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As forgetful as they may be, humans need to be revered

Andreas Eschbach
By Andreas Eschbach CEO, Eschbach

Artificial Intelligence combined with endless cloud computing resources means more machine involvement and a faster progression to end-to-end automation for manufacturing plants.

Eschbach-Andreas.jpg
Andreas Eschbach

Best practices are to create an environment where the natural attributes of people and technology are balanced to assure optimal communication, safety and production. The positive attributes of both people and machines should be the focus as well as their productive and symbiotic relationships.

Here, we’ll explore evolving roles and technology that support critical human factors and machine collaboration.

Investments in data storage without considering the human factors regarding how it will be accessed, understood and used in practice is detrimental. Machines are very good at capturing and storing data. But humans are better equipped to remember perceptions, images and feelings that have been experienced or memorized from past experiences. 

Machines are reliable only for defined situations where they’ve been programmed, i.e. repeating  actions on a production line.

People, however, through their perception, improvisation and detection, are reliable within and outside of the defined operational domain.

Technology can only do what we’ve asked it to do whereas people can create new processes when the unexpected arises.

Each operational team in process manufacturing shares different goals. They manage different shifts, reporting up the line to various supervisors who then typically report into their corporate structure. Everyone is using technology to do their job.

In a 12-hour shift, how much data is retained or forgotten? On a good day, a lot of data generated may be retained. On a stressful shift, perhaps only half.

Data transference to the next team will be affected by this, especially when errors and communication omissions are factored in.

Relying on people to remember all information reliably, either verbally or written, will potentially result in various problems, including safety issues. 

Easy-to-use technology is needed to support people to overcome their natural limitations. Greater benefits occur if the technology supports people and enhances their natural human capabilities, allowing shift insights to be transferred to the next shift. The incoming shift will gain a better understanding and be able to act quicker and more effectively.

Shared shift-handover information represents a critical foundation for continuity. It serves as a running protocol of relevant events and conditions that together describe the state of manufacturing processes within a specific time period.

Digital shift-management technology automates some aspects of handover, providing accurate formalized digital records of plant operations that are conveniently shared with all necessary constituents. This lets those involved concentrate on the aspects that benefit from their natural human capabilities.

Technology won’t replace people. Utilize technology to enable people to use their natural capabilities and increase their performance.

Successful manufacturing enterprises will embrace an approach that elevates the attributes of both people and technology to help the human-machine network work together in a more collaborative way. This will ensure more transparency, reliability and visibility across all plant functions to help teams better communicate and optimize outcomes.

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