To increase profitability, manufacturers need to produce a greater quantity of merchandise at high levels of quality and efficiency, at a speed that delivers product to market before consumer tastes change. Although it is an increasingly digital world, the majority of apparel, soft goods and home furnishings manufacturers rely on outdated production tracking methods. Some still use pencil and paper. Others record work in progress with gum sheets in a production book and transfer that data into a legacy software system or an Excel spreadsheet at the end of shift.
Six Ways to Benefit by Automating Shop Floor Control
Shop Floor Control software is designed to track the progress of production throughout a sewing operation. Running across multiple platforms and devices, Shop Floor Control allows supervisors, managers and workers to receive real-time information and notifications regarding work in progress (WIP).
With real-time tracking of manufacturing operations, manufacturers can make changes more quickly to optimize efficiency and quality. Here are six ways that Shop Floor Control makes a positive impact that can directly contribute to improved profitability.
1. Increase Productivity and Efficiency
Implementing Shop Floor Control creates a more productive environment that yields greater operational efficiencies all through the production process. These efficiencies include real-time planning and scheduling, instant document delivery, scanning, facial recognition time tracking, quality control tools, real time alerts to machine issues and more.
Gum sheets get replaced with real-time scanning and tracking. Employees gain immediate access to job information, so they can keep working without waiting. Managers get up-to-the-minute reporting about quality, employee performance and labor costs.
Most companies enjoy rapid productivity gains of 10-15% after deploying Shop Floor Control software. When they elect to Include incentive pay and gains can exceed over 30%! Over time, Shop Floor Control generates operational improvements that lead to even greater productivity gains. For example, worker performance data may prompt better incentive pay design. Long-term productivity improvements of 25-40% are not unusual with Shop Floor Control.
2. Reduce Throughput Time
Bottlenecks slow down throughput either by slowing production or causing more rejected pieces. Without Shop Floor Control, production managers try to spot bottlenecks visually and then figure out how to resolve them—without the benefit of in-depth production data analysis.
Shop Floor Control captures the information needed to identify bottlenecks sooner and determine root causes. Whether poor line balancing, outdated equipment or inaccurate forecasting has created bottlenecks, Shop Floor Control helps management make more informed decisions to improve throughput.
3. Gain Greater Visibility and Control
Shop Floor Control measures performance of work teams as well as individual operators, providing constant feedback to production managers about what employees are doing. Management can use this information to fine-tune incentive pay structure and to optimize machine and employee utilization.
Employees also benefit from being able to see instructions, videos or pictures of products they’re assembling. They can notify the maintenance team when equipment malfunctions or notify a supervisor immediately if they need help.
4. Control Costs and Quality
Shop Floor Control helps workers and supervisors keep close track of quality control with real-time data about defects and repairs. When manufacturers use this data to improve their quality processes, it will result in fewer repairs and reworking as well as less scrap. If you can repair less, you can produce less, and that controls labor and materials costs, improves customer satisfaction with orders and supports profitability.
5. Reduce Absenteeism
When employees don’t come to work, workflow issues can lead to production loss. A Shop Floor Control system reduces absenteeism by giving managers access to real-time time and attendance information. Reviewing patterns of absenteeism can help identify employees who do not meet attendance expectations. They can see if certain stations or lines are overburdened by too few workers or too many temporary workers. Shop Floor Control information can also reveal areas where cross-training operators could result in improved coverage of a station when workers are absent.
6. Minimize Off-Standard Time
When operators are not working their standard jobs, overall production suffers. Many issues can cause an increase in off-standard time, including: power failures, machine delays or breakdowns, meetings, line setting, waiting for additional work, and waiting for replenishment of inventory items like trims or accessories. A Shop Floor Control system minimizes off-standard time by tracking machine uptime and downtime and automating inventory tracking to ensure that fabric and other items needed during production stay stocked on the line. Adding real-time notifications of problems delivers further gains in productive time vs unproductive time.
As you can see, the insights generated by Shop Floor Control affect performance and profitability in important ways. Without a way to gather real-time measurements throughout the manufacturing process, it’s difficult to improve. Manual processes cannot yield the information needed to increase operational efficiency, labor utilization and quality control—all fundamental aspects of manufacturing profitability.
Exenta understands that manufacturers of apparel and sewn products face constant pressure to reduce costs, improve quality and shorten delivery times. Our Shopfloor Control software leverages IoT technology and off-the-shelf tablets to place real-time plant floor management in the hands of manufacturers. To learn how Shopfloor Control delivered measurable results for leading international apparel supplier, read this case study. Or, contact us today for a demo and learn how Exenta Shopfloor Control can transform your manufacturing operations.