In a previous blog post, we defined a Manufacturing Execution System as an Information Technology system that improves the production process and performs 11 core functions. While an MES may be right for large manufacturers who have a lot of capital, it is often cost prohibitive for small to medium sized manufacturers due to high upfront costs, and the need for customization and a long implementation process. In this post, we’ll look at a shop floor management platform (Shop Floor IQ) as a possible alternative to a Manufacturing Execution System.
In order to decide if Shop Floor IQ might be your best solution, let’s look at the 11 core functions of a Manufacturing Execution System that we discussed in our previous post and see where Shop Floor IQ fits in.
1. Operations management. Allow everyone to see planned production orders and their production routing in one central location to reduce or eliminate miscommunication errors. Multiple timers can be displayed on a line scoreboard like this one. Here, you can see the real-time status of multiple stations on multiple lines.
2. Dispatching production units. Get real-time production data from the shop floor to the top floor and vice versa. Prevent downtime through effective communication. You can produce more and waste less by dispatching quality inspectors, weld inspectors, management and critical machinery/assets to a station when needed. Reduce impact on productivity by enabling messages to be sent and received between individual shop floor stations and the management team. Messages can be delivered via text, e-mail or displayed on the station’s display.
3. Product tracking and genealogy. Group final parts or batches with all their corresponding manufacturing data to ensure (government or industry) compliance. Through a RESTful API, Shop Floor IQ can integrate with any new or existing software.
4. Labor management. Keep track of skills or authorizations employees require at each step in the production process so no one is unqualified for what they are doing. While Shop Floor IQ is not a repository for paperwork-type of shop floor management, it manages your labor’s productivity by giving you instant insight into station efficiency so you can better manage your labor and discover who performs best, when and where.
5. Quality management. Track quality deviations and exceptions in product. Through virtual and physical Andons, station operators can signal up to five different conditions from their station, and management can monitor all statuses in real-time from any internet enabled device.
6. Maintenance management. Plan preventive machine maintenance at optimal times to reduce downtime and production interruptions. With Shop Floor IQ, you can audit all start/stop actions for any timer cycle and get automatic notifications when timers expire, allowing you to schedule
7. Data collection and acquisition. Track and gather essential data as needed in real time. From any internet-enabled device, you can securely see what’s going on at any station at any time.
8. Process management. Be able to trace product all the way through production and provide process routing and operational sequencing. With Shop Floor IQ, you won’t have to write a single line of code. Using the fully integrated rules-engine, you are able to configure Shop Floor IQ to work the way your manufacturing operations work.
9. Performance analysis. Have access to analytics that calculate key performance indicators so you can find areas needing improvement. With Shop Floor IQ, audit all start/stop actions for any timer cycle and track station efficiency with insightful analytics, so it’s easy to spot bottlenecks.
10. Document control. Eliminate time wasted looking for important documents by providing a central location where they can be accessed as needed. Again, Shop Floor IQ is not a document center, but through a RESTful API, it can integrate with any new or existing software.
11. Resource allocation and status. Know which and how resources are used in the production process through tracking capabilities. With Shop Floor IQ’s rules-engine, you are able to configure Shop Floor IQ so that you can keep track of the shop floor at all times.
While Shop Floor IQ is not an MES, it does provide manufacturers with real-time, actionable insights to improve labor productivity. Plus, implementation is quick and easy, so there is no need to shut down for days, making it more ideal for small to mid-sized manufacturers.