When mistakes occur on the shop floor – a part doesn’t meet specifications or a piece is out of tolerance – manufacturers pay in lost profit and slowed production. The longer it takes to identify the error and implement a solution, the more damage is done to your business by excessive waste and angry customers.
If you miss the problem and ship a faulty product, customers will find a different manufacturer. How many mistakes are going unnoticed on your shop floor right now? At what point in production does a non-compliance occur? Can you assure a customer it was the last time they’ll see this issue?
The underlying problem is a lack of production visibility – a problem for many manufacturers. This leads to a lack of conformance and control, and costs the business money. Efficient production operations require production visibility. When your ERP’s blind spot is the shop floor, companies throw away resources and effort every day and on every order.
Capturing Critical Production Data
The problem isn’t effort on the shop floor; it’s the tools being used to provide production visibility.
Paper is a black hole for visibility with data collected by paper almost unusable. The data provides a false sense of security – companies believe the data collection solves problems when in reality it is masking them. Even when the data finds its way to a report the data must be viewed with skepticism – data on paper is ripe for mistakes. The work and effort necessary to collect and collate paper-based data is wasted, especially when you consider the high potential for inaccuracy.
Many companies prioritize the collection of machine data. Machine data provides a limited view of production processes, often after mistakes and errors have been made. You need data on your labor force for the complete story on production.
Many companies mistakenly rely on their ERP for production reporting. ERP systems struggle to adequately track and manage work. As a transactional system, the ERP works upstream in the production value chain. It manages orders and financial transactions, but it can’t capture the nuance or cause-and-effect links required in a workflow. Companies relying on their ERP for production have a dangerously flawed view of production, resulting in squandered opportunities and wasted resources.
Manufacturing Software as a Window to the Shop Floor
For real-time production visibility, you need a workflow-based system that represents the interaction between the materials, people and processes that fuel production. These Smart Manufacturing systems predict when and what proactive effort will improve output and efficiency. Forward looking, rather than reactive, it gives manufacturers the power to deliver just-in-time response to issues. It’s more than a simple snapshot of production, but rather a comprehensive view of operations. Smart Manufacturing systems deliver less downtime and scrap, and higher output, efficiency and quality.
By linking your ERP to Smart software supporting and managing shop floor operations, the ERP has the real-time production data it needs to operate efficiently without clogging the smooth upstream operation of the business. The sales and customer-service team can consult scheduled ship dates from the MES data to accurately assess when an order will be completed. Production supervisors and the shop floor team utilize software designed to support their unique workflow needs without navigating the transactional processes required in an ERP.
Get back control of the shop floor and know, with certainty, when and where mistakes happen. Manage the shop floor through a workflow system, and not notes on a traveler or bits of data coaxed out of an ERP.
Learn more about the real-time production visibility and workflow-based software in Quantum by contact CIMx at www.cimx.com.