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I love guacamole. As we’re coming into Super Bowl weekend, nachos might be a thing for some. Chips and guac? Tasty. You have to make it fresh, so it doesn’t turn brown, which it does fairly quickly. (Even with the lime juice in the recipe.) And so, at the supermarket a few weeks back, I was taken back by a tube of it in the refrigerated area. Sour cream had made that transition a few years ago (great option) and so I suppose it was only a matter of time, but it was still a brilliant idea.

It's a person’s ability to look at something and imagine it a completely different way that really appeals to me about working in the manufacturing space. Manufacturing is where people’s ideas become reality. It’s about taking that idea in your head and putting it down on “paper.”

PAPERLESS MANUFACTURING

Even in our own industry, we’ve seen a lot of change. When we first started out (28 years ago!), PCs were expensive and reserved for the engineering team. And most operations had a team like that. Someone who figured out how to make the product, drew up the plans, and then instructed people how to do it. If you want to innovate, you need that person on your team – the one that can look at how things are done now and move it forward, make it better, cut out waste.

For us, that became about taking paper off the shop floor. Paperless manufacturing, as a term, does not mean that you need to automate everything. That’s expensive and may go too far for some. That’s trying to grow an avocado that doesn’t brown. All we need here is a different way to preserve it.

We began with the engineers. If we could find a way to get all those ideas into a system so they were saved, we could move quicker into production. We opened up the possibility of fewer errors (right paper, right product). As technology got less expensive, we expanded what was possible. Our industry took the PC to the shop floor and our customers pushed us to do so, too. The more that you can use technology in your production operations, the stronger you become.

PRODUCTION OPERATIONS

The new packaging here for your team, a la guacamole tube, is beginning to see how you can control the flow of information to them so they don’t have to worry about anything. Give them a day’s work in the morning standup and they’re ready for the day. That is, unfortunately, not likely the day you’re going to have. Things change rapidly once work starts. A machine slows down or requires maintenance. Set up time takes too long. Someone makes a mistake. Something goes missing.

We (and likely you) see these things every day. The schedule shifts. Now someone’s running behind after they helped solve one of those issues, or even waited for someone else to do it. The schedule shifts again. Someone runs over to get some missing materials and can’t immediately find what they’re looking for. Another shift. Before you know it, the day looks nothing like you planned.   Maybe everything you’ve come to expect, though.

INNOVATION

Plenty of people do not want to crack open an avocado, but the process is both messy and tricky. Show me the knife trick with the pit again, and I’m still going to tell you it doesn’t always work. There is a market for guacamole. Browning aside, people will buy the product. They just needed someone to figure out the delivery mechanism (without all those little, individual, plastic, single-serve cups).

Where’s the innovation in your space? And, more importantly, do you have the systems to both support and push that? Paperless manufacturing is about having information at your fingertips. If that is a combination of a digital system for planning and quality, paper job travelers and even huddle boards for your morning meeting, then run your business that way. Only you know what will make you more efficient. Don’t chase the means. Chase the goal.

Our goal is to give your team the tools they need to track your numbers, report on them, analyze and archive them.  Push the Get a Demo 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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