In the challenge series, we delve into the most common challenges facing manufacturers today and how they can be solved. The seventh challenge:
How to avoid drowning in unnecessary paperwork
The manufacturing challenge:
The manufacturer is drowning in paperwork and struggling to keep up with any shop floor issues as they happen, before they escalate. Important paper-based documents are getting lost and they are relying on physical hard copies of plans, drawings and instructions. It’s become ineffective and expensive, constantly purchasing paper, stationery and printers!
They are not able to prevent minor outages or hurdles from becoming big problems and hence they aren’t able to keep schedules on track. They have no way of measuring and analysing their processes to target the issues when they arise, at the source!
It is very difficult to figure out what improvements need to happen and time-consuming to identify the problems. They need to find a way to improve communication and work more efficiently, using technology to move away from manual, paper-based methods and enable continuous improvement initiatives to be effective.
A technology solution such as LYNQ MES can help by optimising manufacturing processes to avoid manual paper-based processes, solve problems on time and avoid production delays to work more productively and effectively. This can be obtained by implementing:
- A paperless shop floor,
- Instant messaging,
- Configurable alerts and
- Automated issue management
What is improvement? Something that hasn’t been done before!
Before the manufacturer can see what needs to change, they have to be able to measure their current processes. This will then equip them with the data that they need in order to identify where improvements can be made.
How do LYNQ’s four key optimising features help to improve manufacturing operations?
- Paperless shop floor: LYNQ’s solution is principally web-based, so it can be accessed on multiple devices like tablets, laptops or smartphones on the shop floor. It is obtainable from a web browser where the employees can stay informed of any changes or updates in the production process, reducing errors and improving efficiency, on the shop floor, in real time. Paper trails are costly, time-consuming and unreliable. LYNQ’s solution allows a manufacturer to eliminate paper, forms and spreadsheets by making everything accessible digitally at the touch of a button. This way, there is much more visibility for everyone, and information is accessible immediately. Management can access data from the shop-floor in real-time and employees can ask a question or raise an issue instantly up the chain, all via tablets or laptops. Implementing a paperless job floor can help to streamline processes, reduce errors, and improve efficiency, ultimately leading to cost savings and improved profitability. Read more about how to move on from Excel
- Instant messaging: This becomes the go-to solution to communicate directly with the appropriate person, in real-time. Factors such as employees going on a break, any issues arising or an alert of malfunction etc. are examples of when instant messages can be made. Shop floor employees can send instant messages for fast, efficient communication in real time so that issues can be dealt with before they become bigger problems. Instant messaging can help to speed up decision-making by allowing stakeholders to communicate and exchange information quickly. This can be particularly helpful in situations where quick decisions are needed to address unexpected production issues.
- Configurable alerts: Setting automatic alerts is instrumental in being able to react swiftly to issues that could cause significant production loss. A clocking-in system can also be set up to ensure employee time is being utilised effectively. If while clocked in, the employee is idle, management has the ability to adjust workforce allocation to make the employee’s time more effective, keeping overall manufacturing operations productive. Being able to use alerts allow the team to react quickly, and they’re able to raise issues on the shop floor, which can then be reviewed, assigned, and resolved. Configurable alerts can provide early warning in the production process, such as equipment malfunctions or material shortages. This can help to prevent more significant problems from occurring, reducing downtime and improving overall production efficiency.
- Automated Issue management: Things don’t always run smoothly, and the shop floor may experience some downtime. These issues need to be recorded and tracked so, if there is an opportunity for a process to be improved, this is highlighted and acted upon by the manufacturer. Being able to identify these issues, enables the manufacturer to keep those affected informed of the downtime and any holdbacks, in real-time. The problem is dealt with swiftly, before escalation, and efficient, productive manufacturing can be resumed. Production managers are able to monitor the progress of issue resolution as well as ensure that all output meets quality standards.
The manufacturer’s end result here is to be able to resolve issues fast, communicate swiftly, reduce downtime, improve control, increase output and, most importantly, remain competitive.