Operator Systems | Needle in a haystack…
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Needle in a haystack…

I just had read an article about an artist who was searching for a needle in a haystack! It was an old article from the Daily Mail, but somehow I came upon it today. The author of the article explains:

It’s an age-old idiom, but a New York-based Italian artist wants to know the truth – what is it like to actually find a needle in a haystack? And is it even possible? Sven Sachsalber spent 48 hours sifting through a giant pile of hay dumped in at the Palais de Tokyo gallery in Paris.” Read more

I rarely understand modern art, it doesn’t move me at all and – what is most important – it doesn’t force me to think. But this time it was different…

What if we understand this proverbial hay as information and the needle as something which matters?

Nowadays, we are surrounded by information – Facebook, Google+, newsletters, mails, SMS, radio and television and many others – everything trying to get our attention. Every second we receive a lot of data which we need to process to find what’s important for us. In mobile devices and IOT (Internet Of Things) everyone or even everything communicates with everyone.

Hopefully with the growing amount of information, come some tools to filter it, which help us to receive only the data that concerns us and which may be useful to us.

Why I am writing about this here, on a manufacturing blog?

Because production managers deal with the same problem, even more so; they need to handle a constant information flow and their job is to react and make decisions based on this on this data flood.

As we all know, on most production sites efficiency is crucial. If anything does not go as expected, it is important that the right action is taken as soon as possible. But still a lot of managers complain about a lack of information. They request the development new ways of gathering more data.

Sometimes when we start to investigate the problem and try to get to what is really the issue, we find out that the information is right there, but to find it the manager needs to do 48h searches… like Mr. Sachsalber! In most cases the solution for the pain is not to develop new information, just to develop a way to find it more easily.

Of course there are many solutions to do that, many times when we describe the problem I hear, that they just need to make small report or even use an excel sheet which they can check from time to time and everything will be fine… but it is not the solution at all. After two weeks a manager will forget about this excel or will have two more reports to check and will never look at that problem anymore.

The right solution is to automatically inform the relevant Operators or Managers about events which require attention. No time is wasted searching for issues through a lot of data; the system will immediately flag up any unexpected or “out of boundary” events.

We need to focus our attention not on “searching for the needle”, but finding a way for the needle to show itself when we need it, or receive the useful information when it is created.

Tommy V. Larsen

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