Shop Floor Data Collection - The Production Manager's best friend!

One of the challenges we wanted to overcome when we designed Fraction ERP was a typical one of many production managers and production supervisors....

"Where is my production?"

The amount of times I (Giles) have had to walk around a factory looking for the order that a client had just phoned about is too many to admit. I think that anyone that works in a non-automated production environment knows this pain!

A common solution to this is to deploy shop floor data collection (also known as SFDC). Whilst this can take some effort  to get shop floor data collection working properly (check out the blog post "5 steps to get Shop Floor Data Collection working for you" if you want some ideas), it is worth the effort.

An example of the benefits of shop floor data collection

In an earlier manufacturing management role, it took around four hours to walk around the entire factory and figure out:

  1. Where the production orders were up to.
  2. Find out what the challenges of the day were.

As soon as I had gotten back to my office, the information about the production orders was out of date...

You can imagine that when I spoke to the customers I was then not working off the latest data, just a close approximation.

There is more to a Production Manager's job than walking around the shop floor to find out where production is, but it is something that many of us have to do.

Introduction shop floor data collection

I had an opportunity to implement a very clunky shop floor data collection module into the business. I made some basic modifications to the reporting and deployed it, painfully, with my teams. After a few months, however, it was reporting reliable data and I no longer had to trudge around the factory on my inefficient search for the status of production.

Now, if I had been smarter, I could have gotten my Team Leaders to update a document and send it to me, or have a daily meeting. I mulled this over and I didn't want to kill everyone's time, when they should be getting on with manufacturing the products in the first place.

I extended the idea of shop floor data collection as far as I could and reduced the work content of my 'production expediting' element by almost 100%. This allowed me to get on with 'higher level' activities that developed the business, rather than just maintaining the status quo.

The results were worth it

Long story short, our on time delivery performance soared from the low 20s to high 90s (averaging at 98%) in a few months. Our production lead time dropped from 19 weeks to just under 4. Better yet, our performance was recognised by our customers and we expanded from £10M annual turnover to £30M without the need for any additional staff!

I really can't stress how important shop floor data collection was to make this journey a reality.

Some of my key 'lessons learned' are in the blog post I shared earlier, but having a simple to operate shop floor data collection system makes the whole journey easier. This takes us back to the design challenge we took on when designing Fraction ERP.

There are two videos below. The first one shows you what our shop floor data collection system looks like, from a shop floor user's perspective. This video also includes the work to list feature.

The second video provides an overview of the shop floor tracking tools. These are the tools that I wished I had at the outset of the above production management role!

I hope you'll agree that these tools can save hours of walking around a factory, just trying to find out what is going on.

If you want to find out more about Fraction ERP, then view our walkthrough videos, or sign up for a free demo using the form below.

Shop floor data collection transformed my view of what was possible with running a factory and allowed me to move onto exception reporting and an easier life at work!

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