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How to Buy a Manufacturing Software Tool to Manage Your Errors - Part 2

How to Buy a Manufacturing Software Tool to Manage Your Errors - Part 2

As we’ve progressed through this conversation about how to buy a manufacturing software tool to support your shop floor, we’ve alternated between why you need it and what to buy.  Last week, we were focused on errors and the types we typically see and what they might mean for you, why your ERP won’t solve those problems, and how errors in manufacturing can be systemic without you even knowing about them.

Your shop floor is made to get things out the door. Whether that’s from the front of your shop to the back, down one or more production lines, or whether you have material handlers that move things from area to area for unique processes in no one set order - the goal of all shops is to complete work and ship goods, even if that’s to your inventory stores for later pick and ship.

So what kind of things do you need to be focused on in order to get a system to handle your defects?

 

manage errors by people

We want you to look at three things that impact you and your ability to get work done every day: people, processes, and materials. These three things are inherent on every shop floor and are intimately connected. Your people need to know what to do and have the materials to do it properly, including the right machines and tools. Your inventory of raw goods and parts must be available at the right work center when it’s needed and in the right quantities, which are driven by the particular process you’re running at that time. Your processes must be sent to the right place at the right time to do the correct work; chasing around piles of paperwork on the shop floor with in-process work is ineffective and vital information can get lost or misinterpreted. 

To manage errors by people, the first thing you need is to give them the right information. A system for your shop ought to provide everything they need to do their job: written instructions, pictures, videos, sketches, drawings, safety information, defined data collection points, quality checks, estimated time to complete the specific job based on quantity needed, machine or tool instructions, materials required, tools required and their calibration status, feedback from a prior shift on work done on the job and all the other information your team needs to do its work.

 

Manage and Leverage Production Data with Quantum  LEARN HOW HERE

 

The system should feed step-by-step instructions to your team with all the relevant information they need to complete each step. Having your team troll through a BOM and list of instructions to find what they’re supposed to do is a recipe for both wasted time and errors.  A system should prompt them for any data that you need or want to collect and, most importantly, apply thresholds or proper entries to those fields. Written data collections are free form by necessity; you cannot control what someone records on a piece of paper. In addition, they are fraught with errors from handwriting issues and timeliness of response. A system should prevent them from moving on to the next step without recording everything you’ve asked in the right fields and within tolerances.

 

manage errors within materials

You really need the right materials in the right quantities at every workstation to get your work done. How do you get there without inventory management? Well, you don’t. Inventory management is a basic requirement for keeping errors out of your shop.

True inventory management goes far beyond the typical, ERP-style list of goods you have. It is real-time and provides insight into the materials you have – which ones are proper for which jobs, where they’re located, the relevant thresholds you need to maintain on each as well as other detailed information we cover in our inventory discussion. Your BOM (Bill of Materials) and your MBOM (Manufacturing Bill of Materials with proper quantities applied for the current job) are very different and your system needs to understand this.

 

Control Inventory and Reduce Costs with Quantum  CLICK HERE

 

Materials (and the work to be done with those) that end in your finished product also have sensitivity to the people doing the work. (We told you these were all connected.) If a particular material or part requires a particular certification to complete the work (think a level 2 or level 3 welder for instance), the system should verify that the person that is looking at the instructions is qualified to do so.

It should also verify that any controlled materials or materials with tolerances such as calibration dates, use-by dates, or even the number of uses prior to the discard dates are proper and within range. You can’t stop a person from using something you don’t want them to, so the system notifying you what needs to be discarded prior to work is a must. These alerts can save you from some very tricky-to-find issues and often well before they were found (if ever) on paper.

 

Production Automation and Error Prevention with Quantum  LEARN MORE HERE


 

continuing the errors conversation

Next week, we’ll continue this conversation with information about the process and how the system should help you with your processes. We will compare this to what you currently have and show you how to make some interim steps to help yourself prior to acquiring a tool that’s really meant to do the job. Lastly, we’ll show you what questions you might want to ask a vendor of a tool for this work.  

As always, we’re here to move the conversation forward with you. If things we’ve said pique your interest in what’s possible for your shop, reach out and ask us the questions that you have. We’ve been doing this for more than 25 years and we’re happy to share our insight with you.

Over the course of this project, we will identify critical issues we see, what’s causing them, and what you can do to stop them. We’ll go through almost 20 areas before we end this series on how to buy a system. These pieces should serve as a step-by-step guide to get you there. 

Anxious to get the information faster? Engage with us for a Process Gap Analysis of your shop. We’re only an email away, info@cimx.com.

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

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