Connected Machines are Critical, but How About a Connected Workforce?

PACK EXPO East Innovation Stage presentation in Philadelphia promises software to harness the power of your people.

Innovation Stage Logo

There are five dysfunctions for production teams, says Matt Crabtree of Redzone. 

  1. Absence of Trust
  2. Fear of Conflict
  3. Lack of Commitment
  4. Avoidance of Accountability
  5. Inattention to Results

Rather than focusing on connecting machines, Redzone offers a program for small to mid-size food and beverage manufacturers to give a voice to their operators using social media-type engagement like chats.  Basic OEE is the one calculation used, but focus is on cross-functional teams in production, compliance and maintenance  Increased communication leads to problem solving.

We usually pick a major piece of equipment to monitor, says Crabtree, say a filler.   If it’s not running we are not packaging anything.

Technology, data and visibility are all great, says Crabtree, but people are the key.  Everyone wants to reduce cost and increase capacity, especially now to mitigate the growth of the minimum wage.  The problem with a lot of food and beverage companies is they are using “lagging indicators.”  We look at how the line did yesterday to try to make decisions to improve today’s performance.

By using real-time OEE data and tying together the team with chats and informal production floor huddles, a company can often zero in on one issue and get results quickly.  These improvements are recognized and celebrated securing team buy-in.  More formal meetings may be necessary in the future, but often early results come after the 90-day introduction and training period.

In 2013, according to Crabtree, Redzone had 12 customers.  Last year they celebrated customer 555.  The software is especially effective in “unstable” production environments like a start-up where the software introduces discipline to the production team.

“Teamwork is the ultimate connection advantage,” concluded Crabtree. 

While fears of the Corona Virus may have hampered attendance at some events, or cancelled others, PACK EXPO East in Philadelphia on day one saw a packed show floor.  As well as very well-attended Forum and Innovation Stage sessions.

 Redzone is a new sponsor of PMMI’s OpX program, download an OEE calculator here.


“PMMI Media Group editors have purchased carbon credits through to ensure any flights we take to cover events in 2020 are carbon neutral.”

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