Paul Hogendoorn was my guest for the 12th episode of the Business Central Manufacturing Show. Paul is an incurable entrepreneur from Canada and has founded, co-founded, or helped launch numerous ventures over his 30+ year career, including most recently, FreePoint Technologies. FreePoint's unique technology captures and delivers real-time productivity information, connecting plant floor manufacturing processes directly to managers and operators in innovative, practical, and cost-effective ways. I picked up one of his recent likes on LinkedIn and started the conversation with a question on gamification. This let to a vital discussion on why gamification matters for manufacturing companies. (spoiler: among other benefits, it can yield a 25% uptick in productivity for high-mix low-volume manufacturers). The good news is: we didn't stop with the why, but also looked at a hands-on recipe how it can get implemented, and what metrics can help with gamification.
Paul opens the podcast with the strong statement that gamification can help manufacturing companies to solve one of their most imminent problems: attract young people to take over jobs on the shop-floor.
Gamification brings elements to their jobs that they have been enjoying throughout their lives (e.g. while playing video games). With gamification, operators and shop-floor workers get immediate feedback, an immediate sense of accomplishment, and hence - potentially - also immediate rewards.
As such, the two most important aspects of gamification are: on the one hand feedback being meaningful and on the other hand feedback being real-time. An example of meaningful feedback is the number of hours workers achieved a regular rhythm and cadence. Concerning real-time, it is important that this is not meant in the way that operators produce real-time data, but that they receive real-time feedback on their progress.
However, gamification also is about finding the right balance between collaboration and competition. Operators and shop-floor workers should see themselves as part of one team (e.g. shift or cell) with a common goal that they pursue "against" other teams.
As complex as this sounds. Paul also shares a hands-on recipe on how to introduce something like gamification into a manufacturing company. The results of this are striking: steady-state production companies can yield 10%+ productivity gains, whereas the uptick for HMLV (high-mix low-volume) often is more than 25%.
The conversation closes with some thoughts about the role of a modern ERP system such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central in making shop-floor jobs more attractive.
On this episode, you'll learn:
- What gamification is, and why it matters for manufacturing companies.
- That gamification equals making things real in real-time.
- That maintaining a regular rhythm and cadence is the most significant driver of shopfloor productivity.
- To which extent leaderboards and comparisons with other shifts or cells (and their KPIs) can help (and not).
- Why information systems always should be made to help people make the right decisions.
- That giving operators and people on the shop-floor real-time data will help them modify their behavior.
- Actual results that you can achieve with gamification of the shopfloor: steady-state production --> 10% productivity gains; HMLV --> 25% uptick.
- Why "value-adding activity" is a great metric to track.
- The role of an ERP system, and a modern system like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central within the gamification process.
What to listen for:
- [01.47] Why gamification can be an important mechanism to attract young people to shop-floor jobs.
- [03.55] The importance of meaningful feedback for operators, and why this oftentimes misses in today's measurement systems.
- [04.55] An example of a meaningful KPI to help operators with their day-to-day work.
- [06.31] That a great gamification approach combines both competition and collaboration (achieve a common goal with each other against other teams).
- [10.08] The different time horizons that different information systems are made for ... and why a "system" misses "how I am doing now" information that helps shop-floor workers to make the right decisions in real-time.
- [13.36] How you can introduce some kind of gamification through the backdoor, e.g. as part of an IoT project --> very hands-on recipe.
- [15.45] Tangible results from introducing gamification into different types of manufacturing companies.
- [18.06] Differences in technology adoptions in different areas of the world.
- [21:05] That gamification can help to enrich jobs at the shop-floor level (and hence they become attractive to young people again, and do not need to get taken over by robots).