Over on the LinkedIn group of The Manufacturer’s sister publication, the Lean Management Journal, there’s been an interesting little exchange regarding the value that factory-floor touch-screen data capture terminals like ours can deliver to a lean programme. By Jeremy Harford, managing director, Mestec.
And at Mestec, we’re not disinterested observers, standing on the sidelines in such a debate. Implemented in less than a week, and costing from just £200 a month, we’ve seen our Manufacturing Smart Box system deliver value to manufacturers’ lean activities again and again.
In short, the lean purists may say that IT and plant floor terminals don’t have a role to play in lean—but we beg to differ. And here are five ways in which plant floor terminals can help:
1) Who is performing to standard, and who isn’t? People performing at less than standard times and rates of output are a waste. The problem isn’t necessarily laziness—indeed, it’s rarely that. Instead, look for inadequate training, lack of dexterity, poor equipment, and insufficient time to develop the required skills. But either way, you can’t go about correcting the problems until you know that they’re there.
2) Eliminating non-added value activity. Activities that don’t add value are a waste. We all know that. But how to find them? Even the lean purists admit that you have to have data to start tracking them down. Mestec’s terminals simply make it easier to acquire that data, by recording a minute-by-minute breakdown of factory-floor activity.
3) Tracking down poor machine utilisation and people utilisation. Again, a great idea in practice, especially in capacity-constrained manufacturing environments. But you can’t do it without data. Mestec’s Smart Box terminals don’t just provide the data—they help you establish the causes, with charts and drill-down tools to help you discover the cause behind the effect.
4) Improving on-time delivery. By providing highly granular data as to which works orders are where on the factory floor, Mestec’s terminals plug a gap that many ERP systems leave unfilled. The result: better on-time delivery performance. Thus improving the order-to-cash cycle, and reducing work-in-progress inventory. And that sounds lean to us.
5) Delivering the Visual Factory. We’re big fans of the Visual Factory. And it’s great when you can see problems and opportunities as physical objects—piles of scrapped defects, or piled-up work-in-progress—but that isn’t always possible. So when it’s not, we like to see our problems and opportunities as charts and pictures, not sprawling columns of hard-to-digest data.
Convinced? We are.
Want to know more? Visit http://www.mestec.net