Having high quality business software inhouse is thought of in the same way as automation systems - it seems that everybody should have them. But the popular assumptions are only the big players can afford systems like these and they just don’t bring the same value to high mix low volume producers.
As in most cases, the truth is much different than assumptions. When it comes to manufacturing firms that thrive on high variance product manufacturing, keeping track of orders, processes and materials is key to making sure profit is being made instead of waste. A modern Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is designed to do just that, even for smaller firms.
Getting Rid of Paper on the Floor
Where do most manufacturing issues come from? Humans making small mistakes and managers not getting information quick enough to make needed changes. Both often stem from relying on paper to distribute workorders, requisitions and the recording of operational performance.
An MES can this from happening by monitoring and distributing information electronically. This capacity arises from the software’s ability to record information directly from processes and subsequently sending out new work instructions or orders directly to the floor. No more waiting for someone to fill out documents ‘when they have time’ or chasing down old work packets before mistakes and scrap happen.
Truly Understanding Resource Utilization
Most production operations can tell you how many parts they make per day, and many can tell you how many per hour. But what goes on between those periods is a mystery and is often the difference between being an extra 30% more effective or just trying to hit the same numbers over & over. With a manufacturing execution system keeping track of all possible data from the production operations in real-time, managers of even a small firms can finally understand where the real lags & bottlenecks in production are. Afterall, what gets measured, gets managed.
More Efficiently Utilizing the People You Have
One of the biggest benefits an MES can bring to a small manufacturing firm is to get more productivity out of the workforce they have. It can do this through reducing the time workers take filling out, processing and routing forms. When correctly accounted for, some firms have found 20-50% of a worker’s time is soaked up in paperwork. If this percentage of work could be moved to software, that reduction in paperwork time could be spent making more parts. A manufacturing execution system provides this capability by automating manual recording and transaction processes and streamlining worker interaction to a few options on a touchscreen.
With the advantages listed above, assumptions may point toward installing a system like this being prohibitively expensive. In reality, manufacturers can get all this capability for a fraction of the price of the average machine tending cell.
If you’re intrigued about how a manufacturing execution system can streamline your operations, contact us today. Our highly experienced staff would be happy to discuss your processes and what advantages you might see in implementing your own MES.