Go For the Gold in Labor Tracking and Production Reporting
December 11, 2014 //
In various sports and venues, a mere hundredth of a second can be the difference between standing on the highest level of the podium or looking up to it. The Olympics and auto racing are two prime examples of events that emphasize the importance of time tracking. The ability to compete in these events relies heavily on the preparation process – however, without knowledge of the impact on your end time, how can you know if the changes you are trying to incorporate to improve the process are having a positive effect?
Manufacturing is no different. The tracking and reporting of time, especially production reporting or labor time, can help you attain the gold medal in manufacturing excellence. Unfortunately fewer and fewer people are on-board with this line of thinking. I often hear the following types of comments surrounding the topic of collecting and tracking labor data on their shop floors:
- “Labor is such a small % of our product cost we don’t care about it”
- “Our operators won’t use the system so we gave up on it”
Outdated Perceptions About Labor Data Collection and Reporting
I have to wonder how many of these comments are rooted in a dated perception of the process by which labor data is collected. True, through specialization and standardized components, labor content is a declining percent of product cost. However, as with the auto racing example, proposed tweaks to the process may actually send your productivity backwards. How would you know? Without first deploying an effective means of tracking the amount of time the current process takes to complete, then deploying and measuring the impact of the proposed change, you won’t have concrete evidence upon which to assess the merits of the proposed change.
Manufacturing Labor Tracking and Reporting Technology Has Progressed
Technological advances in production labor tracking and reporting software have made the collection of time nearly effortless. In the example of the Olympic participant, he or she simply engages in the activity and his or her time is automatically recorded – start, stop, elapsed and comparative rank compared to the other participants are all displayed in real-time. Similar results can be achieved on the manufacturing floor with an effective shop floor system designed with the end user in mind. Employees engage in their respective workflow and steps to complete the process; meanwhile the shop floor system will track and report the start, stop, elapsed and rank compared to standards in real-time. Real-time visibility is provided into production activity and the operator can immediately gauge themselves against established standards.
Historical Analysis of Production Labor Data Gains Added Business Value
Further still, the actual production labor data can be analyzed to refine standards and improve downstream activities in planning/scheduling, engineering, and accounting departments. The value companies can derive from labor data is limitless in their Continuous Improvement initiatives – the key goal is finding the right shop floor solution to acquire this data with little or no burden on the end user. Taking a fresh look at labor data using labor reporting software will increase your odds of taking home the gold medal or the checkered flag.
Paper-Less offers a proven production labor tracking and reporting system. For more information and to view a case study, please click the button: