Software Benefits your Shop Floor
// May 1, 2019 //
Manufacturing has gone from the age of manual labor to the age of robots, smart manufacturing and less individual labor for each product. Using software to increase productivity helps to build more products with the same labor and increase profits. With ever increasing new tools and features, digitalization is simply required for any competitive manufacturing firm to stay in business. These companies are continually investing in technology, streamlining processes, improving efficiency and reducing waste. There are a few important features to be considered.
Shop Floor Management
The first and most obvious issue is communicating shop floor processing, material tracking and product traceability to all layers of management and partners. When changes occur on the shop floor, the shop manager traditionally fills out a paper form to report the issues. The form is slowly laddered up the hierarchy so that all layers are informed of the issue. Similarly, vendors, suppliers, partners and buyers also find out if it is pertinent to them.
The traditional paper filing system is more error prone and this process can take days. That causes significant delays in communication and necessary responses. Today, implementing shop floor software streamlines this routine. MES production tracking software instantly informs all parties of requirement changes. Individuals can also refer back to the information at later dates when necessary. This radically improves productivity and communication time.
Kanban Software Tools
Getting manufacturing down to a lean, optimized, just-in-time process is quite difficult. The kanban method was slowly honed over many years and requires the buy-in of workers throughout the organization and especially the shop floor.
Thankfully, this process is slightly easier today. Kanban software sheds light into the manufacturing progress automatically informing both suppliers and buyers on the status of inventory and production. When additional supplies of raw materials are required, the tool can automatically inform suppliers to make sure a shipment is issued to arrive when the next production run begins. Similarly, customers can be informed when a production run is concluding and a new shipment is ready. This automated, transparent portal vastly improves the ability of manufacturing firms to abide by the kanban system, while actually decreasing the amount of work they need to do.
Additionally, these tools can be integrated into an existing manufacturing execution system (MES) so that a firm doesn't have to start from scratch. The MES is automated and works seamlessly with all the other equipment on the floor.
Resource Management & Scheduling Software
Scheduling requirements and resource planning are always extremely complex for managers to organize and predict. There are simply too many factors for any one spreadsheet or manager to keep in their head and adequately plan. For that reason, scheduling and resource management software is ideal to alleviate the problem.
These types of shop software tools can take information including the availability of employees, different skill sets and utilization of available equipment to organize an ideal production schedule for maximum utility. Resource utilization software considers what machines are available, and which machines are being repaired or replaced. It also takes into account the available supplies of raw materials in inventory.
With all these factors included, the software can automatically schedule production runs and let workers know when they are scheduled. Additionally, managers, buyers and partners will have a better understanding of the production process, so they can arrange their schedules and business decisions to fit output. Everything is put into an easy to use, intuitive, color coded format. Workers and managers can easily understand their responsibilities and execute on what is required. Again, this dramatically improves the efficiency of the production process of your shop floor.