Rely Less on Tribal Knowledge by Standardizing Manufacturing Practices with MES
// March 11, 2015 //
Tribal knowledge in manufacturing is a bit of a double edged sword. The knowledge and ability that key individuals possess can often enable results that cannot be achieved by others. However the absence of those key individuals can be felt in a big way. We dread those people getting sick, taking a week of vacation, or retiring. Everyone around them finds themselves scrambling to accommodate their absence, and sometimes the absence of their tribal knowledge can threaten throughput, or worse yet, delivery times.
The talent pool for manufacturers isn’t getting younger. According to research done by The Boston Consulting Group, “The average U.S. high-skilled manufacturing worker is 56 years old. Based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and BCG estimates, the shortage of highly skilled manufacturing workers could worsen to approximately 875,000 machinists, welders, industrial-machinery mechanics, and industry engineers by 2020.” Unless there is a sharp change in the current recruiting practices of manufacturers around the United States, there is going to be serious amounts of knowledge lost in the coming years. How do we prepare our organization for the impending reality of losing very knowledgeable, longtime employees? Standardize processes and practices now.
Lean manufacturing initiatives can help eliminate these vulnerabilities by standardizing processes and simplifying worker requirements. A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) can help to address this issue by supporting lean. An MES system is designed to provide the right information at the right time to give decision makers and workers the information they need to adjust production processes toward improvement. It can help standardize the communications to and from the plant floor to help minimize variability in the procedures.
There are obvious advantages to implementing an MES system: MES helps to enable a continuous improvement environment, enhancing communication between the office and the production floor, providing real-time insight into production processes and cost/time-savings, while gathering critical production data which contains a wealth of performance metrics. In addition, there is one advantage not always seen: over time, your need to rely on tribal knowledge should decrease.
Paper-Less MV2 is an MES system that helps by providing immediate insight into daily operations. Implementing an MES system will help smooth day to day operations by providing a conduit for information exchanges to and from the production floor. Paper-Less MV2 was designed to require minimal training for new users. We are confident when we state: if you can use a credit card machine at the gas pump, you can use Paper-Less MV2. Paper-Less can be a tool to help your production floor transition from a tribal knowledge based environment, to an industry leading technology based environment. Embrace the change in your environment and see it as a necessity to keep your company competitive for years to come.
Want to know more about the benefits of implementing an MES system? Click below to download a case study to learn about how your company can benefit from Paper-Less MV2.