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  • Tom McKee

3 Ways Kennametal is Benefiting from Agile Factory Analytics

In Episode 3 of our recent Intelligent Enterprise event series, available for streaming here, I was thrilled to be joined by my former colleague Frank Constantine, who is the Plant Manager of Kennametal’s factory in Orwell, Ohio. Frank gave us a little inside perspective as to how Kennametal is utilizing the power of cloud technologies to shift a competitive manufacturing landscape and digitally transform their business for the future.

​In 2017, Kennametal launched an enterprise manufacturing modernization initiative targeted at improving productivity, efficiency, and quality in their factories. A key component of this program was called Smart Factory focused on integrating the latest automation and digital technologies to create manufacturing centers of excellence. Resulting from this modernization effort, Kennametal has realized significant improvements in the overall equipment availability, faster setup times, and increased throughput. Here are a few examples of the progress and benefits that Frank highlighted during our time together in the Intelligent Enterprise series.

Not Reacting to Every Red Light

Avoiding downtime is critical to all manufacturers and the impact to the bottom line is real. When utilizing modern IoT and Visualization platforms to surface data, factory managers can get more precise insights into equipment performance. However, it may not always be necessary to react immediately to every warning. When machine data is collected and analyzed over time, you get much more accurate knowledge of its operation as opposed to reacting to a single data point. For example, there is normal machine downtime which would be reflected as red at that moment. However, that particular machine may have produced at standard or planned expectations during the shift and the current downtime was anticipated. For Frank, and other factory leaders, this results in better uptime, improved customer service levels, and better overall use of manufacturing resources.

Operator Performance

Before modernization, it was not always easy to know how an operator was performing. It took effort to backcheck through SAP reports, monitor with excel spreadsheets and pivot tables, or track down hand-written information in tablets and logbooks. Now, Kennametal is getting real-time insights into operator performance. They reflect when there are gaps in production, where targets are being missed, or identify required training and certifications updates. These insights provide Frank’s management team with a data-based record and monitoring of operator and process performance even when no one is watching.

Cultural Improvements

There is a level of intimidation when it comes to implementing modern platforms. Every single person’s performance is suddenly very transparent, and people can feel exposed. In Kennametal factories, dashboards are on display and operators take pride in knowing when their strong performance is on display. They also understand that if performance drops off, the real-time visibility ensures that help will soon be on its way. According to Frank, the new levels of visibility and transparency have elevated motivation and collaboration in his factory, with the added benefit that operators take pride in having their individual, cell, and department performance visible for everyone to see.

I invite you to stream the entire Intelligent Enterprise Season 1 by clicking here. We go into much greater detail on this and many other topics, including data-driven field service, digital selling, and agile factory, with special guests from some of the world’s leading manufacturers.

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