How to Choose Real-Time Manufacturing Tracking Software
Manufacturing is never a completely smooth process. Dealing with unexpected events is an integral part of running a successful production facility.
Production floor management systems make this much easier.
With one of these cutting-edge systems in place, you could receive an instant snapshot of real-time events on the floor: anytime, anywhere. This technology aggregates production data from workers and machines and analyzes it on the spot to provide advanced data visualization and timely insights on everything from machine availability to materials use. It creates a “digital twin” version of your factory and its operations which you can use to identify burgeoning issues, facilitate communication between workers, and drive significant improvements to your plant’s overall productivity.
What Is a Production Floor Management System?
A production floor management system (a newer iteration of manufacturing execution system) is a software program that provides users with a real-time stream of production data. Even if they are offsite, this data provides workers, managers, executives, and other stakeholders full visibility into what is going on within the plant.
Among many other things, these systems can show you:
- How your plant is performing as measured by various KPIs, including data for each individual line
- When each of your machines last received maintenance and when the next maintenance is scheduled
- Whether there are any immediate problems happening on the floor, such as equipment malfunction or a work stoppage
- What the root cause of those issues might be based on the current state of production
Historical data should also be available for examination and analysis at any time. Many systems store months or even years of data you can access to generate reports.
How Can Real-Time Data Improve Your Manufacturing Efficiency?
You know things don’t always go perfectly on the factory floor, but you may not know why or what you can do about problems. Data streams help.
Real-time production tracking offers unrivalled levels of insight into your facility’s patterns and processes. Even with careful planning, not all adverse production events can be eliminated, but many of them are preventable.
For instance, machine breakdowns can be dramatically reduced with a comprehensive preventive maintenance program. Proactive policies like this can reduce the number of disruptions that happen within your facility and allow your staff to focus on interruptions that are truly out of your control.
Having access to real-time operational intelligence on this level also greatly increases manufacturers’ operational agility. Plants with technology are generally made aware of critical production problems much sooner than those relying on human oversight alone. This gives the plant the opportunity to resolve problems while their impact is still minimal.
In financial terms, the difference between a 15-minute work stoppage and an hour-long one is immense. Multiply the difference that early intervention makes by the number of stoppages that occur over the course of a year, and you’ll see just how effective production data tracking software can be.
What Makes a Good Production Floor Management System?
Any production efficiency tracking software can produce good results, but some production floor management systems are undoubtedly better than others.
The best systems:
- Are always accurate – Data that does not reflect what is actually going on in your factory cannot be used productively.
- Are equipped with automatic alerts – Alerts draw your attention to significant fluctuations in your production data, ensuring you never miss a potential problem on the floor.
- Can be accessed on mobile devices as well as desktop computers – This allows managers to take valuable production information with them as they travel the factory, correcting problems along the way.
- Display the data on a simple customizable dashboard – Everyone from rank-and-file workers to your CEO should be able to review the data and relevant KPIs at a glance.
- Facilitate communication among workers on the floor – Collaborative work is critical to manufacturing success. A good management system allows staff to send succinct messages to each other and organize efforts to complete tasks.
- Offer analytics that allow you to compare production across different lines and over time – This makes it possible to discover meaningful trends in the data that reveal localized problems such as a defective piece of equipment or an inadequately staffed production line.
- Provide timely information – If there is any delay in transmitting production information, that data immediately becomes less useful. Your software should be continuously gathering, synthesizing, and analyzing new data points to bring you the most current insights.
- Automate processes through user defined rules and actions – Managing production with automated tools improves a facility’s consistency and reactivity and saves significant amounts of time. Your tracking software should make it easy for you to build automated routines that allow you to manage your factory’s execution at any time and from any location.
Be proactive. Be productive.
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Get the Best Real-Time Manufacturing Tracking Software
You have so much to gain from installing quality manufacturing tracking software in your plant from greater transparency to higher profits. Matics’ production floor management system has produced proven results for hundreds of manufacturers. Many have been able to achieve OEE increases of up to 25% just a few weeks after installation.