Supply Chain Managers play a significant support role in today’s manufacturing environment. They are responsible for supporting strategic decisions that heavily influence the profitability of the company. This means that Supply Chain Managers must rely on accurate and reliable data in order to make data-driven decisions. In this article, we examine how Supply Chain Managers can benefit from real-time production monitoring.
What is Real-Time Production Monitoring?
Before we look into the challenges that Supply Chain Managers have and how real-time production monitoring can help, we need to understand what it is.
Real-time production monitoring uses automated technology to gather operational and equipment data in real time. In doing so, it offers insights that can help factories maximize performance and availability across their entire operation. Real-time production monitoring arms production teams with the data required to optimize utilization, improve quality, root out inefficiencies and maximize their profit. In other words, it helps improve one of the key performance indicators in manufacturing – OEE.
Why does it matter?
Our research and on-field experience show that insufficient data collection still dramatically troubles the industry. It is one of the most common obstacles towards achieving higher productivity and improved OEE, chiefly rooted in manual methods of data gathering. These impact not only data accuracy but also management decisions and the effective distribution of tasks among workers in the factory.
When data collection is manual, accuracy and timeliness are always out of the picture. Moreover, minor stoppages might go unnoticed, but they still cumulate in relevant losses.
With real-time automated data collection, you can access production data that is more reliable, more accurate, and more granular than ever before. This will enable you to make data-driven decisions without having to dedicate significant resources to the task of data collection.
Now that we have a little bit more background, we can look at the specifics of Supply Chain Managers – their challenges and how real-time production monitoring aims to solve them.
Main Challenges for Supply Chain Managers
Supply Chain Managers require transparency and visibility across the supply chain they manage. This visibility is provided by the data that your organization has available. If you are still relying on only an ERP system and manually collected overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) data, then your visibility is certainly limited, likely incomplete and inaccurate.
While ERP systems are great for collecting data about supplier quality and delivery performance, they do little in the way of quantifying how late deliveries or non-conforming products impact production downtime. Without an understanding of the magnitude of loss that each supplier may be contributing through late deliveries, it is difficult to know which suppliers should receive the most attention from your limited resources.
Luckily, these challenges can be overcome by automating collection of production data and setting up real-time production monitoring.
The Benefits of Real-Time Production Monitoring
Real-time production monitoring software helps manufacturing teams to understand the production process with live data. In practice, this means insights into problems as they happen and historical process data to identify trends of where your major losses are over time. The personnel has immediate access to all required production related information and can clearly identify the reasons of production stops, time loss etc.
1. Quick access to detailed and accurate production data improves visibility.
Real-time production monitoring of OEE provides Supply Chain Managers with greater granularity into plant performance than was previously possible. By automating the collection of OEE data, the software eliminates opportunities for human error. Moreover, this also reduces your costs associated with the effort. The result is more detailed and accurate production data that is easily accessible.
2. Standardized data across the supply chain allows for the sharing of best practices.
If you are a Supply Chain Manager supporting several manufacturing plants, you can benefit from having standardized production data from across the supply chain. For example, if your process for monitoring OEE is the same across facilities, then you can share best practices across the organization. This will allow you to more effectively leverage your human capital to improve the organization as a whole.
3. Real-time production monitoring helps you stay competitive.
Globalization has brought substantial competitive pressure to bear on manufacturers in the past 30 years. Today most market leading companies have adopted real-time production monitoring. They understand that it is a required capability for the future. In short, it is quickly becoming a necessity to remain competitive in most markets. Moreover, much like lean thinking is standard practice today, production monitoring and OEE will be tomorrow.
Manufacturing is complex, and without real-time visibility into operational data, Supply Chain Managers can’t always easily pinpoint problem areas. When production data is collected and analyzed immediately through real-time production monitoring software, issues become apparent immediately and can therefore be addressed before they create bigger problems.
With a real-time production monitoring system, you have access to detailed and accurate production data, you can leverage your human capital more efficiently and stay competitive, as most market leading companies have already adopted real-time production monitoring.
If, until now, you mainly rely on ERP data or manually collected production data, then this limits your visibility into the supply chain you manage.