Digital signage for a manufacturing facility offers savings in terms of time and money, and also in making the entire system more efficient. This guide will give you a complete understanding on how you should plan you strategies, choose a suitable system and focus on data-driven communication for your manufacturing facility.
Your objectives should be laid out in a clear, logical and consistent manner. These objectives will lead you to determine a roadmap for implementing an LED sign system at your factory outlet. When defining objectives, consider needs of the people involved, keep in mind the organization goals, the infrastructure and the budget.
While your IT department may come up with an amazing system, they are not the ones who will be using it. Take input from the following personnel:
- Human Resources
- Web Staff
- Department heads
- Facility managers
- Security team
- Purchasing agents
By empowering everyone to be a part of the decision making, they all feel like they have a sense of ownership in the new system. This will guarantee that people will use your digital signage system to its maximum potential.
Outline your goals down to the very last detail in order to clarify workflows, implement and use the system. These goals will also help in measuring ROI once the system is implemented.
- How will your digital signage system be used by people in your facility?
- What would they want out of the system?
- How will the system operate within your facility?
- What kind of content will you display? Static images or moving ones? Will you have audio, video and news feeds? Will the content match the color scheme of your décor?
- Who will create and approve the content?
- What are those approval policies?
- Who will maintain the hardware?
- Who will maintain the software?
- Where will you place the LED displays? Higher traffic areas will get more views. Don’t place them too high, making it difficult for viewers to see and interact with them.
- Consider technical issues such as connectivity, bandwidth, network security, etc
- Revenue sources: safety grants, outsourced services, advertising revenue from local businesses
- In terms of content creation, will you be using paid data subscriptions?
- What will be the plan for crisis communication?
- How do you hope to expand the system in future?
The more you can cover in your objectives, the fewer unexpected situations you will be faced with.
In addition to the initial investment, consider the foreseeable future – about 18 to 24 months. Also consider costs for
- future upgrading of hardware and software
- expanding the existing system
- training users
- content designers
- technical support
Don’t go for a locked digital signage system as this will only cost you more when you need to grow bigger or upgrade. A well thought out system that can grow is much better than a collection of smaller systems that have to be linked together.
Choosing your system
When selecting your LED signage system, pay more attention on the front end in order to avoid headaches later. Make sure you have done plenty of research to know what your options are before you invest.
Software First, Hardware Second.
That is the general rule of thumb, which is why you shouldn’t be tempted on going for that LED display discount on bulk purchasing. First know how you will manage your content because that is what people will be interacting with. Hence the hardware should support the software; not the other way around.
If you build a system that will be run by one person on one computer, the flexibility and expansion options will be limited. More people can participate if a cloud based or license agreement system is used and thereby more variety will be presented in terms of content created. The more the people involved, the better will be the long term success of your LED sign campaign.
- User friendliness
- Simplicity in terms of importing information
- High quality content creation tools
- Facilities for day-part scheduling and automatic messaging
- Easy data integration tools for updating content
- Alert notification capabilities
- Should meet hierarchy and technical requirements already worked out in your plan
Consider the reputation of the software vendor and whether or not they understand the requirements for digital signage for a manufacturing facility? Are their references credible and do they offer efficient ongoing support and services?
While cheap hardware may show initial cost savings, in the long run the costs may be more. Your software provider should either supply you with industry-standard hardware or give you the proper hardware specifications.
The value of hardware keeps depreciating every year, operating systems keep changing, interfaces evolve and physical components can fail. Accordingly, your hardware should be flexible and adaptable to these changes so that you can use them long enough without having to budget in replacement costs for your equipment.
Your content should be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This will affect the wording and typography used and also the placement of LED displays within our manufacturing facility.
Once your system is ready to use, run a pilot program in an isolated environment before launching it. By doing so, you can evaluate your hardware, software, processes and workflows. You can test different content layouts and templates and get yourself well prepared for the actual launch. A pilot launch should last for about 60-90 days during which you should get feedback from all stakeholders and make necessary adjustments with your digital signage vendor.
Focus on Data-Driven Communications
A manufacturing firm is data driven; hence employees are always keen on knowing what is happening around the facility and what they are expected to do. Digital signage software can be integrated with existing applications such as spreadsheets and databases so it is very simple to inform everyone of what’s going on
Progress Makes Perfect
Employees should be clearly informed regarding the targets that they have to reach. With daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals, employees know where they stand in terms of KPIs and are motivated to exceed those goals. Furthermore, friendly competitions in between departments can be held with tangible rewards for the winners. In your manufacturing facility, goals could be anything such as:
- Minimum down time
- Number of days without accidents
- Production counts
- Bottleneck alerts
- Inventory management
- Performance statistics
- Process queuing
- Production schedules
- Quality statistics
- Progress reports
- Quota tracking
- Financial goals
When these goals are displayed on LED screens in factory working areas, break rooms, cafeterias and other high traffic places, you can be assured that maximum number of people will see them.
HR Announcements across the company
Because LED screen are placed everywhere that workers are around, the employees will see the message much sooner than an email or flyer being passed around. Therefore it is advisable to use LED signs for company announcements, recognizing individuals, team building activities, training programs, safety information, and other relevant messages.
Many manufacturing firms have visitors coming to their workshops. Display current news and information in your lobby to make it look fresh and modern. Share some of the internal LED display information to visitors as well so they have a perception that you are honest and on track.
In this situation you can also consider integrating way-finding into your LED signs so visitors can interact with the screens which will help them find their way around the facility. With advanced technology such as beacons, you can turn someone’s mobile into a digital sign and direct them all the way until they’ve reached the intended location.
While digital signage in your manufacturing facility can be used for reminding employees of safety rules and procedures, it can also be a part of your emergency alert system. Clear instructions can be given to staff and visitors regarding evacuation procedures and meeting points. Just one command is required to change the content on every LED screen in the network and warn everyone of the emergency. Because LED displays are placed in highly visible areas of an organization, triggering an alert system within your content management software is very much sensible.
In fact safety is one crucial way for manufacturers to observe the true ROI of a digital signage system. With a safer work environment, long term savings are seen. If the average cost of an injured worker is $78,000 for example, lesser injuries mean lesser money spent and more productive workers.
Digital screens are now pretty much everywhere. Every person has access to either a mobile device, reads news on the web or is a part of a social networking platform. This trend can be enhanced by supporting it with a digital signage system. Your physical environment can be transformed into an information rich space for the factory workspace and the back office. By giving more information to people and delegating work, other resources are freed up, employees are empowered to participate and your audience is engaged throughout your workplace to build a friendly community. By adapting to digital signage, manufacturers today can solve many of their workplace issues. Communications can be improved, processes can be streamlined, employee engagement and morale can be increased, accidents can be reduced and there will be an overall savings of time and money within your facility.