“Manufacturing is all the same; it just looks different.” I’ve found this to be both true and false. In the “same” category, we’re talking about the top three issues you need to be concerned with: people, process and inventory/materials. One thing common among all manufacturers, whether you make or buy the products you sell, is that you all need to know what you’re doing from day to day and who’s going to do it. You need the basic materials to do the work and instructions on how to do so – and these instructions could simply be who’s doing what, when, or exactly how they’re supposed to be doing it depending on the complexity of the work at hand.

We talked about people and the key learning there is that, without a proper system for production, you are giving them scant information to do their job and they are likely suffering from it. Quietly, perhaps, which translates to digs into your bottom line. It’s hard to know by how much or where because you, too, are suffering by not having a system to tell you that information.


Your Process

The process you use could be proprietary or public. Either way, it’s taken you a lifetime to create just the right one to be most productive. Or, perhaps, you don’t yet know the right way because you don’t know how long things take and/or how correct they are. Systems will never replace the good people you have but they will help your people to do their work better. Systems provide information faster than humans can gather it. They remember that information and can send it back to you in a format that’s most useful – written or visual.

How do you capture the process(es) you use? Are they planned in advance and delivered directly to the people doing the work or are they tacked on whiteboards? Processes – even picking and shipping goods – are the basis of the work your team is doing every day. It’s where you can make (or lose) money rapidly.

We believe in writing down processes. It makes it easier to train new people, shift people to different work, implement changes in how you do things and even remind the most experienced members of your staff how you want work to be done. It’s only in capturing a written process that you are able to compare what you did with what you planned to do and determine how you performed.

And, when we talk performance, we’re not talking about jobs complete or orders shipped. Those are easy numbers to track. We’re suggesting that if you didn’t happen to be sitting at the area that’s shipping as they packed the work up and sent it off, you might not completely know how it’s being done and if you’re making any money at it.


Learn how visibility can increase your capacity and profit


Your process simplified

For every customer we work with, we try to identify the key areas or stages of their production process. What are the repeatable steps they will take? Are there enough workers to do the work or does a particular step require someone with a special certification? Break it down into the simplest and most effective set of steps with enough information to ensure accuracy. This goes beyond a routing and a single line item.


your process repeated

You may have areas or jobs where those steps or stages you recorded repeat. That’s great. Repeatable work, under the right circumstances, can be your most profitable work. There should be less mistakes when you are repeating steps that you are familiar with. That said, you need the right culture to make that happen – we’ll talk about that this year, too. If you know where things are the same, you can figure out where they’re different, too, and if you don’t have access to a system, that’s where I’d focus my time.


Learn more about a data-driven shop 


your process in a unique setting

If you have work where you build one of something or areas of your production where things change constantly, this is an area where two things often occur:

  • You rely on a resource that is so valuable to doing this work (they know how to do it all in their head the most efficient way) that you would be lost if they left you,

  • And, this is an area where you can lose the most money and time. Unique workflows or processes are more difficult to develop and complete predictably and so this is often where you'll see rework.  Hammer to fit, anyone?  This is where a tool can come in handy to help you smooth out those bumps in the process, if not in the products themselves. 



Capturing your manufacturing processes in a system that is in constant real-time communication with everyone in your shop allows you to sustain capacity, improve performance and keep control.

Would you like your team to have the accurate information they need (and want) to be more effective at their jobs and get work done correctly and efficiently the first time? Saving the company time and money. Let us show you how. Click the button above to start the process. Or if you have a question, reach out to info@cimx.com.  We are always happy to help.

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


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