The increased use of technology in manufacturing has changed processes, supply chains and the skills required of factory workers. In many operations, a lot of attention is given to the challenges involved in updating a factory to take advantage of smart manufacturing technology, but a key component is often overlooked: the company’s leadership.
The time and cost savings realized by automation has driven increases in manufacturing productivity for decades. However, the benefits of automation should not be assumed to be beneficial for only the material portions of the manufacturing process.
Technology-driven change is nothing new in the world of aerospace manufacturing. Smart companies keep an eye on technology trends and find ways to leverage relevant solutions to improve their operations or build entirely new business lines.
Modern manufacturing equipment and ERP systems have added an impressive amount of technology to most manufacturing operations. However, just how “smart” are these factories without a high level of connectivity throughout the manufacturing processes?
With all of the talk about the technology involved in creating a smart factory, we often lose track of one of the most important elements of this transformation: the smart worker.
Whether we like it or not, modern manufacturing is data-driven. The companies who harness the power of data to inform and empower their employees are best positioned to compete. The most successful companies get the right data in front of the right employees at the right time.
Many businesses feel they are drowning in data, even for manufacturers who have implemented an ERP solution. While an ERP system stores data really well, it is often a challenge for a busy operation to get beyond this first step of ERP implementation and move on to generating intelligent data.
If you are like most business leaders, you know your key customers, critical deadlines related to their orders, and the processes used to meet those deadlines. You also know your employees well, aware of their strengths and weaknesses. However, do you know your businesses data as well as you know your customers and employees?
Even a natural salesperson can struggle to keep others on a sales team focused and motivated over time. Whether you manage sales by instinct or with a closely monitored and regimented process, the right data can help you keep your team on track for success.
Every manufacturing operation has key performance indicators (KPIs). For some, the KPIs may be updated daily on a whiteboard, for others they may be updated hourly in an ERP. Regardless of how you store or update your KPIs, it is a good practice to revisit your metrics annually to make sure they are providing you with the insight you need to manage your operation.