We’re talking about people this month. People are likely your most expensive asset. You rely on them to make your business move and your responsibility to them is to keep them productive. No matter where I go – industry, geography, age demographics – all workers want to do something meaningful and they want to be both recognized and rewarded for it.

I recently had the opportunity to visit a customer of ours in an industry that most would assume is a commodity. This customer consumes raw materials in their production and every piece is laid and trimmed by an operator on a machine. They stand for hours at each workstation doing work that, to someone who has not visited, may seem repetitive or boring.

Not so for this team.

Their shop floor was quite clean, enough so that I would have had no trouble sitting down and eating on it. Their factory is funky, colorful, and even playful. Every member of their team is decked out in high-quality logo-wear that they sell in a storefront on “Main Street”. There’s music playing and the team members are engaged and proficient at their work. They are energetic and focused on 100% perfect production performance. They believe in their product and believe that they are the best in the world at making it.

Contrast this with another shop I visited (not a customer) recently, where the workforce is wary of management and has refused to engage with technology in production. The sales process was hard for this team and the software was going to be difficult to implement. Technology, in this setting, comes across as punishment and tracking for enforcement.

And, while we agree that software is a great tool to help enforce quality, we are not looking to enforce workers.


what production control isn't

Production Control is not about the actual, physical control of people. Implementing a digital system to track your people and discipline them signals to me that you have far deeper problems than a digital system can help you with. You have a relationship with your production team – your entire team, actually. That can be one based on mutual trust and respect. Where that is the case, a system will enable your team to reach farther, be more productive and be happier.

Production Control is not about counting. You can use Excel to do that. You do need counts of your performance, inventory, orders and all the work that’s going on in your shop. Buying a digital tool to do that is not an effective use of your budget. You need that tool to do so much more and to tell you when something you are measuring is high or low, good or bad, safe or dangerous.

Production Control is not about running machines. People run machines. If you have a floor where your machines run by themselves, then a digital tool just needs to monitor and report. A Production Control system is more about the finer points of manufacturing, where variability makes work complex or difficult.


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how production control helps your team

Production Control helps your team be the very best version of themselves. It helps them meet and exceed targets, prepares them for the work ahead and helps you track and record your progress against those targets. It’s a system of promise and growth.

Last week, we talked about your different teams. Here are a few things that true Production Control should give to each.

The Executive Team – This team gets the information stream they need, including live results. They get immediate access to performance metrics (current and historical), the financial performance value of the work you’re doing and all the dashboards they need to make their own decisions about how the team is doing.  

The Sales Team – This group can make promises that make sense for your team based on current work demands. They don’t have to guess when talking to a customer and can keep their answers tight.

The Customer Service Team – This team has real information for your customers and your team when it’s needed. They can be instrumental in making changes where they are needed and will keep your team focused on the work ahead.


Learn more about a data-driven shop


The Management Team – Your management can place your current resources in their most effective pattern for the work that needs to be done. They won’t waste time or money on shifting people around as they’ll know where to put them.

The Data Team – This team was not doing productive work for you. They will be transformed into analysis rather than data entry and their reporting job pulls into today’s work or yesterday’s performance rather than reporting at month’s end.

The Quality Team – You’ve always wanted them to lift your quality – that’s why you hired them, and they can do this once you give them access to the information they need to do so. They will be able to focus on the process of manufacturing and make the changes that you seek.

The Purchasing Team – This team will be equipped to source what you need when you need it.   Giving them access to real-time demand on the shop floor will help them reduce the amount you’re spending each month on rush inventory.

Now, these problems aren’t problems for everyone. But I haven’t been on a shop floor yet that doesn’t suffer from at least a few. Even where you think things are going well, ask your team. I have been in so many meetings where management does not know what’s actually happening and where the holes in information are on their shop floor.

Your team is going to do the very best with what you’ve given them, whether that is all the tools they need or just the tools you have. They will be as creative as they need to get the work done, but no more. They will use the information they have to make decisions and I find they stop thinking about the information they really need. When it’s not accessible to them, they make do. They know that the Microsoft Office suite wasn’t meant to run a manufacturing facility. They know that your financial system isn’t giving them any help in production.

The question is, do you? 




Would you like your team to have the 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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