Standardized processes and machine automation are the driving forces behind modern manufacturing in the United States. These tools maintain order across the shop floor and keep work on schedule. This structure is essential to eliminating waste and generating profit, however, no process is without risk.
The threat from automation and well-structured processes arise when we become overly reliant on them. This reliance leads to blind spots and complacency across the company.
Leverage a complete Manufacturing Execution System (MES) to empower your employees to increase both Quality and production rates. Your team is your most valuable asset and the right MES will give them the tools they need to succeed.
Connect and Consolidate Systems
Disconnected systems are error-prone. Inputting data in multiple locations by hand or placing your faith in failing databases puts your entire organization at risk. The key to success is limiting your external systems to focus on the areas of their greatest impact, and only integrating where it makes sense.
For example, utilize your tax software to handle income and financial reporting, your ERP to handle your inventory/ordering tasks and your MES to track and control production. This avoids conflicts caused by patching together too many independent, best-of-breed systems and establishes clear upgrade paths as your business grows.
Data is only useful if it meets three key criteria: it’s accurate, it’s actionable and it’s easy to understand. If your current processes leave any of these data essentials in question, you are taking on more risk than you may realize.
Accurate: Inaccurate data is more damaging than an absence of information. It can lead to overconfidence in misinformed decision-making and mask trends that negatively impact production. You need permanent, comprehensive records on every order for auditing and compliance purposes. Leverage your MES to collect and maintain your data through every stage of manufacturing. If you have questions about recording or recovering you records connect with your software vendor for a refresher on best practices.
Actionable: If your data isn’t received in an actionable timeframe, then you’re left looking in the rear-view mirror at what could have been. Profitable production requires correcting problems as they occur, if not sooner. Keep production on track by utilizing real-time alerts directly from your shop floor to see and correct issues before they can impact production, not after.
Easy to Understand: Utilize the Production Dashboards in your MES to make the right decision at a glance. If you are spending hours sorting through spreadsheets, you aren’t saving time. Manufacturers need clear, color-coded displays to quickly identify non-conformances and potential bottlenecks to keep production on track. Set automatic alerts to ensure processes are being followed and deliveries stay on schedule.