Going for Gold on Your Shop Floor

With paperless manufacturing and an effective shop floor solution, finding a competitive edge for your shop floor isn’t as difficult as you might think.

By Kristin McLane, President, and David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

The winter Olympics in Sochi have dominated the news recently, and it’s gotten me thinking – the elite athletes in Sochi have dedicated their life to long hours, sacrifice and competition, and success at this level may be the difference between a microsecond on the clock and a wobble on a single jump.  Competitive edge is won through experience and dedication – the hours of work and endless training sessions shape their body, muscles and mind, developing the memory used to perform.  When the difference between first and second is so small, athletes need to capitalize on every possible advantage.

What can the Olympics teach us about the shop floor?

What can the Olympics teach us about the shop floor?

As I watched the Olympics, I began making connections to the work we do on the shop floor and the razor edge between success and failure.  Your shop floor is dedicated to getting work done on-time, on-budget, and on-plan.  The focus is on excellence.  Success and quality is determined by the narrowest of margins.

So, how does your shop floor stack up?  How do you measure yourself against competitors?  What metric do you use to validate the work you do is the highest standard?  How do you find the competitive edge?

Like athletes, the right equipment can give you an advantage.  While athletes find sponsors who generously donate the latest, most expensive, custom equipment, manufacturers can rarely afford that luxury.  Equipment rarely returns an ROI before the first several years of payments are made, making it impossible to keep up with the rate of change in technology. 

Where else can you turn to ensure success on your job floor?  You can hire the best employees and build a culture that rewards dedication and loyalty, but they can only work so many hours.  Even finding the best employees may be difficult with the manufacturing job skill squeeze. 

Paperless Manufacturing is one invest that benefits all areas of the shop floor.

Paperless Manufacturing is one invest that benefits all areas of the shop floor.

What about investing in one tool that touches on all these areas on your shop floor – a tool that helps your machines, operators, front office and quality control work better, faster and with fewer errors?  MES, or paperless manufacturing, manages information on the shop floor.  How do you get order information (what to make, how many and by when) to operators at the work center, and how effective is the information in improving production?  Paper-based work instructions (or even electronic media through and ERP or MSWord / Excel) limit your shop floor and ruin your competitive edge.  An effective shop floor system ensures synchronized operations, improves quality, reduces production time and eliminates errors.  You shop floor employees and machines work better, faster and with fewer errors.

You’ll find other ways a paperless manufacturing will benefit your business.  For example, a small investment in a paperless manufacturing system that enables shop floor mobility might be just the tool that propels you to an industry-leading position.  In the next few weeks, we’ll talk about mobile manufacturing, changes in the industry that we see, and how you can reach Olympic status in the industry without spending a fortune. 

Our industry is changing, faster than most of us imagine, and now’s the perfect time to build a competitive edge.  Watch here for more information, and let us know what you’d like to talk about! 

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