The following steps are designed to help you prepare for your manufacturing system Go Live. Whilst some of the steps may not always apply to your company and there may be other factors unique to your business that aren’t covered here, it’s worth taking the time to make sure you have fully considered all aspects of going live with your manufacturing system as it will require resources and input from many different departments and people. If you’ve prepared well and everyone knows what to expect then you’re more likely to realise the benefits of your new system faster.
At the start of your project, the Statement of Work (SOW) provided by your Seiki project manager will have outlined project-specific activities, deliverables and timelines to help guide you through the implementation process but there are a number of other things you can do internally to help minimise any challenges you may experience along the way. Let’s go through some of them…
Put together your implementation team
It’s important to make sure you’ve lined up your own implementation team. Depending on the size of your company this may be one or two people or several representing different departments. Key roles may include: a system administrator, system champion, IT lead, and key end users (e.g. operators, supervisors) for testing and feedback.
Getting people involved from the outset will help to improve user engagement and buy-in. It will also start to build a positive perception of the planned change to work routines or processes, and demonstrates from the start that you value people’s input. It also starts to instill a sense of personal ownership of the data and processes from the beginning. It’s all about empowering and inspiring your team to embrace the change and actively participate in making the necessary improvements.
Share the implementation plan
You need to make sure everyone knows what is going to happen and when and keep them updated throughout the lifecycle of the project. Consider the best tools and methods to help you do this.
The timeline in the SOW will have identified the key milestones. Working with our implementation team you’ll be able to schedule downtime of resources if we’re connecting machines and any server reboots required, so you can communicate what to expect and what to do during these periods.
Setting a clear expectation of your Go Live date will help maintain the momentum of the project and ensure that anything or anyone else directly impacted by or contributing to the implementation continues to stay aligned to your targets. Any potential delays can be flagged up early if everyone knows when tasks are due to be completed. You may also need to set a cut-off date and time for any existing methods of data entry.
Make the most of the time you have
If you’re running a test system, make sure you’ve built in enough time and user support to get the most out of the opportunity. This time is invaluable for ironing out any issues or defining any new processes that you’ll need to prepare your users for in advance of Go Live.
If we’re conducting User Acceptance Testing (UAT) as part of your project, then we’ll provide you with a list of test cases that need to be successfully completed to help you verify the data before migrating to a live environment.
At this point you should also have tested your backup system and processes, the migration from your test environment and the cutover steps to ensure the deployment to your live production environment will go smoothly.
Prepare your users
All the system users need to have a good working knowledge of the software in advance of Go Live, so they can carry out their expected tasks from the start. You don’t want a queue of people asking how to start a job, set a status or send a program because they haven’t had sufficient training. A confident user and positive initial experience will result in greater effectiveness and engagement with the system.
Our training (like our system) is split by role type, so the content and focus is always contextual – how does it support the job you’ve got to do. We often take a “train the trainer” approach to shopfloor training. This way we support the key users, making sure that they are confident, knowledgeable system “super” users so that they can in turn support their shopfloor teams. It also means that people know who to ask if they experience an issue.
Now you’re ready…
The first thing is to make sure that your live environment is ready. Are all the necessary configurations enabled, and resources, users and logins are all activated?
Do all your users know their logins and the system URL? Have you checked all your PCs or devices have browsers and can access Seiki AIR.
It’s worth confirming that both your own IT Support (in-house or external) and Seiki are aware of the Go Live date and can be on standby. We do offer an optional dedicated Go Live support service from a member of our applications team if you would prefer to have one of our team onsite for your Go Live.
It’s always a process of continuous improvement
In a perfect world you’ll have gone live, everything will be working perfectly and everyone will be happily entering data correctly. But after Go Live you should have a follow up plan in place to check user acceptance – are they finding the system easy to use and has their understanding of the product improved enough to provide constructive feedback. It’s also a good opportunity to identify any gaps or loopholes and identify any further training that may be required.
Again, we do offer an optional follow up mentoring service that can be done onsite or remotely across a maximum of three sessions. We’ll conduct a quick health check of your system, answer any questions you have, if appropriate review your data to check for any anomalies and generally make sure you’re all on track and that your implementation has been a success.