Global Manufacturer Digitizes Shop Floor to Create Their Own Digital Factory


In today’s complex manufacturing landscape, manufacturers across the globe increasingly recognize the need to embrace digital transformation to remain competitive. 

Many manufacturers focus on “Industry 4.0” and the marrying of physical production and operations with smart digital technology. Trends in the industry currently point toward investing in advanced technologies to mitigate risk and encourage a holistic approach to Smart Factory initiatives. They must adopt new technology that can: 

  • Extend the capabilities of legacy systems without the need to replace them. 
  • Launch new products and services that differentiate the organization from others and push operations into the future via digitization and modern solutions. 
  • Bridge the IT/OT gap by connecting to existing assets and uniting fragmented tools and data.
  • Connect the ever-growing list of disparate systems, processes, and domains to provide teams from the shop floor to the top floor with an integrated and holistic view of their operations. 

Digitization at all levels of the manufacturing value chain is critical as manufacturers strive to improve operational performance, reduce costs, better predict production, and ensure the quality of their products remains high. Kinetech worked with a large manufacturer to develop a differentiating solution that bridges the gap between IT / OT and provides the insights necessary to drive improvements in shop-floor productivity. 

The Challenges

At a large manufacturer, shop-floor supervisors struggled to accurately track the activities and performance of their floor operations in real time. The lack of accurate data, and reporting tools, made monitoring performance difficult. The desire to compare performance across various facilities, work centers, and assets at scale made identifying areas for improvement remained out of reach. 

The manufacturer's limited technical capabilities left everyone from the shop floor to the top floor operating in the dark. These limitations led them to seek a custom-developed solution that would enable them to:

  • Increase productivity and output of work centers by limiting asset down and idle time.
  • Compare the performance of work centers across multiple facilities, personnel, and assets on the shop floor. 
  • Custom reporting based on KPIs and metrics designed to highlight trends. 
  • Provide a single integrated solution that supports both mobile and desktop use.
  • Real-time data capture and calculation of results from operations. 
  • Build with scalability and reusability in mind on a cloud-based infrastructure. 
  • Deliver meaningful data that is comparable, actionable, insightful, and that can be exported based on end user needs. 
  • Automate critical notifications and reminders.

The Solution

As a leading Mendix solutions provider, Kinetech was selected to turn their concept into reality. Kinetech’s team of expert engineers developed a custom paperless solution to connect the operations on the shop floor to floor to the top floor. 

The Kinetech solution intersects data inbound from the assets on the shop floor to the activities of the work center operators input via a mobile device. This data is then interpreted and visualized to inform the client what the operator is doing in near real-time. The mobile and web applications provide the following capabilities:

  • Real-time Monitoring: Track and monitor the time operators spend executing activities at each workstation. Monitor downtime, idle time, and other critical tracking categories.
  • Advanced Reporting & Analytics: Visualize operational data and custom KPIs in real-time and over a historical basis. Advanced reporting and data visualization tools enable floor supervisors to quickly interpret and respond to real-time data, and learn from performance at scale.
  • Scalable & Flexible: Scale the solution with an unlimited number of assets and end users on AWS’s infrastructure. Data from various systems is contextualized and generalized to enable comparable KPIs across multiple facilities and other metrics.
  • Unique Insight: Offers intelligent issue and performance diagnostics used to improve operators’ productivity, reduce machine downtime, and pinpoint the causes of subpar performance. 
  • Connected: Capture near real-time data flow from assets—integration with legacy systems such as SAP to create a paperless and unified digital experience.
  • Mobile: Mobile application integrates operations on the shop floor to the top floor. 

The SIGNAL through the noise

Instead of wondering “Why?” actual production results don’t meet expectations management and shop floor supervisors can now pinpoint the cause of lulls in production. With data-driven KPIs informing decision-making, this manufacturer is well-positioned to compete and thrive in the digital age of manufacturing. 

The manufacturer’s solution delivered by the Kinetech team has become an integral component of their digital transformation and shows the power of Mendix low-code with Kinetech.



About Kinetech:

Kinetech is the leading developer of Low-Code, cloud-native, digital experience, automation, and core systems software applications for the financial, industrial, and public sectors. With over 10 years of Mendix implementation experience, the highest concentration of advanced Mendix developers in the United States, and the strongest track record of customer success, you can be confident partnering with us on your most important modernization initiatives. Our composable service offerings are configured and integrated with other web services (APIs), platforms, and enterprise applications.

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