The benefits of Shop Floor Data Collection (SFDC)

Shop Floor Data Collection (SFDC) is a great function to have. I (Giles) used to spend most of my day walking around factories that I ran the operations of, just trying to see where my production was up to. I have worked with colleagues that did the same. This is a really low return on effort, but in some cases is essential.

SFDC can release these shackles and let you use your time more effectively. 

A word of warning, however. Deploying SFDC requires time, patience and a lot of supervision and training at the outset. Once you are up and running then the benefits will follows, but don't underestimate the effort to deploy in the first place!

Simple SFDC

A good way to have an easier deployment is to have a simple SFDC system and approach. If you make the logging on, completing and logging off difficult then you have made a hill to climb on top of the forming of a new habit.

If you are looking for a SFDC solution, or about to deploy an existing solution you have, then consider this point. Take out as many obstacles as you can before you try to engage with your shop floor teams. Opening up this conversation with key shop floor staff may help you to find additional obstacles you can chuck out before you go for a wider rollout.

An example of Fraction ERP, linking directly to SFDC (right hand column) from the 'work to list'

Find out your real utilisation

One of the key metrics in production that I am always fascinated to learn is the utilisation of the shop floor teams. It is unrealistic to expect that 100% of an operatives time will be spent producing. If you have a TPM (Total Preventative Maintenance) system in place, 5S, team briefings, continuous improvement meetings and technical queries, there is no way you can do all that and be at 100%.

However, on the flip side, if you are running at 60% utilisation you either have some really long meetings and routine tasks, or you have an issue with your machine uptime (or something similar). Being clear about your utilisation levels focuses your business improvement activities and allows you to have a realistic figure for your capacity calculations.

SFDC can help you to determine your actual utilisation figure by capturing real data.

Plan versus actual

When you are planning your work operations as part of your manufacturing development, it would be good to know how accurate you are, wouldn't it?

When you capture data via SFDC you will be able to determine which manufacturing routes are accurate and which ones aren't. This might force you to have conversation with your engineers about the accuracy of their planning, or with production to look at where production losses are creeping in.

Either way, having real data allows you to hone in to your production processes and find a better way to manage your operation.

Tracking your production

As I said at the start of this article, I spent way too much time trudging around the shop floor looking at where my production orders were up to. When you have real time production data at your fingertips, you can focus on the exceptions rather than everything.

You can become more economical with your time and put your energy to greater use.

Following on from the remarks made at the start of this article, in the past I have been able to either reduce my time from hours per day to minutes, or removed the need to hunt down production orders at all, all because of SFDC. Do not underestimate how powerful this information can be!

Fraction ERP offers high level production tracking

A low level works order tracking screen, incorporating SFDC

Linking with your production meetings

If you have a daily team meeting (and if you don't, why not?), using the SFDC exception data will help you to streamline your meeting and focus on those few items that need to be focused on. A daily production meeting can be a really useful team function. If you have to review every production order, just to get through the meeting and be thorough, it can take a long time.

SFDC can help accelerate decision making and reduce the amount of time needed by the team to reach agreement.

SFDC is free with a subscription

When we developed Fraction ERP, one of the things we wanted to ensure was that our users didn't skimp on this area. For that reason, we decided to make the SFDC licences free once a paid subscription was started!

So, that means that you can get your office team onto Fraction ERP and your full shop floor team can be added at no extra cost!

If you want to see how this works in practice, then please sign up for a free demo using the form below.

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