Manufacturing Execution Systems - why SFDC matters

Manufacturing Execution Systems - why SFDC matters

The first time I saw the Manufacturing Execution System part of an ERP system was over twenty years ago. I remember seeing the dummy terminals being installed into the factory and the look on the faces of my team. I ran a loss making business unit in this factory, it wasn't the greatest period in my working life at the time. We installed the systems and I rolled out the training. Overnight things changed. I no longer had to run around the factory wondering where everything was. Shop Floor Data Collection (SFDC) was making its mark!

Sure, it wasn't perfect on day one. I now knew where most of my production orders were but not all of them. I had a number of older members of staff who literally dripped sweat onto the keyboard and barcode scanner as they were concerned that they wouldn't be able to learn how to do it properly. A few days later (and a lot of TLC) we got there. All of the jobs moved digitally as well as physically and I got a time bonus.

The time I use to spend running around the shop floor trying to locate production orders in order to satisfy customer queries was now being invested into continuous improvement. The Manufacturing Execution System was delivering me a benefit that I had not anticipated - time! Through the combination of improved communication, continuous improvement, effective SFDC inputs and ongoing ERP development the team and I moved our on time delivery performance from the low 50% mark up to a consistent 98% +. Our profitability returned too as we were also able to increase our output with no additional staff costs. Eventually this loss making business unit brought the entire division into profit and my life became a whole load easier.

SFDC works but why do so many people still not embrace it fully. I think that there are two simple parts to this answer.

  1. It often doesn't work straight 'out of the box' and people don't persist with their attention and training.
  2. What will people do if they don't have to run around the business anymore being 'busy fools'?

Let me address these two points in order.

Firstly, SFDC requires discipline until it becomes a habit. Discipline can be translated as management. If you are a manager then you need to keep supporting your teams and ensure that you know how SFDC works (and your supervisory team too) so that you can answer the questions that will inevitably come. You can't stop with this support until you have your results, you really do need to persist. Most businesses walk away far too early from improvements like this. Persistence bring habits, habits bring results. Better results free your management shackles. It really is worth it.

Secondly, there are many schedulers and planners out there that are scared of the new world. I understand this too. If you spent over 70% of your working week running around the factory what will you do when this job disappears? I have seen too many good people get sucked into this low value task. Why would I want to spend good money on a person to produce me a manual document that is instantly out of date? There has got to be a better way! If you have people like this in your business then you need to show them a new way of working and help them to transition to the revised job role. It can be done.

Of course, having a simple SFDC system built into your Manufacturing Execution System is another route to take. If it is easy to use then you will get better uptake. This is the approach that we opted for at Fraction. You will still need to manage points 1 and 2 above, but they will be less difficult to embrace with a simple SFDC tool. You can see from the screenshot below that it produces a very simple tracking tool.

If you want to explore a simpler ERP system and a simpler SFDC tool then book a demo with Fraction ERP today. You can click here to get started.

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