A company relying on paper-based data collection isn’t giving their shop floor the tools they need to compete in the modern manufacturing market.
By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software
Consider this – operating a manufacturing company with paper-based build books and data collection is like trying to drive a car by looking backward, in the rear view mirror, instead of forwards.
The Problems with Paper
We look forward, and not back when we drive because it lets us react to changing conditions on the road. Looking backward will cause wrong turns and problems. You’ll hit a few things, get confused, end up driving much slower to avoid critical mistakes, and won’t see disaster until it happens. Along the way, you’ll miss opportunities and introduce more problems. You’ll reach your destination, but it won’t be the most relaxing or efficient journey …
… which actually does sound a lot like a shop floor still using paper. If you aren’t collecting real-time shop floor data:
- You are always operating off dated information. Sure, in an emergency someone can run to the shop floor and answer a question, but how much disruption is that answer causing?
- You create a vicious production cycle based on reacting to past production data. You get data weeks after a production cycle and plan a response. Then you wait for more data to see if the response brought improvement so you can plan another response and then wait again…
- Simply gathering data is often more work than a benefit because the process can’t be automated. Since the data is historical and less valuable, some companies never bother to collect data, so the shop floor accepts problems and inefficiencies.
The Benefits of Real-Time Data Collection
Errors, quality escapes, avoidable problems and production missteps are all common for a manufacturer still using paper and relying on outdated data to manage production. Once a company begins using real-time production data, benefits quickly accumulate, including:
- Improve quality by identifying potential errors early, before they become more serious (and costly) problems;
- Increase customer responsiveness by changing the priority of an order when needed;
- Engage customers by responding more quickly to requests and answering questions immediately;
- Eliminate guesswork and empower management so they can make decisions with the most accurate information possible;
- Better respond to change on the shop floor by improving efficiency with data-driven process adjustments.
The Future of Manufacturing with MES and Paperless Manufacturing
Moving forward, companies using paper will find it increasingly difficult to survive against competitors that have already embraced data-based manufacturing.
For manufacturing, as much as we like to plan the future of our industry with technology, many companies still struggle with paper-based manufacturing. Take a look at the latest industry news, and it’s as if we’ve already forgotten manufacturers still printing build books every morning and collecting data on a spreadsheet to be collated later.
There is no reason to keep operating the shop floor with dated and inaccurate information, or to keep relying on paper. There are MES out there, even ones that aren’t cloud-based, that can deliver an ROI in only a few months. With a phased implementation, you can install the system in a few weeks and start collecting real-time production data soon after. In the following phases, you start implementing more advanced features of the system to match your exacting workflow needs.
Using a shop floor system is like wiping the confusion off the windshield of your shop floor, letting you drive production by looking ahead, rather than behind. Want to learn how quickly and easily it would be for you to start using data-driven manufacturing, then contact CIMx today for a free shop floor analysis. We’re always happy to answer questions.