Collecting data manually from the manufacturing floor leaves a lot of room for error. Inaccurate and incomplete information makes it hard to determine how well processes are running and what needs improvement. Several problems arise from manual data entry:
- Transcription errors. Operators will sometimes write down numbers or times inaccurately. If they write down information on a clipboard and another person enters it on a computer, copying errors will happen.
- Sparse data. People, unlike machines, can’t constantly log information if they’re going to get anything else done. They’ll note data every few hours, at best, and it takes longer to get the information into the database. The available information isn’t anywhere close to real-time.
- Self-protection. If operators are rushed and don’t have time to take measurements, they may just make up numbers. If it’s a slow day and they’re afraid it will look as if they didn’t do anything, they may fudge the data to make themselves look better.
Automated data collection, through barcode scanning devices and RFID readers, saves time and reduces errors and inaccuracies. Data goes directly from the point of collection to the server. Real-time data collection gives a manufacturer a better idea of what works well and what doesn’t. It isn’t just average performance that matters. A unit may have plenty of capacity 90% of the time but become a bottleneck during peak periods. Measuring it once during a shift won’t reveal the problem. With real-time data, management can see that upgrading it will provide a huge return.
Customers who subcontract processes want accurate information on production. Providing it to them on a timely basis is easier when it’s automated, and it will give them more confidence. They can use it to break down their costs more accurately. More customer confidence leads to more orders.
To learn how your business can bring integrated data collection into its manufacturing processes, contact us for a consultation.