Things always seem to come in bunches when you’re studying something. I just finished writing an article for Automation World about where the worlds of automation and Lean come together–mostly around information. Then I used some of the time the kids took naps to proof a couple of white papers for MESA International (I’m on the technical committee).
Julie Fraser, an analyst working with MESA, has done some outstanding work looking at manufacturing companies over the past few years. You must become a premium member to see the entire reports. I’ll give you a sampler, though. In sum, companies that have a regular discipline about collecting and using information tend to perform better as companies than to those who don’t.
My research into Lean practices often revealed companies who have constructed creative ways to automatically compile and display information have had more successful Lean events and success than those who try Lean and fail to use data (of course, a necessity for an adequate Lean implementation).
Some data collection can just come from the automation system into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or a standard data historian. Others use a more sophisticated MES/MOM application. Either works depending upon your particular needs.
You might just check out all the benefits of becoming a MESA member and learn how to improve your processes with information.