In an ideal world, a perfect Shop Floor Control System gives management a real time view from both a bird’s eye and granular level of everything that happens to materials as they are converted into a final product. It ties to everything inventory, from original bill of materials, to POs to suppliers, to WIP as it is transformed into a finished product while traversing the manufacturing floor, and then subsequently inventoried, shipped, and ultimately invoiced and delivered. All relevant metrics are recorded and monitored, be they individual worker or group labor rates, counts, and times, work station labor rates, counts, and times, as well as tracking defects throughout the manufacturing process, from beginning to end. A system of alerts is in place so that a manager is notified, in real time, should any process be delayed or flawed as compared to expected benchmarks give or take allowed deviations.
In short, as materials are being produced, the manager knows exactly how quickly they are being produced, defect rates, problem areas, standard/off standard, as well as how much and how well workers and work groups are performing.
Issues with non-productive labor can immediately be identified at the source and corrected. Defects can be quickly identified as they are occurring and likewise corrected.
The Shop Floor Control System ties seamlessly into Accounting and Payroll so that wages and incentives earned can be measured in real time, as well as directly feed the Payroll system so manual time cards become a thing of the past and wages are tallied and paid by the system after a quick review by responsible Accounting personnel. The Shop Floor System likewise continuously communicates with any ERP or WMS in place so that an exact snapshot of inventory and materials levels are known at any time. This helps substantially with materials planning and forecasting, helping speed inventory turnover and the timing and cost of shipping.
The Shop Floor Software is not tied to any hardware so that all information can be communicated via wireless technology, thus allowing for quick setup for changes in product and production flows.
The software allows manufacturing managers to design and test manufacturing models to determine which setup configurations allow for the greatest productivity and lowest defect rates, as well as forecast materials requirements. Resource/labor planning is made easy because it ties to the company calendar and tracks each employee’s availability during any production periods.
The Shop Floor Software should allow several meaningful reports, for example, employee and/or department efficiency rankings, who are my best operators on which operation, excess cost reports by plant, cost center, or department, this identifies quickly your problem areas and/or identify what is working well so it can be replicated. You should also expect the capability of integrating with your ERP to report your Style Bill of Labor for proper costing with the capability to constantly update the BOL for the true cost of labor as opposed to an estimate.