Make Your Shop Floor Data Work for You

Smart businesses have discovered data is a valuable asset, but struggle to deliver shop floor visibility, letting manufacturing data slip away.

 By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

Don't let shop floor data, one of your most valuable commodities, slip away.  Illustration by www.colourbox.com

Don’t let shop floor data, one of your most valuable commodities, slip away. Illustration by http://www.colourbox.com

Last week I went to the grocery store and bought dog food and lunchmeat.  The next day I received e-coupons for new dog food brands, sandwich bread, and condiments.  You know what… I ended up buying that sandwich bread.  It looked good, the coupon had value, and the bread was healthier than what I had.  The grocery store turned my shopping data into another sale.

The fact is – data is a valuable asset!  Businesses realize this, and are putting in place new systems to capture, store and use data.  Amazon.com is a MASTER of using data to tailor the online shopping experience.  Using data (the user’s online searches, previous purchases, and online habits), Amazon can customize the shopping experience for each user, and that drives sales and profit for Amazon.  None of that would be possible without quality data.

Even with the obvious benefits of business data, many manufacturers haven’t made an effort to capture shop floor manufacturing data.  They build a robust CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system or put in an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), but haven’t implemented the shop floor visibility offered by an MES (Manufacturing Execution System) or Paperless Manufacturing.  They still see manufacturing as a place where orders go in and products come out.  Manufacturing data is valuable in a number of areas, such as:

  • Process Improvement.  Quality data collection is necessary for shop floor process improvement plans such as Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma.  Quality data will allow the shop floor to make the smart process adjustments necessary for improvement.  As for benefit, manufacturers with real time quality data have shown a reduction in cycle time of 60% or more, and a reduction in rework as much as 90%.
  • Accurate Estimates and better sales.   Without accurate production data – understanding who did what and for how long – it is difficult to build an accurate estimate for sales.  How can you accurately price a product for a customer if you don’t have visibility into your shop floor processes?
  • Successful regulatory audits.  Audits are a way of life in regulated industries.  Many manufacturers spend time and energy responding to audits, when successful data collection and storage would ease audit preparation and provide many of the records needed during an audit.
  • Customer responsiveness.  Customers have come to expect instant customer service.  They want access to their data, and they want a vendor to be responsive.  Access to quality data helps build a relationship with your customers and shows responsiveness.

61% of businesses in a recent Forbes survey reported, “… suffering from flawed information.”  Are you suffering from flawed data?  Do you have complete visibility of your manufacturing processes?  Manufacturing is the heart of your business, and manufacturing data is one of the most important assets you own.  Make sure you’re not letting the data slip away with an inefficient shop floor system.

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