Bottom line: You can have all the fancy tools, all the simulation that shows how products could be assembled, but if your shop floor isn’t working efficiently, if they don’t have the right tool to build the product, those other fancy options bring you no value.
I was sitting in on a PLM presentation the other day, and as I was listening to the marketing and sales pitch, I thought, “Sure, this sounds cool, simulation sounds fun, and it would be interesting to be able to understand how our models would help reduce errors, but what happens when I take all of this to the shop floor?” There is a significant difference between your shop floor day to day activities and the ivory tower the design engineers sit in with their fancy tools.
Time For A Shop Floor Reality Check
What does a design system really look like on the shop floor? Chaos. Your shop floor must have a system; a true product execution system in order to do their job. Your shop floor system must deal with, time and labor collection, operational control, part shortage, component consumption tracking, data collections and their dependence on each other, electronic signatures, limited life tracking, batching, red lines, non-conformance, dispositions, links to supporting documentation, certifications, crew assignments, machine assignments, alternate parts, swaps, test sequences and cable connection status, and absolutely most importantly, incorporation of change on the open work orders/WIP. Can your PLM system do all of these things? Can your ERP? Absolutely not. It is imperative that your shop floor continues to move, continues to build, and is allowed to be efficient.
Making Every Production Minute Count
Think about it. Each time, every time your technicians have to stop, your company is losing money. Let me repeat that, every single time your technician stops, asks questions, write up a discrepancy, wait for an engineer to make a change, you are losing money. The goal folks, is to reduce the amount the product stops. The only way to do that is to have a complete, comprehensive, pre-built and integrated shop floor manufacturing execution system. Not a PDM system, not an ERP system, but a real, focused, and integrated MES. One that was designed with you in mind.
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