Want to be the hero at work? Introduce your boss to this productivity booster for manufacturing!
According to the US Government Bureau of Labor Statistics, labor productivity rose in 77 percent of the 57 detailed manufacturing industries during 20141. So the mandate from the boss is to increase output.
“Oh, and by the way, you can’t hire anyone new and overtime is not an option” your boss adds while turning to walk away.
“What do you want me to do?”, you respond.
“You’ll just have to get more efficient like all those other companies”, your boss responds.
So now what?
The first thing you need is data.
Data will help you benchmark your performance. Chances are, yours is like most companies and you don’t have the data you need to figure out what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong.
If you are a typical small-to-medium sized manufacturer, you make forecasting and production scheduling decisions based on the input from a well trusted, experienced employee instead of a rule based system driven by historical data. If you are a large manufacturer, you already have a couple systems in place, but you are probably still lacking real time output and cost data.
Most companies are like this because data gathering used to be expensive and is typically not a high priority during periods of rapid growth. Automated data capture has greatly reduced the cost of capturing the data you need to transform your business and improve efficiency through 1) better decision making, 2) better forecasting, and 3) better scheduling. The cost of data acquisition is lower today than it has ever been in the past because both 1) the purchase prices of the collection systems have come down, and 2) the automation component (reduced time your employees gather and process the data) has increased significantly.
Additionally, the widespread adoption of ERP systems in the manufacturing sector means that your company probably already owns the tools it needs to process this data to get the results. You just need a way to capture that data without diverting your employees from their normal production tasks.
To get the data you need and take the first step to best-in-class manufacturing status, you should be evaluating barcode, RFID, and ERP-connected data entry terminals on the production floor.
Applying automated data capture technology allows you to reduce the cost of capturing the data while improving the data quality at the same time. Right now, you are probably paying your employees to collect what limited data you have instead of using that time to produce your product.
The result is that your employees are spending more time producing, less time breaking the production flow to write things down, and that boosts your output without any additional headcount or overtime! Additionally, you get more data, and better data, that you can use to improve efficiency.
A few months later…
“Hey Boss”, you say, “Did you see the increase in output last month? Did you see that our costs were down? Next month is going to be even better because we discovered a bottleneck in line two that we were able to fix with a procedure change!”.
“You did great!”, she responds, “Let’s go talk about that raise you’ve been asking about!”.