4.0 systems – from the Indoor localization to the company-wide, cross-departmental communication up to machine monitoring. And all this with tools that are familiar to everyone. Employees benefit from this in many ways.
With the smartphone, they can now locate the intermediate material they need; no one walks through the factory halls for hours to track down the box pallet with the part “railing 2400*80”. To locate the location of the materials, each container was provided with an active tag. This tag, also called iBeacon, gives a regular signal that can be located. With a smartphone app, the containers can now be found electronically at any time by anyone. This works similar to coordinates on a map. And that’s not all. Information about the contents of the containers is also no longer a problem. The employees immediately recognized the advantages of this solution and contributed their own ideas and use cases to equip the solution with more and more helpful functions.
But that was just the beginning. If digitisation has already begun, it should be pursued consistently. A digital communication solution now replaces the shop floor board. Smartphones are also used here: work instructions (also in the form of videos), measures, shift schedules, instructions, chats, breaking news – all digital. In this way, all employees receive the information they need exactly when they need it. Communication without gaps and media discontinuity increases productivity and saves a lot of time. Since everything is managed centrally and distributed locally, every employee receives exactly the information he or she needs. Shift handovers are completed just as quickly as the training of new employees or temporary workers.
Yes, this can also be done via app! Without long project planning, implementation and upfront investments. Standard mobile phone sensors monitor the machines. And in the case of special incidents, for example when certain reporting points are reached, there is a push message on the mobile phone.
The many advantages and the easy handling have led to the fact that the employees even contribute with their own ideas to the meaningful addition of their tools in order to further facilitate and optimize their work. For example, the indoor localisation has been extended by a “stacker button”: as soon as a box pallet is full, the stacker driver can be called at the push of a button. The communication solution was also supplemented by a supplier integration: Material “square steel tube” is all? Push the button…
And both are not the same as highly complicated technology, IT project or large investment. The start is, in many cases much easier than you expect. And if you include everyone in this process, the new ideas will only bubble – I promise!