It seems that every new robotics package, software, and seminar promises greater productivity and efficiency for manufacturing.

So, with all these advertised results, why hasn’t national manufacturing productivity skyrocketed?

It’s pretty simple really.

There is no one thing or idea that can do it.

Efficiency is the result of a carefully managed and choreographed dance between optimized employee skillsets, equipment, technology, and processes.

If any of these individual components are out of sync, there is no way to get the productivity boost you desire.

The next question is…

What is the ONE THING that optimizes the efforts of your employees, the function of your equipment, the role of your technology and the fluidity of your manufacturing processes?

TECHNOLOGY

From the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, every advances in efficiency have come about because a new technology made it possible for a person, a machine, or a process to operate faster or at a larger scale.

So, what are the things that an IT support company like Blue Star can do to improve efficiency on the manufacturing shop floor?

  1. MEASURE – Everything has to start with a baseline. That’s the beginning for the manufacturing efficiency formula. If you don’t know the baseline analytics, you cannot optimize your employee effort, equipment, technology, and processes for high productivity. Each individual piece of the puzzle on the shop floor – from the way materials are moved to the internal network handling the manufacturing process – must be analyzed and put into baseline numbers. That’s where you start.
  2. IDENTIFY CHOKE POINTS – Once you’ve done the work of gathering baseline data, it’s now on to surveying both the baseline data gathered and input from the workers themselves. Usually, the people actually doing the work will gladly point you in the right direction if it means that your efforts will make their jobs easier or less stressful. From the manufacturing efficiency metrics that you gather from the people and the data, patterns will begin to appear. These patterns identify choke points where the flow of productivity in the manufacturing process is being
  3. DATA MINING – Going one step further than using data to identify the problem, Big Data allows the IT consulting professionals to take the thousands of data points produced by workers and machinery and formulate a manufacturing efficiency plan to remove the choke points within the workflow. This involves using Big Data to assign value to each resource in the manufacturing process, reassigning resources where necessary and setting realistic goals based on the data – not hopes and unrealistic deadline promises to clients. This realistic examination, reassignment, and setting achievable high-efficiency goals is only possible by obtaining and analyzing the manufacturing efficiency metrics.
  4. TRAINING – We are all creatures of habit – even if those habits are not the most productive. And although your employees want to be efficient, they’d usually rather do things the old way quickly than take the time to learn new technologies. Besides their innate unease with what is new is the thought in the back of their mind that says, “If I take time to learn this, then I won’t get as much done and the boss will be upset.” As leaders, we have to make sure that we leave time in our employee’s year for learning and improvement. Without that permission to grow and achieve, your employees will be at a loss as to how to improve manufacturing efficiency.
  5. SMARTER TOOLS – Why isn’t this item number one in our list? – Because without the baseline, the manufacturing efficiency metrics, and the employee training, smart tools like waterjet machining and CNC mills gather dust or are not used to their full potential. But for the sake of argument, let’s say that you have everything in place – the analytics, the strategy, and the trained people. What are you missing? – SYNCHRONIZATION. Because the Blue Star team of IT consultants looks at smart manufacturing tools from the perspective of how they work instead of what they do, we can show you how to get your various tools – from the front office technology to the robotics on the floor – to work in synchronized harmony and setting a new manufacturing efficiency standard in your organization.. Without this communication between tools and departments, your efficiency and your money is going down the drain.
  6. ORGANIZATION – In conjunction with collaboration (getting disparate systems to talk to each other) is the element of organization. Sure, your process works just fine. But are you willing to settle for “just fine”? You need a manufacturing efficiency plan that works, and the information technology professionals of Blue Star can help you formulate that plan. The goal of an organizational approach to technology management for manufacturing is to drive as much chaos as possible out of the workflow. By moving to a paperless, user-friendly application based system, many manufacturing facilities drastically cut down on systemic inefficiencies. Why? Well, when the technology is collecting the data instead of the employees and the paper, printing, and data entry are eliminated, significant time and energy savings are realized.

What about your shop floor? Is it running like a well-oiled machine?

It is?

Great!

Okay. Next question…

Is it a well-oiled machine from Henry Ford’s era or a modern, data-driven, globally competitive machine?

Sure, you can have efficiency with manual labor and tools that date back to the turn of the century, but it’s tough to meet the deadlines and nearly impossible to compete.

No matter where your manufacturing firm is on the modernization process, the professional and friendly team of IT professionals over at Blue Star will help you with your IT to take the next logical steps toward greater efficiency and profitability.

Let us help you achieve more! Get started now by calling (574) 975-0767 or emailing us at info@bluestarpro.com

Published on 15th September 2017 by Jon Morningstar

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