Phil Lewis, vice-president, solution consulting EMEA at Infor
It is easy for basic shop floor activities to fall to the bottom of the list of IT priorities for manufacturers. Asymptomatic issues such as inventory inaccuracies or idle equipment can go undetected until a major incident brings them to the forefront.
Seemingly minor issues such as unexplained fluctuations in labour costs can suddenly escalate and become major setbacks, affecting growth, profits and production cycles across many departments.
The question is therefore how do you spot these issues before they arise. Manufacturers have many options for managing the factory floor, from tools within their ERP system to add-on MES systems and point solutions for areas with specialised needs.
However, siloes of data frustrate the development of visibility into the full operation. Without integration and real time visibility to one version of production status, pinpointing errors or inefficiency may be impossible.
Managers may simply have a vague feeling that productivity isn’t ‘where it could be’ and delays ‘are getting out of hand’ or ‘something’ needs to be done. But what? Specifics are vital. Are occasional gaps in communication delaying orders? Are machines sitting idle while shipments of raw goods are waiting to be moved to the floor? Are the necessary components even in stock, received from the supplier or ordered yet? These ‘glitches’ in production may seem like normal aspects of complex manufacturing. They are not.
High performing manufacturers have eliminated these nuisance errors. They know that integration can cut hiccups in production cycles with a significant impact on the bottom line. This integration cuts the waste of resources and reduces the risks that threaten on time and in full delivery to customers.
Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 12 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.
Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.