How can I capture my shop floor data more efficiently?

How can I capture my shop floor data more efficiently?

One thing that surprised me most when working in ERP is how many companies are still relying on spreadsheets to run important processes. Not only that, some are relying on handwritten notes or even hand signals across the shop floor (maybe not serious ones all the time!).

I would go as far as to say EVERY business I visited or spoke to, despite having an ERP in place had a spreadsheet for something.

The question is why. Well, there are various reasons...

ERPs can be complicated. If there is a change of staff or someone is off sick and there is no contingency planning or training in place, then a spreadsheet might make an easy alternative. 

The problem is, once you've started it's hard to give it up. 

I also found that customers would go through an ERP implementation and then never quite get round to finishing it. So some areas got left out and of course, the data needs to go somewhere...

The shop floor is often one of those areas. A surprising amount of businesses have no idea what is going on down there until someone inputs the information into a computer at the end of the day or week.

It is possible in this day and age to have real-time data captured via a device on the shop floor and to have that show up on a dashboard on your computer screen for analysis instantly.

This can be achieved by having handhelds, tablets or touchscreens on the shop floor (what you have depends on what suits your operations best) and tracking jobs as they happen.

For example:

Scanning barcodes of all the parts that are being used in an assembly so that they are traceable later down the line.

Pressing a button on a screen to capture when a job has started and stopped. 

This will give you a better idea of what material is being consumed and when you need to reorder it. 

Your ERP vendor will have either an app that can be downloaded or a shop floor data capture screen that is viewable on a browser or through a remote desktop connection which facilitates this.

Going one step further you could use IOT (the internet of things) to keep tabs on the equipment you use and alert you to any issues and also help with planning downtime and servicing. (This is another blog article for another time!)

Shop floor is probably one of the easier parts of an ERP to get setup.  We'd be happy to speak with your ERP provider contact so that we can identify the correct devices for your project to work for your business and with their software.

Perhaps it's time to look at improving efficiencies?

Why do I need a rugged device?  Can't I just use my mobile phone?