Recently, we upgraded the security system at the office (some good information in that link as to why upgrading a security system at home is a good idea but it still applies). We have a new, digital keypad that takes a photo of each person that sets or releases the alarm. It monitors all kinds of things in the space and has a phone app to track all the data. This is not really anything new – it’s just providing the data in a different way. And yet, it is transformational.


The old system worked just fine. Yours may, too. All those tools you have put together to help you manage everything from inventory on Excel (you can watch a 21-minute video on how to do that from "Mr. Spreadsheet" in that link) to production counts on whiteboards. They do a job. They report on one thing at one time. However, similar again to your shop, that alarm system didn’t have all the information we wanted in the format we needed it. We could provide a code to every employee, the cleaning and delivery staff, and the landlord. With the use of our own Excel sheet (I find that humorous), we could track what codes we gave to whom. And yet, when an employee leaves or the cleaning crew changes, how can you be sure that the codes didn’t “go with them?” Excel does a job but doesn’t do the job.


the right tool provides complete data

The new alarm system costs money (I’m remembering my parents here telling me nothing in life is free) as does any new tool. We invested in the new technology because it will give us more information. It enables us to connect even when we’re not in the office and it keeps a historical archive of all activity and who was there. Super handy.


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How about your shop? Are you using “free” tools – the ones you already had to do one job (spreadsheets for graphing trends) to do something else? I use the Excel example with production scheduling as it’s something that we see all the time. Excel is inevitably on everyone’s machine, and they know how to use its basic functionality. We have seen some of the most incredible files with all kinds of calculations to make the data “moveable” as time moves.

I even did a search on Excel and there are schedule templates for loan amortizations (so handy), weekly chores (not as much), academics, absence, and the weekly calendar. There are job trackers and social media calendars as well. If you search for manufacturing, only three templates come up: output, run time, and inventory lists. The first two are merely illustrations of the data you put in; the third is a list.

Is Microsoft trying to tell us all something?


The right tool for production control

It’s not the right tool for the job. It doesn’t have the structure you need for the job you have to do. You need a tool to plan, track, manage and troubleshoot all your people, materials, jobs, machines, and work. People, materials, jobs, and work have an additional challenge that Excel has no ability to know or handle; they move and shift. Excel reports on data. Standing data, not moving data.

You can, like with the simple alarm system, get some data. But not everything you might need and, when you do need it, you will struggle to come up with it.  Such as someone doesn’t show up for their shift today and you have no idea what that will do to the production schedule. So, you spend an hour or more trying to make the necessary changes to the schedule to make it work. You don't have the data you need, so you struggle to get back on track and you don’t have that hour to spend so you’re getting further behind. 


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Manufacturers must be very thoughtful of the physical structure of their facilities. Efficiency needs it but safety demands it. You think about where you put your aisles, inventory, machines, and safety washes. Why wouldn’t you put as much thought, time and investment into the systems that run all the work? It’s the thing that connects your people with the work and the machinery and materials to make it happen. A manufacturing software system tells your people what the most important piece of work is to do right now and gives them everything they need to get it done, including workarounds when things don’t go as planned.

Structure takes an expert. A manufacturing software system is an expert, the expert, for your shop. If you want to get more information, better data, and more connectivity to everything going on in your shop, consider a tool that gives you the structure for it.

Ready to move forward faster? Engage with us to talk more about increasing structure on your shop floor to enable complete production control.  Click here to engage. 

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

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