Image of Software/MES being used on shop floor

Shop Floor Software Features

Shop Floor Software Features

// September 25, 2017 //

Manufacturing has gone from the age of manual labor to the age of robots, smart manufacturing and less individual labor for each product. Using software to increase productivity helps to build more products with the same labor and increase profits. Additionally, there are so many new tools and features, it is simply required for any competitive manufacturing firm to stay in business. These companies are continually investing in technology, streamlining processes, improving efficiency and reducing waste. There are a few important features to be considered.

Shop Floor Management

The first and most obvious issue is communicating shop floor processingmaterial tracking and product traceabilityto all layers of management and partners. When changes occur on the shop floor, the shop manager traditionally fills out a paper form to report the issues. The form is slowly laddered up the hierarchy so that all layers know about the issue. Similarly vendors, suppliers, partners and buyers also find out if it is pertinent to them.

However, under the traditional system of paper filing and management, this process can take days. That causes significant delays in communication and necessary responses. Today, implementing shop floor software streamlines the system. This type of production tracking software instantly informs all parties of changes. Individuals can also refer back to the information at later dates in time when necessary. This radically improves productivity and communication time.

Kanban Software Tools

Getting manufacturing down to a lean, optimized, just-in-time process is quite difficult. The kanban method was slowly honed over many years and requires the buy-in of workers all throughout the organization and on the shop floor.

However, this process is slightly easier today. Kanban software sheds light into the manufacturing progress can automatically inform both suppliers and buyers on the stages of production. When new supplies of raw materials are required, the tool can automatically inform suppliers to make sure shipment is issued in time for it to arrive when the next production run begins. Similarly, buyers can be informed when a production run is concluding and a new shipment is ready. The automated, transparent portal vastly improves the ability of manufacturing firms to abide by the kanban system, while actually decreasing the amount of work they need to do.

Additionally, these tools can be integrated into an existing manufacturing execution system (MES) so that a firm doesn't have to start from scratch. The MES is automated and works seamlessly with all of the other equipment on the floor.

Resource Management & Scheduling Software

Lastly, scheduling requirements and resource planning are always extremely complex for managers to organize and predict. There are simply too many factors for any one spreadsheet or manager to keep in their head and adequately plan. For that reason, scheduling and resource management software is ideal to alleviate the problem.

These types of shop software tools can take information including the availability of employees, different skill sets and different available equipment to organize the ideal production schedule for maximum utility. The resource utilization software takes into account what machines are available and which machines are being repaired or replaced. It also takes into account the available supplies of raw materials in inventory.

With all of these factors included, the software can automatically schedule production runs and let workers know when they are scheduled. Additionally, managers, buyers and partners will have a better understanding of the production process so they can arrange their schedules and business decisions to fit output.

Everything is put into an easy to use, intuitive, color coded format. Workers and managers can easily understand their responsibilities and execute on what is required. Again, this dramatically improves the efficiency of the production process of your shop floor.

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