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How does the product traceability support your workers?

Updated: Feb 20

February 2023 is the first month of the SISTERS project we will develop with #shop4cf. The acronym SISTERS stands from Single product Instance Shopfloor Traceability for Employee Reassurance and Support. How wellbeing of shopfloor workers can be improved by introducing a solution enabling full products traceability?

Our consortium partner in the SISTERS project is MJ Polymers, a Polish manufacturer of plastic molding products. The problem they face in everyday operations, are typical for any manufacturing SMEs in their domain:

- low overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) – related to scheduling based on assumptions and inaccurate information on task execution times,

- inefficient use of raw materials and too much waste – linked to often avoidable mistakes and lack of information on both available and used resources,

- dire need for skilled workforce – caused by reluctancy of people to work in a stressful and low-tech environments.

In small companies, such as MJ Polymers, employees often need to perform multiple tasks depending on the current situation on the shopfloor and are assigned to different workstations to work on different orders, batches or even individual items. Moreover, in many places, the information about the work orders is usually transferred on a piece of paper – which is easy to lose and prone to misinterpretation. Such an approach creates a severe stress to the workers who are subject to uncertainty of their assignments, ungrounded performance requirements and constant risk of losing the information needed to finish their job. On top of that, it also undermines the economic performance of the company’s operations.

In SISTERS we would like to solve these problems by:

- Providing full, single-instance traceability of production from the product perspective,

- Updating and including information on the actual time needed to perform production tasks in production planning and scheduling while preserving employees’ privacy and comfort,

- Providing employees with targeted instructions on the next production steps based on the combination of the worker, product instance and workstation,

- Supporting workers in reporting with the use of (semi-) automatic tools.

We will develop two components. The first one will implement a product passport concept to ensure traceability of the complete journey of product instances (either on the level of complete orders, batches or individual items) from inputting the order to shipping it to the customer. The second one will allow a bi-directional human-machine communication on the shopfloor to both update the data in the system and feed the information to the employees. The components will base on our solutions developed within the earlier projects performed with the SHOP4CF and will be integrated with the SHOP4CF logical and communication architecture.

The project will last 8 months so stay tuned for the news feed on this which will be appearing here.

The SISTERS project has received funding within the FSTP mechanism of the SHOP4CF project founded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 873087.

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