Shop floor management is a simple phrase for a massive breadth of tasks. Whether we’re talking about production planning to supply chain monitoring to inventory management, we know the true value of your business lands on the shop floor.
Fortunately, there are a variety of digital solutions that can help keep each aspect of shop floor management organized, automated, and easy to view holistically.
In this article, we’ll briefly explain what shop floor management is, the key aspects it entails, and the digital technologies you can use to optimize and automate your shop floor experience.
What Is Shop Floor Management?
Shop floor management refers to the processes and workflows used to manage the area where assembly and production are performed. Shop floor management is needed whether you’re working with a workforce or automated machinery and devices, or most commonly, both.
Key Aspects of Shop Floor Management
Shop floor management is more than conducting daily team meetings and ensuring workflows are being carried out properly. It affects other departments, too, like shipping and receiving, inventory and warehouse, and even financial. That’s why it’s so important to run a tight ship, or in this case, shop.
Here are some of the key aspects of shop floor management that you can’t afford to let slip.
Shop floor managers should always be looking to improve processes, reduce costs, and increase margins. Teams that work on the shop floor need to collaborate to come up with strategies that streamline production and reduce wasted resources, time, and energy.
Shop floor management includes tracking and analyzing resources, like materials, inventory, humanpower, and machinery. Ensuring that these integrated processes are working efficiently minimizes downtime and helps your production goals stay on track.
Materials, Inventory, and Warehouse Management
Materials and inventory management is the process of ensuring you have the right amount of inventory and materials to reach targets without stockouts or costly excess. In other words, your shop floor managers should be tracking inventory levels, the supply chain, and optimizing their storage in the warehouse so that what is purchased is used efficiently, thereby lowering your carrying costs.
Quality Assurance and Quality Control
Another key aspect of shop floor management is quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC). Leadership teams and employees work together to report defects, issues with machinery, and other anomalies that may impact the quality of your products.
How to Optimize Shop Floor Management Using an ERP System
Thanks to the introduction of smart technology in manufacturing, you no longer need to rely solely on the keen eyes of your shop floor team to carry out shop floor management.
ERP systems designed for manufacturers play an integral role in assisting shop floor management. As integrated software solutions, ERP systems track, monitor, and streamline all aspects of your manufacturing process. They can also be integrated with IoT systems, providing your team with accurate data in real time.
Here’s how technologies like ERP and IoT can help you perform the above tasks faster.
Integration with Smart IoT Devices
Industrial IoT devices can be implemented on the shop floor in a number of ways. For example, smart sensors can be attached to machinery to detect anomalies. They can track temperature, pressure, timing, speed, and more, ensuring that the quality of products is high and consistent.
Use your ERP system to view and share this data with relevant teams. Adjacent teams, like logistics, financial, production, and operations, can use the data collected to make data-backed decisions.
Advanced Resource Allocation
ERP systems greatly reduce the amount of time your team has to spend crunching numbers when it comes to resource planning and scheduling. ERP systems offer real-time visibility into inventory and materials availability, equipment availability, and labor.
Manufacturing ERP systems typically come equipped with analytics that make it easy for employees to optimize production schedules, minimize down time, and maximize throughput.
Optimized Inventory and Materials Management
When it comes to inventory and materials management, ERP systems launch whole warehouses into the digital era.
ERP systems integrate with inventory management modules that track raw materials, finished goods, and works-in-progress (WIP). Warehouse employees can use barcode readers and RFID technology to track materials throughout the ordering, delivery, production, and distribution process precisely. You can even automate ordering to ensure you always have the best level of inventory available without excess.
ERP systems help minimize stockouts, reduce excess carrying costs, and ensure your team always has the inventory they need to perform optimally.
Integration with Shop Floor Automation Tech
If you’re already ahead of the digital transformation curve, you’re working with shop floor automation technology like manufacturing execution systems (MES), machine monitoring systems, and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.
Often, we find manufacturers are concerned that the implementation of an ERP system, or ERP upgrade, will throw a proverbial wrench in their processes. Fortunately, that’s not the case.
ERP systems can be seamlessly integrated with shop floor automation systems, making it easy for the systems to exchange data, monitor production in real-time, and make more informed decisions overall.
Optimized Workflows Through Automation
Perhaps the most powerful aspect of ERP systems is their ability to automate repetitive tasks. When it comes to the shop floor, those tasks include material requisitions, job scheduling, or reporting. Repetitive manual tasks like these pull precious time away from valuable employees and reduce morale.
ERP systems can be configured to automate these tasks. This frees up innumerable hours from your team members so they can focus on more meaningful, innovative tasks. It also reduces the risk of human error. Overall, automation increases productivity and cycle times on the shop floor.
More Informed Production Tracking
You no longer have to pore over tidbits of data pulled by team members to track and monitor production. ERP systems allow for real-time tracking of the whole production process.
Use built-in ERP features like work order management, production dashboards, and shop floor data collection (SFDC) systems to track production progress, key performance indicators (KPIs), and performance metrics to track production efficiency, identify bottlenecks, and make smarter decisions.
Ask Us About Shop Floor Management and ERP Solutions
We understand that the wealth of choices you have when it comes to shop floor solutions can be overwhelming. Our ERP implementation experts can help you create a custom-tailored plan to automate and optimize your shop floor. Contact us at Godlan today for a consultation.