The importance of software to industrial business operations cannot be overstated as requirements from business partners, customers, and regulatory agencies increasingly demand access to data in all steps of production operations. Of course, it’s not just outside agencies that need this data. It’s also needed internally to improve processes and reduce downtime.
And though software to address these requirements has long existed, it’s often been complex to interact with and/or rigid in its formatting requirements, as well as typically being focused on one or a few specific aspects of operations.
Seeking to overcome these limitations is SafetyChain with its software-as-a-service plant management platform designed to integrate data from suppliers, streamline receiving and processing operations, provide OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) and SPC (statistical process control) insights, and address shipping and compliance functions. The software can be used at single or multi-plant operations and is licensed by facility rather than per user.
Specific modules included in the software suite include quality management, environmental health and safety, supplier management (to help businesses understand how well their suppliers are performing), OEE, SPC, and maintenance.
At PACK EXPO East 2022, Kevin M. Lee, director of solutions engineering at SafetyChain, explained how the software’s multiple components capture raw data to deliver actionable insights for both plant floor workers and executives, whether they're at a workstation or using a mobile device. He described the platform as having three pillars:
- Capture data—raw data is collected from field level devices such as sensors, PLCs, and gateways up to ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems using REST APIs (application programming interfaces).
- Visualize data on mobile devices, workstations, or plant-wide dashboards.
- Make data actionable for applications such as root cause analysis, Six Sigma, and complaint management.
Discussing the software’s ease of adaptability, Lee said, “SafetyChain is a forms-based system that can be adapted to your operations. Essentially, it’s user-defined continuous improvement software that allows users to create fields in the software as needed. For example, early in the COVID-19 pandemic, processing plants were required to provide information on how many fans existed in each plant. Users of our software were able to create a task for plant managers to input that data into a newly created form, allowing the company to quickly collect the data they needed to comply.”
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Beyond the ability to add fields and/or forms as needed for compliance, the platform also contains industry audit capabilities to map data from device and system inputs to audits for regulatory agency access.
Lee noted that the software is typically implemented in sprints so that users can see value within 30 days.
SafetyChain customers include Perdue, Tyson, Blue Buffalo, Trident Seafoods, Fresh Express, and Kroger.
The video below features Lee walking us through the SafetyChain software at PACK EXPO East 2022.