Better Technology Skillsets Mean Improved Production Up-time By Chris Selph, Program Manager, InSource Solutions When asked, most InSource clients say that their Manufacturing Information Systems (e.g. HMI, Historian, etc.) are business critical. In other words, if their Wonderware systems are unavailable, production suffers. So, better engineered systems and the skillsets to manage them become paramount in minimizing production under performance and improving the customer service levels your clients expect down the supply chain. APICS, the association for Operations and Supply Chain Management states that the measures of performance of any organization are: Quality, Speed, Dependability, Flexibility and Cost. While all the measures are linked and not easily isolated, let’s look at the Dependability factor and the risks Manufacturing Information Systems pose on your ability to meet client order deliveries. 80% of unplanned outages are caused by human error in the form of operations staff and developers. This loss in production cost $84,000 – $105,000 per hour for the average manufacturer according to Gartner Research. Think of the failure possibilities with an untrained or inexperienced system developer or maintainer: A PC is configured with the wrong IP address An InTouch Access Name is configured with a non-existent node name Your DAServer is not properly licensed The wrong InTouch application is imported into the Historian A misconfigured InTouch script is in an infinite loop Other factors impact Manufacturing Information Systems which are rarely completely isolated and static. When changes occur, do you have the skillsets to minimize the resulting system downtime? If a PLC becomes off-line, how long till you discover this? What if the field instrument changes and your scaling is now incorrect? An InTouch value display worked yesterday but not today. How do you troubleshoot? A drive fails on your object server, how do you recover? Systems engineered to provide maximum up-time and performance require engineers and technicians with the necessary competencies to design uptime in and component failure out whenever possible. The entire technology stack deployed in a Manufacturing Information System utilizes many vendors across a variety of technical domains from networking to operating systems to varied control systems across the plant. There are many points of failure but with the proper training, many of these risks can be mitigated. A proper understanding of system components, network architecture, licensing, security, communications, configuration backup and system restore procedures can make all the difference. What risks are you leaving in place by not properly training your staff on business critical technologies? If you are not sure, InSource can help you assess your situation and the risks you face. We can help develop a roadmap to improved production and supporting systems up-time. This can be accomplished through a competent and confident staff who can deliver information management systems that are effective and highly available to enable high performance plant floor operations.