Case Study

Creating a continuous improvement culture

Senior Editor, Automation World
The Rever app applies lean management principles to the way we work, turning operators on the plant floor into knowledge workers who can capture process improvement ideas, experiment with solutions and share the results.

It takes more than OEE metrics and lean manufacturing tools to achieve continuous improvement on the plant floor. It also needs people. And, while we hear about new technologies that will “empower the operators,” it’s never entirely clear how a new app or gadget will engage individuals or entire teams.

If someone on the manufacturing line has an idea of how to improve a process, they’ll tell a supervisor about it and hope it was heard, understood and shared with the management team who could decide to make the change. Unfortunately, managers might be overwhelmed with other projects and put the suggestion on the backburner, to potentially be lost. If only there were a more efficient way to capture and track the ideas percolating up from the plant floor. And now there is.

Rever, a start-up founded in 2015, leverages the principles of lean management—maximizing value by minimizing waste—and applies it to the human process. The purpose is to apply project management to knowledge workers thereby creating a continuous improvement culture. Specifically, it’s smartphone Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) app (of the same name) is designed for frontline workers on the manufacturing floor, enabling them to capture and document an idea, experiment and implement a solution and measure the results.

When an employee submits an idea, the Rever engine, using machine learning, applies statistical formulas to analyze similarities among previously submitted ideas at the company, and presents similar solutions. By automatically recommending and sharing ideas, innovation and benefits are accelerated, the company said.

For example: An operator recognizes something as simple as a hose on a piece of equipment that is too long and causing people to trip, which is a safety hazard. The app allows the person to take a picture of the issue, write in the problem, the proposed remedy and the expected results. Individuals are assigned to the responsibility of testing and implementing their ideas. Rever then automatically alerts managers when ideas are completed and the performance impact.

Rever publishes digital and print summaries of each implemented idea into reports for managers to share successes across the company and recognize employees. The app also provides managers and executives with monthly reports that show macro trends, tendencies and comparability of ideas across the organization.

“Success in the age of Industry 4.0 will be determined not just by the power of machine automation, but also by applying collective employee intelligence and innovation for exponential impact,” said Errette Dunn, co-founder and CEO of Rever.

Available in multiple languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese and French, the Rever mobile app provides short tutorials so frontline employees can put their ideas into effect quickly. And, the latest version of Rever, unveiled in June, brings that same simplicity and training to managers and coaches with a collection of videos that help leaders at every level of an organization spread those ideas that can be turned into sustainable innovations.

When an employee submits an idea, the Rever engine, using machine learning, applies statistical formulas to analyze similarities among previously submitted ideas at the company, and presents similar solutions. 

Maybe it sounds simple. But it works. According to Rever, major industrial companies such as Mitsubishi, Grupo Bimbo, Mars and Philip Morris International currently use the Rever technology. And, more than 10,000 employees using Rever have submitted over 10,000 ideas for improvements that are driving an estimated $40 million in savings collectively.

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