Removing Paper from the Shop Floor
Get More Throughput With Less Paper
A factory floor’s productivity is determined not just by the movement of materials or speed of processes, it’s also governed by the velocity of data across that floor. The amount of time it takes to assign a job to a work center, the time it takes to find out a machine is down or a material is out of stock are easy examples of what determines a manufacturing system’s ability to efficiently create throughput.
Many firms have invested in faster production processes and better materials management, but one area that often hasn’t been addressed is the process of moving data around the floor. There still are large numbers of firms still using paper-based control and monitoring techniques to run their facilities. To truly get the most out of their operations, smart firms have already moved onto digital processes using Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES).
What benefits have MES users gotten over their paper-based piers? We’ve put together a few areas where moving to digital production reporting and control provides benefits to the manufacturer.
Knowing what’s happening on the floor is what an effective manager needs to know. The faster that information reaches the manager, the faster they can make adjustments and head off slowdowns, down times or potential disasters.
Moving to a digital manufacturing control system like an MES can increase the speed at which crucial information reaches decision makers. With paper-based systems, a manager may be waiting hours or even shifts before conditions reach their desk. An MES system can import production data directly from the machines and work cells – and in real time.
That speed is not just for reporting. With a properly integrated MES system, the production manager can adjust work flows and re-order operations to sidestep issues and get the most out of the current situation.
Decrease human error in reporting
Humans aren’t machines. People can do amazing things, but precision and repeatability are not one of those areas. If the firm needs accurate and dependable data to make important decisions, that process is best left in the hands of machines. Taking the human out of the reporting process and allowing an MES system to directly collect operational data reduces the opportunity for incorrect or sloppy reporting. It also reduces the potential for mis-interpretation of the data or conditions. With an MES system, a manager can be assured that the data being collected is directly from the sensors without any human filtering.
Collect and analyze vastly more data
A well designed and instrumented IIoT system is constantly producing a wealth of data – probably much more than a human could actually transcribe. Even older automation systems and machining centers create a greater wealth of data than is usually collected. Both produce more data than a worker could transcribe while they work to keep those machines running. Operating in a paper-based operation would mean that the bulk of this data and sensor investment would be lost to the speed of human recording.
That lost information could be the crucial details needed to determine when a machine is nearing a breakdown, when a tool is ending its lifespan or part of historical data that points to what settings could be used to get more out of the systems the firm already has.
Decision making on the go
Using the MV2 manufacturing execution system, digital data and control can be managed on other places besides a desktop. The MES can send it to shop floor dashboards, tablets and even mobile devices. Not being tied down to a central point where all the paper comes to, a manager could know the status of production from anywhere in the facility.
These are just a few of the ways where taking paper off the floor could make a big impact on a firm’s efficiency and throughput. While adding automation to a production facility or hiring more workers are the common answer to increasing shop floor productivity, moving to digital control and monitoring of those aspects has the potential to make sure a plant manager can get the most throughput per day – and at a fraction of the cost of entry-level industrial robotics.
If you’d like to see advantages like these on your shopfloor, contact us today. ISE | PaperLess has been providing manufacturing execution systems for over 30 years. We’re certain our experience and knowledge can provide your facility that next-level of production control.