Metrics that have been well communicated and carefully monitored are proven to increase quality, speed, and overall success. Too often, though, on the manufacturing floor, workers have limited access to the metrics that they need to understand.
In a recent webinar, Kerwin Everson, director of global accounts, supply chain solutions at RMG Networks, which recently introduced an intelligent visual communications systems for a the supply chain, talked about the top three threats to manufacturing efficiency:
- Threat #1: Not visualizing data in real time.
- Threat #2: Disparate and disconnected systems.
- Threat #3: Information silos.
Everson likens the old school system in manufacturing plants and distribution warehouses of tracking progress against goals that are printed out and put up on a bulletin board to putting the score of a football game out in front of the stadium. Think how silly it would seem to have the players run off the field to check the game's score.
Automated supply chain visualization solutions allow data to be put in front of the workers, either on a screen or a tablet, to keep information timely and goals top of mind. “Visual information helps people make quicker decisions and immediate actions mean faster resolutions to problems,” said Everson. “The key is to make sure that the right data is delivered to the right person at the right time in the right medium. That's what's needed to make data actionable.”
In addition, organizations can monitor metrics across a variety of topics, such as safety, quality, supply chain (on time delivery, aging inventory, slow movers, etc.), human resources (absenteeism, headcount), operations (production, waste, volume, etc.), and logistics. Using technology to monitor, track, and communicate metrics allows for real time updates and automated data retrieval across the breadth of organizational systems. “Any manufacturing space or distribution center has enough data to choke a horse, but if it's printed it's only as good as the last report that was printed. If it's out there and visualized, then workers can do something with it.”
In addition, it can make a measure difference to employee performance. Many manufacturers, for example, capture a 20% productivity increase while reducing defects, rework and scrap on the products they are making.
Let us know how your organization is using metrics to empower workers in the comments section below. Or let us know why you think the old systems are good enough.
— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN