Monitor & Report Automatic Production Line Data Collection & Reporting

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Packaged goods manufacturers have taught us three very important things:

  1. Nothing is more expensive than downtime.
  2. Nothing is more valuable than reducing it.
  3. Opinions, conventional wisdom and never-ending debates about what is really causing downtime rarely lead to eliminating it.

What does help eliminate downtime are facts, data, and objective determinations of what is going on with a production line.

ZPI Monitor & Report provides real-time 24/7/365 visibility into the performance of every machine in a production line.

It does this by capturing, aggregating and storing every signal from every piece of equipment in a production line, from inbound raw material handling to palletized finished product. If something happens on a machine anywhere in a production line, Monitor & Report captures it and customers can analyze it.

Monitor & Report provides real-time, fact-based alerts and insights into critical production line questions:

  • What happened?
  • Where in the line did it happen?
  • When did it happen?
  • How long was the machine or line down?
  • Why was the machine or line down?

Monitor & Report empowers manufacturers to quickly identify and troubleshoot production problems and it provides fact-based analytic support for a wide range of continuous improvement initiatives including Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

It is used around the world by customers of all sizes from a wide range of industries including ready-to-drink beverages, beer, distilled spirits, baked snacks, frozen pizza, candy, ground coffee, canned meats, nutritional products, yogurt, automotive lubricants, automotive fluids, paint and pharmaceutical products.

For more information about Monitor & Report please e-mail us at

Features & Benefits
  • Return On Investment (ROI) Measured In Weeks Or Even DaysLost productivity is so costly that even eliminating a few hours of downtime a week can pay for a Monitor & Report installation
  • 100% Turnkey Installations & Implementations By ZPI PersonnelEntire installation and start-up process 100% completed by ZPI personnel which means no distractions for customer personnel
  • Zero Downtime InstallationNormal production schedules are maintained; eliminates need to schedule downtime for system installation
  • 100% Software Solution: No proprietary Hardware And No Machine PLC Programming Changes RequiredNo new or specialized equipment required and no machine programming changes reduce implementation expense and headaches
  • Unlimited System Users, Unlimited System Access, Unlimited Reporting and Unlimited Report FormatsProvides cost effective system access with no upcharges for additional users, additional capabilities, or remote users
  • Supports A Variety Of Continuous Improvement InitiativesKey Performance Indicators (KPI), Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), Six Sigma
  • Real-time “Machine-down” or "Line-down” AlertsHelps accelerate troubleshooting and implementation of corrective actions
  • Real-time “Plan Versus Actual" Progress ReportingHelps shift managers or line leads stay on-top of achieving daily production targets
  • Comprehensive, Real Time Line Monitoring & Data CaptureEvery signal from every piece of equipment in a production line is captured during line operation
  • Intuitive User InterfaceSupports access and use by every functional area in the business including operations, maintenance, production planning, finance and HR
  • Instant Access To Both Real Time & Historical Production Line Performance DataSupports trend analyses, year over year, shift vs shift, month vs month comparisons, or quick summaries of what happened in the last hour. With a comprehensive historical database updated in real time, the system enables every type of analysis imaginable
  • Unlimited Analytic Reporting Tools With Both Standard & Custom Report FormatsFlexible reporting options assures every user can have reports containing exactly the information they need in exactly the format they want
  • Monitor & Report software lives on a customer's local area network.Eliminates IT security concerns with remotely hosted software.

Here are a couple of real world examples of how Monitor & Report helped identify the root causes of costly downtime which helped customers eliminate it.

Ground Coffee

ZPI Ground Coffee
Ground Coffee

A prospective customer producing ground coffee approached ZPI because of nagging, unresolved downtime issues that lead to overall line operating efficiencies under 50%.

Their situation was all too common:

  • The customer's current downtime tracking system was not capable of monitoring individual line components, only overall throughput.
  • The production department consistently blamed the processing department for the downtime, but they lacked any hard evidence to support their claim.
  • The processing department responded by blaming the production department for the downtime, but they also lacked any hard evidence to support their claim.
  • The frustration generated by this blame game launched the plant manager on a mission to find a solution.
After seeing a complete demonstration of ZPI's Monitor & Report System the plant became a customer. Monitor & Report was installed and within a few weeks the system identified that over 75% of their roasters were routinely blocked from delivering product to the production department. An in-depth analysis of the collected data revealed that a combination of equipment issues, changeover issues and scheduling issues were responsible for the blocked conditions.

Using Monitor & Report generated data, the Continuous Improvement Manager successfully implemented process changes that increased overall efficiency by over 20% and significantly increased total plant output.

The net result within four months was an increase of 100,000 cases per month with zero $ capital investment.

The added production output five months after months installing Monitor & Report more than covered the cost of their investment in the system.

Baked Savory Snacks

ZPI Crackers
Baked Savory Snacks

A prospective customer producing baked savory snacks approached ZPI because of chronic product quality issues and high product scrap costs.

Their production process relied on older, but dependable manually controlled ovens.

In day to day operations they routinely had to scrap significant amounts of product because the products were either too brittle due higher than specified bake temperatures or too sticky because of lower than specified bake temperatures.

It was clear that oven temperatures were drifting in and out of specification but the root causes were unknown. Equipment related issues were suspected because oven zone and temperature specifications were completely documented and communicated to all operations personnel.

Monitor & Report was installed on the line to enable data capture from every component in the baking and downstream packaging processes.

Within a few weeks the data revealed that operators were responsible for the temperature changes and that temperature setting changes were highly correlated with shift changes. Further investigation revealed that a two long-tenured operators that "knew how to run the line" were the actual root cause of all the problems.

Corrective actions were implemented including:

  • ZPI Monitor & Report personnel added "out of temperature range" alerts to the system. When Monitor & Report detected out of specification conditions line supervisors and plant managers were alerted via visual and audible alarms as well as automatically generated text messages.
  • Manual, unsecured temperature controls were removed and replaced by a secure, password protected, PLC managed system.

The net result within three months was a decrease in scrapped product of $2,500 per week.

The accumulated value of these scrap reductions more than covered the cost of their investment in Monitor & Report in less than twelve months.

For more information about Monitor & Report please e-mail us at

Not-From-Concentrate Orange Juice

A not-from-concentrate juice manufacturer operated for a number of years without a packaging line data collection and reporting system.

Orange Juice

They were experiencing excessive downtime on a line and lacking hard data they were never able to pinpoint the root causes.

The conventional wisdom was that the filler was their # 1 problem but there was no data to back-up this conclusion.

The manufacturer purchased and implemented Monitor & Report and within a month they were able to determine that the filler stopped filling approximately 700 times per month.

These stoppages explained why the conventional wisdom pointed the finger at the filler.

What Monitor & Report revealed was these stoppages were primarily related to the filler being blocked by downstream equipment.

Monitor & Report also revealed that actual downtime related to blockages were responsible for over 66% or all downtime related to filler stoppages. Actual downtime directly caused by the filler was only responsible for a third of total downtime.

The customer implemented corrective actions on several downstream line components and accelerated planned maintenance on the filler. Together these corrective actions reduced monthly stoppages from over 700 to less than 100 which increase weekly line production by over 350,000 containers per week.

In less than six months, the reduction in line downtime and the increased line productivity more than paid for the customer's investment in Monitor & Report.

Carbonated Soft Drinks

A global carbonated beverage manufacturer used Monitor & Report in a number of their bottling and canning plants but other facilities operated with different data collection systems, including manual collection and reporting processes.

Carbonated Soft Drinks
Carbonated Soft Drinks

Regardless of the data collection method used, every facility was required to routinely collect, compile and submit their production data and Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to a centralized system.

The lack of a common data collection system and the lack of a common reporting template made data roll-ups and data aggregation a time consuming exercise at the regional or corporate level.

It was widely known that plants running Monitor & Report were able to collect required data and then calculate and report their the key KPI’s more accurately and more quickly than sites using other methods. The production data and KPIs provided by Monitor & Report users were also easier to aggregate because of consistent, common formats.

The customer approached ZPI about the possibility of a global implementation of Monitor & Report across all bottling plants that also included completely automated plant level reporting, automatic data roll-ups to the corporate level, and flexible corporate reporting capabilities.

A customer + ZPI team was formed, requirements were developed, and ZPI then developed a Monitor & Report based system that would automatically push Monitor & Report collected data and reports to a global central database.

The system was initially implemented in two sites to demonstrate its functionality, performance and to evaluate its impact.

The plant level impact was observed immediately as evidenced by a one hour reduction per shift in supervisor and operator labor previously dedicated to manual processes. Line leads and plant managers had no difficulty identifying more productive uses for this freed-up labor.

A second plant level impact was the reduction in the time it took managers to compile and calculate required KPIs and then format them into their report. This time savings cascaded upwards all the way to the corporate database and reporting system as it automated the data aggregation and reporting processes.

Overall, hundreds of valuable labor hours per month could be redeployed to other value creating tasks.

Based on overall time savings and improved reporting consistency and accuracy, the new system was accepted and the result is an ongoing global roll-out of Monitor & Report across their bottling network.

For more information about Monitor & Report please e-mail us at

Ready-To-Drink Nutritional Beverage Processing

A current ZPI customer running Monitor & Report on several packaging lines wanted to implement the system for their upstream product processing operations.

Nutritional Beverages
Nutritional Beverages

The customer's objectives were:

  • Objectively track and measure the efficiency and consistency of their product batching and sterilization processes
  • Increase real time visibility into the operation and status of critical processing equipment
  • Reduce time and effort required to troubleshoot the root causes of longer than planned batch or product changeovers

The customer's product processing operations included equipment for raw material product loading, product blending, agitating, heat processing and then discharging finished product to the filling line.

A machine state scheme was developed and mapped for each piece of processing equipment along with the logic for reading PLC signals. Current operating state logic for each piece of equipment was then matched with the line control PLC managing that asset.

After profiling and installing Monitor & Report, the customer collected and analyzed product processing data for three months.

One of the immediate benefits of the Monitor & Report system was one stop visibility into the entire processing operation. Prior to installing Monitor & Report, the status of each machine was only available through the HMI of that machine. This big-picture, real-time visibility helped improve day-to-day and even shift-to-shift operations.

Their analysis of the first three months of collected data revealed:

  • Batch cycle times varied from production run to production run, and from shift to shift.
  • Batches with longer cycle times experienced "stuck states" that required required operator intervention to resolve.
  • During production startup, available labor hours were wasted while the production crew sat idle waiting for laboratory results to confirm the start production.

Using Monitor & Report to analyze the collected data the customer was able to identify the root causes of batch cycle time variations and the root causes of machine "stuck states". It also helped the customer identify productive uses for available but idle labor during waiting time for lab results.

Based on their deeper understanding of "stuck states" the customer developed corrective action protocols for addressing each stuck state, and they implemented a real-time process monitoring alert system that immediately informed plant personnel that a "stuck state" had started.

The customer also implemented other corrective actions which included workflow changes and the development of benchmark process efficiency metrics and standards for use in other plants producing the same products.

By rearranging their upstream procedures flow using data from Monitor & Report, the customer was able to achieve a 20% reduction in changeover time which improved overall productivity and a reduction in crew size which reduced operating costs, particularly for second and third shift operations.

Based on the success of the first installation, this customer added Monitor & Report to their upstream processing operations in other plants around the world.

For more information about Monitor & Report please e-mail us at

Automotive Lubricants

A global manufacturer of bottled automotive lubricants installed Monitor & Report on a packaging line with well maintained, but very old packaging equipment.

Automotive Lubricants

The line was not capable of running at steady-state speeds and the speed-up slow-down and stop-start-stop-start production process was negatively impacting the line's output.

The consensus perception at the plant was that the filler was simply not capable of running at rated speeds. Prior to using Monitor & Report, the plant was able to document that the filler was in-fact starving downstream equipment creating downtime that cascaded down the line.

What was unknown was why the filler was underperforming.

After collecting data for a month using ZPI’s Monitor & Report system the customer came to some unique findings.

They were able to determine that the filler was set to run multiple products at specific speeds regardless of product viscosity.

They were able to quantify the filling speed impact that higher viscosity products had on the filler. Since higher viscosity products cannot be filled as quickly as lower viscosity products, they were able to determine that there were no inherent problems with the filler.

The customer implemented corrective actions that included balancing target line speeds based on the fill volume and viscosity of every product produced on the line. These corrective actions included target speed adjustments for the filler, the conveyor, the conveyor control system and all downstream equipment.

Using Monitor & Report's real time alert capabilities, the customer also implemented a system that alerted operations when actual production rates for a particular product fell below target levels.

The net impact of the corrective actions was an 8% increase in production efficiency, from 63% up to 71%, in only three months.

For more information about Monitor & Report please e-mail us at