Replace Your Outdated Whiteboard with a Digital Solution
Manufacturers have always needed to track shop floor activity. In recent years this has taken on many forms, including production updates hand-written on shop floor management boards. The issue I have seen, in working with our clients, is those shop floor boards are not providing real-time information that is so absolutely crucial to planning and production. The good news? A straightforward solution, with a tremendous impact on shop floor productivity, is well within reach. It is possible to easily replace shop floor management boards, like one of our manufacturing clients did, with an automated solution in Epicor ERP.
Concern: Wasting Valuable Production Time On Outdated Whiteboard
The client in question, who was already using Epicor ERP, was also using whiteboards to track several key metrics. Information they were tracking for their manufacturing reporting included receiving data, production data, quality management information, and past due orders.
Each time they needed to make a production update, a shop floor employee would sign into Epicor, look up the data, write it down and then write that same information on the board. A handful of shop floor employees had to go through this process several times per shift. And each time this process took them off of a machine and wasted valuable production time.
A Low-Cost, High-Impact Solution: Digital Dashboards
One of the great features in Epicor is its ability to create custom dashboards. After consulting with the client, my implementation consulting team created a custom dashboard that pulled all the critical information (receiving data, production data, past due orders, etc.) into one place.
Next, we synced that dashboard to display monitors which were installed and set up around the shop floor. Now, the information fed into Epicor is displayed on those monitors in real-time. The dashboards are programmed to refresh as often as the client needs for each shift.
Benefits of an Automated Solution
Our client is already seeing the benefits of the custom dashboards with improved shop floor efficiency.
Shop floor employees are saving hours of time each week. Their time and concentration is not interrupted throughout the shift, freeing them to perform production-related tasks, thus improving overall throughput time.
No More Redundant, Manual Data Entry
No longer does the shop floor employee have to look up information in Epicor ERP, write it down and then write it again on the shop floor management board. This reduces the risk of incorrect, out-of-date information being posted and acted upon.
The real-time updates offer a greater exchange of information for everyone on the production team. Shop floor managers have real-time insight into production allowing them to respond to problems quickly. Management execution and decision-making has improved as a direct result.
Shop floor employees can look at the updates to see how well they are performing throughout their shift. Everyone involved on the production team is able to trust the validity of the data because it comes directly from ERP.
Automation Trumps Manual Data Entry
By replacing whiteboards and using the custom dashboard feature in Epicor, our client has turned an inefficient, slow process into an advantage. When coupled with the shop floor monitors, these dashboards have improved manufacturing efficiency and visibility into operations. Everyone involved in the production team benefits from valid, real-time, highly visible data.