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:
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.
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.
If operators don’t have time to take measurements, they may just make up numbers. Conversely, if it’s a slow day they may fudge the data to give the appearance of having worked harder.
In contrast, automated data collection saves time and reduces errors and inaccuracies. Whether through barcode scanning devices or RFID readers, data goes directly from the collection point 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 collection, 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 for more accurate cost break downs. More customer confidence leads to more orders.