Manufacturing Labor Time– Not what it used to be!

As recently mentioned in the NY Times Newspaper of Jan 3, 2018…

“Tech has helped undercut the power of incumbent institutions — governments, political parties, the media, the patriarchy…”

Not to mention the incumbent institution of labor time reporting!

Many metal fabrication and plastic parts manufacturers still have labor time systems that were not designed to help improve the factory floor performance. The article below covers the topics of: MES, OEE, Alerts, Analytics, Paperless, Trace/Track along with a short fun quiz to help you assess your company’s factory floor performance.

Too often, factory floor labor time systems do not consider the real-world situations of companies that have implemented:

  • automated equipment that runs unattended
  • jobs that are grouped together as one and run simultaneously
  • jobs that are split onto multiple machines and run simultaneously

Many of these systems were built with only accounting in mind. There was no consideration of having a labor time systems that allows improvement in managing floor activities to help with improving factory effectiveness, quality and performance.    Once the jobs became active on the floor, labor time tickets and paperwork were collected at the end of a shift and the data was entered that night or the next day by someone in the front office. This process was flawed resulting in

  • a disconnection from real-time error-proofing of floor activities
  • unnecessary delays in floor visibility
  • incorrect transactions that work themselves into the ERP system

Although many ERP systems have added bolt on data collection systems (or so called automated solutions), the underlying lack of functionally to provide real floor improvement is still missing…because of old assumptions. Even still today, the value of a labor time tracking system implementation is from an accounting (after-the-fact) with little consideration given to labor accountability (pro-active) management and factory activity control.

The newest in factory floor MES Solutions are built with a different set of assumptions and companies benefit in seven (7) important ways:

  1. Improved Accuracy

    MES labor time reporting solutions expect to receive information as workers finish a “unit of work” and safeguards are built into the system to prevent missing or over inflated labor time. For example, the time associated with two jobs that run simultaneously must be spit appropriately. Regardless of whether the productions are reported directly from the machine OEE or manually, workers can be automatically clocked in/out of jobs before moving on to the next job/ part or before leaving the factory for the shift. This ensures that reported time is more accurate, since it doesn’t rely on end-of-shift recall.

  2. Reduced Scrap

    When workers report in real time, the system can provide alerts to shop floor supervision when labor has reported too much scrap. This “over-scrap” alarm technology recognizes problems quickly, and can send text messages to mobile phones anytime – anywhere. This helps to prevent lengthy timeframes of manufacturing bad parts that must be scrapped, thereby shrinking costs and reducing time spent on rework. It also captures specific scrap reason codes for identification of areas of possible improvements that can be reflected in analytics. This ultimately allows smart companies to become more lean by allowing management to visualize historical real-time records for an association between people, parts, processes and assets for improvements in operator training or process changes.

  3. Increased Agility

    As customer requirements change, shop floor priorities change. Knowing when a job completes an operation and moves to the next step provides awareness of job changes so the scheduling team can ensure that high priority jobs are worked on as soon as possible. DIFOT (Delivery in full on time) will increase as higher priority jobs can be optimized to be completed ahead of others job but without hurting the DIFOT of those lower priority jobs.

  4. Better Pricing

    Since newer MES software provides a paperless error proof approach to capturing labor in real time without the need for operator time entry, labor costs are more accurate. There is no rounding of hours to ensure they add up to the shift time, and there is no danger of forgotten jobs. There is no delay at shift, day, week or end of pay period while waiting for all labor transactions to be approved (with or without a Time and Attendance System) and data to be entered correctly.

    Visibility is immediate and error-proofed in real-time for accuracy. More accuracy in labor time applied to specific parts helps a manufacturing company improve costing and then improve pricing and subsequently improve profitability on every job.

  5. Inexpensive Deployment

    Unlike the old assumption of labor time tracking through:

    • written time sheets/cards which must be manually distributed and collected and often suffer from illegibility or
    • bar code devices that are expensive and paper-based, real time paperless labor reporting is ideal for wireless implementations using inexpensive tablets and touch screens. Deploying devices in each work center and/or machine on the shop floor ensures that workers have easy access to report in a timely manner, and today’s touchscreens even operate when the worker is wearing gloves.
  6. Floor Visibility

    Rather than wait days or weeks to monitor production metrics, shop floor supervisors can see all work-in-process in real time. This enables them to tackle problems quickly, preventing lost productivity and providing training or guidance where necessary. It also provides better information for estimating delivery dates and helps prevent downtime or other lost time delays. Production tracking can be held in a conference room in front of a real-time summary screen that is a true “window-into-the-factory-floor and this becomes a simple, routine part of the day, rather than a weekly or monthly obligation that provides little opportunity for impact.

  7. Traceability

    When products have track and trace requirements, real time visibility can be extremely helpful in reporting all items or components accurately, in real-time with an identified operator. And being able to track/trace products from customer back to raw material lots should always include the touch labor associated with all factory activities for identification and potential corrective actions.

    The benefits of real time labor reporting are real, and they affect every area of manufacturing operations. It can improve customer service, reduce costs, improve traceability and make implementing changes simpler. No manufacturing company should attempt to compete in today’s complex and competitive business environment without an effective MES real-time labor reporting solution.

Take this short quiz to see how you measure-up with factory floor performance…

Performance Assessment takes less than a minute!

Contact us for more information or obtain a quick free assessment and quote.

1-800-369-6377 or click here for our Website.

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