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April 15, 2009

Real Time Solutions: The Manufacturing Industry (Part III)

By TMCnet Special Guest
Dan Boehm, Vice President Sales and Marketing

Managing your business or department through key performance objectives is a challenge given different sources of information and varying metrics. The challenge is even greater when the metrics are diversified due to the different objectives being monitored. Therefore, each department executive needs to have a customized summary performance report based upon their own metrics.
The real time summary reports are gathered from different sources of data, consolidated, manipulated and sent on a regular basis to the varying stakeholders. This process is automated, were it not it would take manpower and time and often lead to delayed decision making. Many times given the complexity of gathering the data it would not be accomplished at all. In an Automated Real Time Reporting Solution environment corrective actions are made rather than reactive management of the department’s challenges.

Often data is collected from different data sources and manually combined to generate a single view of the department or corporate performance. The value of these views is understood, however, when pressed for time these reports are not always created, mistakes can be made, and decisions are delayed while waiting on an up to date performance report. 
An Automated Real Time Reporting Solution will address the challenges met by decision makers, managers and agents when determining their current performance level. With dashboards, the executive will be able to see performance statistics in real time at the time of their choosing. Department heads, managers and supervisors will be able to effectively manage the team’s performance by viewing group statistics and when available individual statistics. Agents are able to view their own scorecards and are now empowered to improve their performance in real time.  An Automated Real Time Reporting Solution helps any business achieve its business performance goals.

Manufacturing has many functions that can use an Automated Real Time Reporting Solution. As the typical manufacturing plant continues to automate the need for real time reporting increases; fewer employees are utilized to maintain the operations. Therefore, when changes are required to the production line or an error/alarm occurs without real time reporting it, the cost to the business can be substantial.
A few of the departments that benefit from using an Automated Real Time Reporting Solution are:
  • Production
  • Distribution and warehouse
  • Logistics
  • Management
  • Safety
Production may not have the typical performance metrics that are used for measuring the performance of an employee, but the need to measure performance is just as great. Customers do not want to pay for the manufacturing errors or inefficiencies. Manually generated reports are too late to effect change on the factory floor. To save time, metrics need to be provided continually throughout the shift and where the information can do the most good, on the floor.
Some key performance metrics to be displayed:
  • Goals (Manually entered value)
  • Schedules (What should have been produced by a certain time)
  • Actual (What has actually been produced)
  • Variances (The difference between what should have been schedule and actual)
  • Production Schedules for the shift/day/week
  • Alarms (Something is broken)
  • Alerts (Something has exceeded a threshold)
  • Errors (Something is not functioning properly)
  • Messages (Safety, general information)
  • Materials required by line/cell/operator
Moving raw materials in and finished goods out can be an area of tremendous efficiency gains. Stopping to notify stores that raw materials are needed or to determine where the materials need to go are inefficient and can lead to production disruption, missed goals and safety concerns. 
Distribution and Warehouse metrics:
  • Where a product should be stored
  • Where a product should be loaded
  • What product to pick
  • What cell needs materials
  • What truck, rail, container or boat to unload next
  • Orders filled for the day
  • Trucks, rail cars, containers, or boats unloaded for the day
  • Messages
  • Alarms
Logistics performance metrics could include:
  • What bay to work current
  • What bay to work next
  • Where to load product
  • Where to unload product
  • Yard traffic information (Trucks in the yard, trucks to be loaded/unloaded)
  • Which drivers to work which bay
  • Messages
  • Alarms
Performance metrics for production managers and executives is generally a higher level view of the business rather than the details of production, logistics, the warehouse or errors. Management metrics will vary by business and goals for the business.
Typical Automated Real Time Reporting will include the following measurements:
  • Production counts
  • Production Schedules
  • Production for the shift/day/week
  • Critical alarms for the shift/day/week
  • Orders completed
  • Orders delayed
  • Revenue
  • Lost time accidents
In today’s production environment, managers and executives are trying to reduce waste and cost. Extra steps, errors, lack of direction, over production, under production, wrong order to loading, unloading and lack of materials all cost the manufacturing operation time and money. In a lean environment customers are unwilling to pay for the inefficiencies in the production department. Automated Real Time performance alerts the decision makers to inefficiencies so they may be corrected proactively. 

To read the first part of this series, about the Financial Industry, please click here. To read the second part of this series about the Healthcare Industry, please click here.  To learn more about Spectrum (News - Alert) Corporation visit their TMCnet's Call Center Digital Signage channel or check out their Website.

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Edited by Jessica Kostek

Technology Marketing Corporation

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