Assisting Employee Performance With Human Machine Interaction

Talent shortages continue around several industries, including manufacturing. Among other challenges, keeping your employees engaged and productive is key to operational success. So why not utilize technology to help make human jobs easier while also cutting waste?
If this sounds appealing, your business should take advantage of Industry 4.0 through Enhanced Operations Management, Human Machine Interaction, Digital Process Control and Advanced Manufacturing Technologies. Learn more about achieving Enhanced Operations Management here.
Human Machine Interaction (HMI) is the face-to-face communication or interaction between a human and a machine. By interacting with the machine, we can collect data to assist our teams in their job performance by eliminating waste. These technologies that can support your workers include:
  • Autonomous robots
  • System integration
  • Augmented & virtual reality
  • Cybersecurity
In addition, using the ISA-95 Technology Adoption Model, HMI comes into play in Manufacturing Control where team members are responsible for monitoring, supervisory control and automated control of the production process.
When collecting data on different areas of job performance, we still only know so much. To learn from it, we need to figure out where any variations in processes are happening. What do you do when your data shows you are deviating from the expected outcome?
Any deviation from the expected outcome of a process is the result of a variation within that process. We need to eliminate the variations to eliminate waste and errors. There are two types of variations that can occur: common cause variation and special cause variation. To determine the appropriate action, you must ask, “Is the process stable?” If the answer is yes, it is a common cause. If the answer is no, it is a special cause.
Special cause variations require you to respond to the individual data points, determine the cause and then take the corrective action. Common cause variations can lead to two outcomes. If the requirements are met, nothing needs to be done. If they aren’t met, you need to use all the data to understand the cause and make any needed fundamental process changes.
There are several sources of variation that could result in deviation, including:
  • Poor design
  • Changing needs
  • Measurement system
  • Insufficient process capability
  • Skills and behaviors
As a result, learning from data and utilizing these technologies will support your workers and help eliminate sources of waste to increase employee engagement, productivity, quality and cost savings.
Learn more about the benefits and applications of HMI in The Center’s half-day Human Machine Interaction course. Class topics include the components of Industry 4.0 and insight on how to get started. Reserve your spot in an upcoming class here and learn about The Center’s additional Industry 4.0 training offers here.
Make sure your company is proactively preparing for a more advanced future. The Center is here to help by providing free Technology Opportunity Assessments. Using our Technology Opportunity Assessment, our experts work with you in a hands-on, personalized capacity to enable your company to identify technologies that will provide maximum improvements and return on investment (ROI). Schedule yours today by calling 888.414.6682 or for more information, fill out the online form here.
MEET OUR EXPERT: Chuck Werner, Manager Operational Excellence/Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
Chuck-Web.jpgChuck has been a member of the team at The Center since 2016. His areas of expertise include Lean, Six Sigma and Quality. Chuck has devoted many years to practicing Six Sigma methods, ultimately earning a Six Sigma Master Black Belt in 2011. He is passionate about helping small and medium-sized manufacturers become more prosperous using a variety of tools and methods gathered from over 27 years of experience in manufacturing.
Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at

Categories: Industry 4.0, Innovation, Smart Manufacturing, Technology