Kraton is a global chemical company that operates out of Oulu, Finland. The production facility in Oulu processes tall oil, which is obtained from wood pulp as a co-product in pulp production. Crude tall oil is used to manufacture rosin ester and tall oil fatty acid.
The production facility works around the clock with work being done in shifts. A traditional challenge in such an environment is how to ensure that information is passed between shifts.
“During a normal shift change, the first shift will share the necessary information with the next shift. But the challenge lies in whether the second shifts remembers to pass this information on to the third shift. Some information was, of course, recorded in spreadsheets, but a lot of information was also exchanged between shift managers,” says Kraton’s production engineer Jukka-Pekka Paakkola.
Kraton needed a tool that would improve information flow and enable information to be centralised in one place to make it more accessible to everyone. The solution was a digital production diary: Digia ProDiary.
ProDiary’s strengths: web-based and easy to use
Digia ProDiary was introduced at the Oulu production facility in summer 2017. Its introduction demanded careful planning that considered what kinds of features were required. ProDiary’s administrator, Paakkola, was closely involved from the outset.
“We wanted to build a tool that would be as functional as possible, so that all the features would be ready to use immediately after deployment,” says Paakkola.
Paakkola says that the deployment itself went very well.
“Whenever a new tool is introduced, it will naturally take time before you fully integrate it into your daily work. However, the deployment went really smoothly. ProDiary has a clear user interface that is very easy to learn. It being web-based is another strength, as we can use it on a variety of devices,” says Paakkola.
Although the exchange of information between shifts was one of the main reasons for introducing ProDiary, Kraton also uses the product for a wide range of other purposes. It’s used to record information relating to production planning and loading, which used to be stored in spreadsheets on network drives. The minutes of morning meetings can also be found in ProDiary.
“This is important from both an efficiency and a safety angle – people don’t need to wonder where to find information, as it’s all consolidated in one place.”
ProDiary is ideal for Kraton’s needs
ProDiary is currently being used by the majority of employees at the Oulu production facility. In addition to production employees, the active user base consists of work supervisors, engineers and maintenance personnel, but all of the facility’s employees can start using ProDiary if they want. Different users also have different requirements and wishes for the tool. One of ProDiary’s advantages is that it’s easy to customise. The majority of development ideas currently come from users.
“A lot has been added to ProDiary along the way and the majority of ideas have come from personnel,” says Paakkola.
“What usually happens is that we identify a new requirement for either the tool or data collection. Then we figure out whether we can solve this problem with the aid of ProDiary. And in many cases it has proved to be a good solution.”
Paakkola says that cooperation with Digia has gone very well.
“We receive prompt replies to our queries and practically all of our suggestions have been possible to implement,” says Paakkola.