Improving shop floor productivity and performance along with product quality is one of the most critical goals in manufacturing. One way to do this is to use a state-of-the-art manufacturing ERP solution that connects the shop floor to the top floor and unifies different manufacturing lines, programs, and applications to help manufacturers follow their desired strategic directions. But to drive efficiency on the shop floor, it’s essential to know how to make the most of the data stored in your ERP system. Here is how you can do this.
- Get reports and estimates: From productivity and quality control to performance and profitability, ERP data fuels a variety of analytical processes. Though many manufacturers use manufacturing ERP data to perform some simple tasks (e.g. identifying materials needed to complete specific projects and calculating costs associated with different jobs), ERP data can also be used to get relevant information in specific circumstances. Supposedly, a vendor informs you that there will be a delay in raw material supply. You can use certain datasets to determine how long you can postpone the production of the goods including that material and estimate the impact of late deliveries on your business. Based on ERP data, you can also identify the purchase and production orders for which vendors still need to deliver materials, purchase requisitions that are yet to be converted into purchase orders, open invoices that must be paid, maintenance work orders that need to be performed, etc.
- Use Gantt charts: Manufacturing ERP data can be a messy mix, especially for a company manufacturing complex products. The Gantt chart, however, is one of the few tools you can use to efficiently manage a variety of production processes. Also referred to as the GPS of manufacturing, the Gantt chart provides schematic representations of different projects to give more clarity and certainty over manufacturing processes and timelines. It also makes reporting straight forward and speaks the language of both management and working levels, boosting efficiency and agility in any manufacturing environment. With Gantt charts, project data, product specifications, manufacturing bills, recipes, formulas, inventories, and configurations are much simplified, allowing for more efficient, real-time production planning and monitoring.
- Verify training records: ERP data can also help you select employees with the right knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform a certain job. You can even configure your system to analyze and compare various training data so that you can assign tasks based on your staff’s training. Delegating particular tasks to untrained employees may lead to unexpected, undesirable, and unsafe performance, which may further result in damage to equipment or products, or in personal injury. But using manufacturing ERP data to find qualified, skilled workers for the job can help you achieve the best results and minimize the risk of injury in the workplace.
- Promote manufacturing transparency: For many people, the manufacturing floor is nothing else than a “black hole”. Very simply, materials that enter a plant at one end exit as finished goods at the other end. But with an increasing number of customers interested in getting information about the origins of raw materials and seeing their orders moving through work centers and warehouses, manufacturing transparency has become a critical issue. Since you already have the manufacturing ERP data your customers may be looking for, the only thing you need to do is to give them access to relevant modules and datasets.
- Use data analytics tools: Analytics tools have the inherent capacity to offer real-time decision support, helping manufacturers shorten production cycles, better adapt to disruptions, convert flexibility into efficiency, and respond to market demands. But regardless of the analytics tools you use, you must ensure that they meet current and future needs and demands.
Most ERP solutions include multiple modules that function in an integrated manner to make available timely, accurate, complete, and consistent manufacturing ERP data. Based on the data they get, manufacturers can galvanize their strategies, systems, and processes, with a positive effect on business agility, performance, and productivity.