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On the shop floor, you don’t often talk about seasons. You have days, weeks, months, and periods of work, but those rarely correlate to a season like sports do, and you don’t get to use free agents to make any changes to your team. There are, however, lessons to be learned from the gridiron for manufacturing even so. The lessons of teamwork from the sports field to the shop are uncanny.

We’ve talked about the power of one. In the case of a sports team, that could be the All-American or the MVP. In sports, we tend to promote the fancy plays, the person who made the “winning move.” In manufacturing, it’s a bit more subtle. The salesperson that closes the most business is not winning it if the shop can’t deliver what they sold. There’s a more direct, transactional effect here. In a desperate struggle, for instance, where there’s no one open, the quarterback can run it in themselves and try to get to the flag. In your world, it’s impossible (and somewhat unsafe) to assume that you can just hop into the manufacturing process and roll your sleeves up.

A winning season, for you, involves a lot more finesse. You need to balance everything. You need to consider all the moving parts. It’s more akin to the guy at the circus balancing all those spinning plates. You turn a little here, you hold onto it over there. Just like that performer cannot just spin them all and step back, you can’t start your day and assume it’s all going to go according to plan. (Laughingly, most of our customers and prospects would tell us this is never the case unless you’re in a lights-out, 24x7 plant where the machines do all the work.)

PRODUCTION OPERATIONS

We talked last time about the fact that, in sports, all eyes are on the field of play until the final moments. Then, and only then, is the scoreboard a reflection of the work that was done. Until then, it’s anybody’s game. Teams use every second that’s given to them to make sure that they are in the W column at the end of period time.

The “truth” of your world – the W – is often determined by the balance sheet and income statement. You sit at a desk to review these and, while the numbers reflect the result of the work your team did, they rarely reflect what’s going on. Even last week’s numbers don’t translate into the work on the shop floor right now. There are problems you’re having today that weren’t an issue last week: differences in inventory availability, personnel, and jobs. The reverse is also true. Things that your team struggled with last week may be smooth now. Think of that one job that was so challenging last week; once it’s done and gone, your team can move on, and they do.

Your team, also, is hampered by this. They often don’t see the numbers. They may do counts (we completed 350 of those today and that was 5 more than yesterday), but they rarely understand the effect on the bottom line. Was the work they did productive (led to profit) or not? They complete the work either way. Wouldn’t it be helpful to let them know the result?

YOUR PRODUCTION SCHEDULE

We talked last time about the fact that, in sports, all eyes are on the field of play until the final moments. Then, and only then, is the scoreboard a reflection of the work that was done. Until then, it’s anybody’s game. Teams use every second that’s given to them to make sure that they are in the W column at the end of period time.

The “truth” of your world – the W – is often determined by the balance sheet and income statement. You sit at a desk to review these and, while the numbers reflect the result of the work your team did, they rarely reflect what’s going on. Even last week’s numbers don’t translate into the work on the shop floor right now. There are problems you’re having today that weren’t an issue last week: differences in inventory availability, personnel, and jobs. The reverse is also true. Things that your team struggled with last week may be smooth now. Think of that one job that was so challenging last week; once it’s done and gone, your team can move on, and they do.

Your team, also, is hampered by this. They often don’t see the numbers. They may do counts (we completed 350 of those today and that was 5 more than yesterday), but they rarely understand the effect on the bottom line. Was the work they did productive (led to profit) or not? They complete the work either way. Wouldn’t it be helpful to let them know the result?

SOFTWARE FOR PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT

Use of a digital tool to determine both the schedule and the materials ought to manage both. That is the only way that you can ensure that each workstation and each team member have exactly what they need to do the work, when and where they need it. Software makes flexibility possible, and if there’s something you absolutely need in manufacturing, it’s flexibility.

Make sure your production schedule has the following (and we’re taking much of this from the article cited above, “What is a Production Schedule? (With Importance and Stages) by the Indeed Editorial Team):

  1. Planning – Your software needs to address the plan for the work you will do, including time and cost of each step of the process, what will be done, safety and caution messages, data collections and the like. We believe that the routing is an inherent part of this, as if the routing is separate, you cannot control the balance of workstation utilization as well – it’s more freeform. Planning is something we feel is repetitive; most of our customers do not do completely unique plans for each job; they copy and edit work that’s similar or pull prior jobs.
  2. Dispatching – send a message directly to your shop telling them to start work as you have an order of job for the work you’ve planned.
  3. Execution – this is where an MES really shines. It’s the only tool I know that brings together the first three items in this list inherently. It understands that a person can only do one job at a time (even where they have 3 jobs running simultaneously, they’re focused on one at a time).
  4. Maintenance – again, a hearty yes. Many tools don’t have a maintenance package and their schedulers may not be able to “take a work center offline” so that jobs aren’t piling up.

Ask your team if they know how they’re doing. How do they know? What information might be helpful to them or required?  These are the very challenges that we see shops deal with every day.  Give your team the tools they need to track your numbers, report on them, analyze and archive them.  Push the Connect button to learn about how we help teams with this.  Or, if you have a question, reach out to info@cimx.com.  We are here to help you save money, time and get your Production under Control

Contact CIMx Software to see how a Manufacturing Execution System can improve production control for you.

 

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