In an economy marked by rapid changes in market demand, supplies and raw materials, costs, and even interest rates, the ability to compete on reliability and transparency is more important than ever. Real-time data delivers the insights manufacturers need to course-correct quickly and control costs, guarantee quality, and increase productivity.
Notably, real-time data helps to reduce supply chain risks by providing the visibility required to understand how supply chain shortages will impact production schedules. Manufacturers then can reschedule orders and ensure every customer delivery date gets met.
Using Real-Time Data to Identify Opportunities and Mitigate Risk
Similarly, real-time data obtained from production and process monitoring provides visibility into operations on the shop floor, so manufacturers can identify opportunities and mitigate risks. Let’s look at nine ways that this real-time data help you gain a competitive edge.
- Improve production scheduling accuracy. Real-time data from the shop floor makes production scheduling more efficient, which helps to improve supply chain efficiency. A case in point is Augustine Plastics, Inc. in Somerset, PA. The world-class custom injection molder relies on DELMIAWorks’ real-time process monitoring software to capture and review production data and then course-correct schedules based on insights gained.
- Reduce reject rates by tracking scrap rates in real-time. Monitoring scrap rates across production machines in real-time provides valuable insights for improving product quality. This is the strategy at Eldon James, a world-class medical tubing and connection solutions manufacturer in Colorado. Since leveraging real-time production monitoring data in the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP), manufacturing execution system (MES), and quality management modules, the QA team has seen reject rates plummet from 30% to 2%.
- Keep machinery and tools in compliance and performing at optimal levels. Real-time production and process monitoring helps manufacturers to define and track performance plans for equipment and tools used across the shop floor. It’s invaluable for ensuring that machines and tools stay in compliance and tool calibration standards are met. The additional real-time data on machine health also contributes to effective maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) plans, extending each machine’s useful life and improving production scheduling.
- Continually improve product quality by analyzing real-time production monitoring data. Manufacturers use production monitoring data to perform statistical process control (SPC) analysis and identify where quality gaps occur on machines and across the plant floor. It’s also possible to provide machine operators with a real-time view of process performance, including quick inspection, control, and trend charts.
- Streamline regulatory audit reporting, ensuring continued compliance. For manufacturers in highly regulated industries—such as medical devices, automotive, and food and beverage—production and process monitoring helps alleviate the manual workloads of producing the audit reports required for compliance. In many cases, real-time data combined with automated reporting is helping reduce the time to complete audits from weeks to days.
- Ensure all production steps or work instructions are followed consistently. It can be difficult to uncover quality problems that arise when work instructions aren’t followed consistently. A real-time production monitoring system checks to ensure all steps in work instructions are complete. This helps reduce return material authorizations (RMAs) and related product returns costs.
- Provide accurate capable-to-promise (CTP) dates on every quote. Manufacturers who are quick at delivering complete quotes win the most deals. Using production monitoring data to provide reliable CTP dates on every quote leads to more quotes turning into orders.
- Run lights-out manufacturing to maximize productivity. Rising operating costs and ongoing labor shortages make lights-out manufacturing an attractive alternative. For example, several plastics manufacturers use the DELMIAWorks RealTime Production Monitoring system to run lights-out shifts involving dozens of injection-molding machines. Real-time data is then used by the MES and ERP systems to track quality, yield rates, and production efficiency, providing alerts to manufacturing engineers monitoring the systems.
- Find roadblocks other systems miss. A root cause analysis using real-time data often uncovers roadblocks that previously weren’t visible. For example, sampling machinery and process data at different frequencies can reveal what’s causing yields on machinery or production lines to fluctuate or drop. Because of such insights, real-time production and process monitoring is considered one of the most accurate measures of machine yield available.
In a global economy marked by rapid change, real-time manufacturing data is the linchpin for manufacturing businesses seeking to rapidly adapt and capitalize on opportunities while minimizing risks. How well your company leverages real-time production and process monitoring data will determine your ability to compete both today and in the future.