Manufacturers need shop floor control in order to effectively schedule, track, and report on work orders and their progress through the production process. Work progress is usually defined as a percentage of total work or work towards completion on a work order or set of work orders, but visibility to where specific work is helps managers control completion. Shop floor control gives manufacturers valuable insights to manage productivity and efficiency, optimize inventories and logistics, and plan materials and supply chain needs. In today’s fast-moving economy, manufacturers cannot rely on manual, spreadsheet-based methods that do little more than document a point-in-time. They need the real-time visibility of a cloud-based, shop floor control ERP.

The Benefits of Efficient Shop Floor Control

Improving shop floor control is simply one more component of continuous improvement for manufacturers. This requires a foundation for measuring the state of play so it can be improved, identifying those opportunities for improvement, and sharing knowledge and directing progress for incremental improvements. When the shop floor is under control versus continual firefighting, manufacturers can increase efficiency and productivity while reducing errors and plugging gaps in production processes. The results are not just more efficient production; it also creates a foundation for operational excellence.

Let’s drill down on each of these areas on how shop floor control contributes to improvement in continuous improvements metrics and ROI.

Increased Operational Efficiency

Modern shop floor control enables manufacturers to overcome slow, cumbersome, error-prone manual processes that do not deliver control, but rather consume time while inviting mistakes. Shop floor control focuses on eliminating production errors and wasted activities that result in scrap and rework.

Increase Shop Floor Productivity

A cloud-based shop floor control ERP delivers real-time feedback that increases the speed and accuracy of information, helping managers, workers, and teams make better, more timely production decisions. It also enables real-time access to the data required to allocate resources, move materials, and keep operations running smoothly and swiftly. Real-time visibility to production that may be slowing or even sensor data streaming machine health information can be critical to reducing downtime.

Reduced Errors

Shop floor control solutions that require digital data inputs provide operations teams with timely visibility into key metrics and reports by capturing that data directly, versus relying on manual data entry that causes delays and results in errors of transposition. By reducing these errors, workers can perform their work with more confidence, increasing shop floor productivity and creating a virtuous cycle of fewer errors during production.

Uncover Loopholes in Production or Processes

With real-time visibility into shop floor data, managers can more easily spot anomalies and quickly work to mitigate those challenges. Slower, more manual approaches are the antithesis of control and allow for productivity-sapping workarounds or inefficiencies to linger, unknown or unrecorded, for months or even years.

Gain More Control and Drive Operational Excellence

All of the above elements give manufacturers a foundation from which to improve all other areas of operations, from time-to-market and product quality to customer satisfaction and product design. Good shop floor control allows managers to rely on notifications and alerts versus constant monitoring or pestering frontline workers so they can focus on process improvements to circumvent problems before they ever happen. But, for upstream R&D, engineering, and product design teams, shop floor control can telegraph valuable operational insights to drive more efficient use of materials, design for manufacturability, and more.

As supply chains become more constrained, and thus more rigid, manufacturers need to build agility into their operations to respond to disruptions versus always being reactive. Accenture notes that over the past couple years, there is an increasing tradeoff between efficiency and resiliency for manufacturers. Tighter shop floor control helps insulate operations from supply chain issues by providing more detailed and more accurate production data to up and downstream teams as they work to secure replacement materials or reset customer expectations.

The result of the improved production insights from shop floor control gives manufacturers the operational data to support and inform improvement initiatives across the entire manufacturing business.

Best Practices for Shop Floor Control in Operations Management

Effective operations management builds its foundation on the shop floor. Order planning, capacity planning, order scheduling, materials logistics, production order release, and other decisions made with the aid of shop floor control are critical to operations management. Therefore, operations management is critically dependent on effective shop floor management. The fundamental best practices rely on capturing the right data, in the right context, so processes can be controlled by data, not by accident.  Best-in-class manufacturers leverage the insights from the data to drive their continuous improvement opportunities.

Improved Materials and Resource Scheduling

Demand for faster production and delivery in an environment with supply chain constraints has increased complexity yet calls for making quicker decisions. Shop floor control is only possible if the right information gets to the right people at the right time.

But simply supplying information is only half of the answer. Shop floor managers must also be able to recognize deviations and out-of-control processes and be guided to the insights necessary to solve issues. With digital operational data measured against digital targets and control characteristics, data automation systems, such as ERP systems, can report out-of-plan conditions. Most importantly, they can flag materials and resource shortages that might challenge quality and delivery expectations. Shop floor control gives managers the early warning signals that require intervention early enough to mitigate potential failures.

Digitize Processes on the Shop Floor

Manufacturers have traditionally managed shop floor control through tedious spreadsheets and manual shop floor data collection. Those types of processes are rearward looking at best, giving managers yesterday’s information that does not help make tomorrow’s decisions. To stay competitive and be able to meet customer demands, manufacturers need to digitize processes, add automation to streamline repeatable tasks, and consolidate all of their data sources to provide comprehensive insights.

Shop floor control ERP can digitize those processes and provide myriad benefits, such as:

  • Real-time data that enables accurate, actionable, and timely decisions.
  • Improved shop floor management for greater productivity with the same or fewer resources.
  • Added support for specific processes and manufacturing modes to increase flexibility to enable engineer-to-order services
  • More flexibility to manage manufacturing and distribution from the same platform.
  • Improved quality control for reduced scrap, waste, and rework.
  • Real-time reporting and dashboards to quickly disseminate critical insights to managers and workers on the shop floor.
  • Timely communication for more accurate root cause analysis, more effective problem-solving, and faster issue resolution.
  • Improved safety for an injury-free shop floor environment.
  • Lower operational costs for better profitability.

How Cloud ERP Improves Shop Floor Control

Cloud ERP systems enable manufacturers of any size to overcome the challenges of modern shop floor control. It gives workers and managers the visibility, accuracy, and automation necessary to bring continuous improvement to the shop floor and end-to-end operational excellence to the business.

Using cloud ERP systems deliver a myriad of benefits:

  • Real-time visibility with dashboards for faster, easier access to data.
  • Tracking of key metrics against operational goals to drive continuous improvement.
  • Replace manual, paper-based workflows with data-driven processes.
  • Ensure operators and managers have immediate visibility into production status.
  • Flexible, drag-&-drop re-scheduling to respond to disruptive, unplanned downtime.
  • Track setup time by incorporating it into the workflow when dispatching jobs.

Cloud ERP Helps Manufacturers Identify Opportunities for Continuous Improvement

Shop floor control ERP helps manufacturers search for and identify continuous improvement opportunities exposed by monitoring and analyzing operational data. It becomes the foundation for monitoring important metrics, testing solutions to potential issues, tracking progress, and communicating progress. Shop floor control can then be a catalyst of continuous improvement by highlighting opportunities to increase efficiency and productivity while reducing errors, allowing more time for analysis and higher-value work, and giving leaders the confidence to act.

Rootstock Manufacturing ERP System

Rootstock Cloud ERP on the Salesforce Platform improves operational controls. Rootstock helps manufacturers manage the production and material flow with suppliers and across operations and facilities. It also helps manage work order lifecycles, production routing, and the assembly and manufacture items on the shop floor, along with many more features to enhance, modernize, and improve shop floor control.