Pick the right tool for the job.
Not all tools are built to run a shop.
We see manufacturers using everything from white boards with magnets to Microsoft Office to run their shops. Others are trying to get their ERP to do it. None of these tools was built with manufacturing in mind. When you need a hole, you get a drill. When you need a measurement, you use a caliper. You pick the right tool for the job to make sure it gets done right. Did you do that for your shop?
You bought it for your front office. It took a million years and dollars to put in. Now, what do you do with it? Don't let them talk you into moving it to your shop floor. It falls far short of doing the job.
Every person in your office has a copy so it seems easy to use this tool to help you in production, right? Wrong. There is no tool in the MS suite that will help you in the day-to-day workings of your shop.
You put whiteboards up in the shop and use magnets and paper reports to post the day's work. Before you've even posted them, they're no longer relevant. You're spending more money on every build you make without knowing why.
The ERP Dilemma
If you're using an ERP for your shop, or if you're looking at expanding your current ERP to your shop, there's a few critical questions you need to think through.
- How does the ERP react when something takes too long or doesn't go as planned?
- What options does it give you to correct the issue?
- How does it let you know what a possible workaround or rework is for the issue you're having?
The team won't be able to answer these questions without massive amounts of customization to make the system do what you want it to do. Why not get one that was built exactly for these everyday issues?
Your ERP was built to run your office. Not your shop.
An ERP manages resources without knowing what they are or what they are supposed to do. It keeps lists. Of everything. From personnel to dollars, from customers to vendors, your ERP tracks lists of items: salaries, hours, payments, invoices, bills.
It does the same thing with your work. It can take an Order. It can charge the customer. It cannot manage the work.
My ERP has a manufacturing module.
Can it track historical changes?
An ERP can add as many modules as it likes, but it's built to run your financials, not your manufacturing. It tracks items. Not processes. Unless you build one item consistently with no changes, you're left with a routing and nothing more.
My ERP tells me they can do it.
How much time and money will it take?
Your ERP has worked with you for years. It took years to put it in. You've paid for every process, every action and every report you needed to develop, but it still can't tell the difference between a weld and a press.
My ERP provides my schedule of work.
Does it adjust to real-time issues?
An ERP schedule of work often looks like an Excel spreadsheet with lists of work. It doesn't track capacity of machines or people and can't tell you where there are bottlenecks in your processes or on your shop floor. How are you going to solve issues you don't see?
Microsoft Office Expansion
It seems like an easy choice to just make the MS Office tools you already have to do the work you need to do. It falls far short of being able to do the work. If you are struggling with using it to do your manufacturing work, here's a few critical questions you need to answer.
- When was the last time you built a product to the wrong revision of the work instructions?
- How often do you change your standard work?
- Do you have auditors reviewing what you do?
- Have you made product that you later had to scrap because the instructions were wrong?
- How long do your Operators spend flipping through long, paper build books, with instructions and images and other critical messages you want them to find?
Microsoft was built for documents and spreadsheets. Not your shop.
It's a toolset that we're all familiar with and you have licenses for everyone, or almost everyone, in your shop. That doesn't mean it's the right tool for the job. You need a tool that can tell the difference between a wrench and a socket or a person and an hour. Microsoft is not the tool for that. Or for your shop.
I already have the licenses.
Use them. For your office.
A paper packet from Microsoft on your shop floor is asking for trouble. It may look great, but you have no idea if it's right. And it's truly difficult to follow, flipping from one page to the next to find the work that needs to be done.
I use an internal change order process.
It's as good as the weakest link.
Can you guarantee that 100% of your people do exactly what you ask them to do 100% of the time. Nope. That's why you need a tool that guides them through the process and tells them what they need to know and do. So you don't have to. Again.
I don't need anything more than a few notes.
Are you sure you have what you need?
It's an easy decision to make. You have the tool. You use what you have. There's no way for you to become really efficient with a tool like Office running your shop. You need something that can guide you through the process and really show you efficiency - both good and bad.
A whiteboard is an inexpensive and easy way to post things in your shop. Just not your work. By the time you print something out and post it, it's no longer timely. There's nothing you can do to improve your efficiency, correct your scrap issues or make yourself profitable with paper tacked to a board. Here's a few questions to think about.
- How much did your last issue cost you?
- What percent of efficiency are you willing to sacrifice?
- Do you know where your materials are? Your jobs?
- How able are you to make changes in the workflow with the information on the board?
- How do you provide workarounds to the team when things go wrong? Is it the right work? How do you check it was done? How do you report on it?
- Are you making the same mistakes time and again?
Whiteboards were built to erase. Not to run a shop.
You already have them on your wall. You're using them for safety messages, the company picnic (if you even have those anymore) and your workflow. While it's available and low-cost, it doesn't manage anything. You need a tool that can actually communicate with your team throughout the day to manage the work in process as it happens.
I post everything. It's easy.
Easy doesn't make it right. Literally.
The information you post is not right. It's just not. Things aren't where you think they are. Work isn't going as you planned it to go. People aren't where they need to be. A whiteboard is a great spot to post important information. Just not to run your production.
Our team knows what they're doing.
Yes they do. Until they don't.
Manufacturing shop floors never go 100% according to plan. Even long-run ovens lose heat. Everything you do has the opportunity to go wrong. We don't wish that on anyone. We help them figure out what to do when it does. Quickly and efficiently so you don't lose money in the process.
I don't have the money for a system.
Have you researched what it costs?
For 25 years, we've served manufacturers of all sizes. We have priced our product and provided our services in a way that doesn't break the bank for those manufacturers that are still using Office or whiteboards to do their work. Ask us how to get started today and begin to move your shop forward.
Quantum is built for today so you're ready for tomorrow.
Every Quantum installation prepares you for today, tomorrow and the future with instant access to real information about the work you're doing. Abandon your template-based sheets. Get rid of your white boards with production schedules. See how Quantum can help you build, control and maintain your shop.
We pride ourselves on providing the best customer service on the planet.
We believe it separates great companies from everyone else. And you can't run your shop with just anyone.
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