How manufacturing software can improve production planning in a small business?
3 easy to achieve “wow” effects.
It probably goes without saying that a majority of small business owners dream of ordering out their production halls: keeping deadlines on orders, no faulty products, their workers know what to do and don’t just hang around waiting to be appointed.
If you have more and more orders in your small manufacture, you will come at some point to the same conclusion: I need a plan or some kind of manufacturing software which would help me to tackle the situation and systemize everything. Things are a bit chaotic at the moment – you might think – but as soon as we implement new manufacturing software life will be much easier, problems will be solved, all bases covered.
“Wow” effects of introducing manufacturing software into a small business
The truth is that most small manufacturing companies don’t need advanced planning systems or when they consider such planning tools they have in mind something different to extended ERP systems.
The first impressive effect of introducing manufacturing software into a small business
- In a small company even collecting all information in one place contributes to the “wow” effect! There is no need to go over tons of papers in search of a missing order or go from person to person to find out what and how it should be produced. When the list of orders is completed with all items included, it is clear to see the production process, track, schedule, and report the status of work in progress, from your floor-level, giving you a clear channel of communication between your operators and managers on the production line.
What’s more you are able to see:
– what is being produced at the moment and
– the list of production tasks
This is an amazing progress. Small improvements allow the company owner to finally stop worrying about their production hall and start to think how to develop the business to grow bigger. And time is money; in this case – free time.
Sometimes shock therapy works miracles and it is good to realize how serious problems your business faces (or to put it bluntly: how far behind you are) to start organizing things to bring at last law and order. When micro changes make your production more efficient, it is plain as day that those changes are needed; they promise growth and that’s the way to go.
The second impressive effect of introducing manufacturing software into a small business
2. The second planning “wow” effect regards … introducing production control. It sounds trivia but when you are able to tell precisely what is happening now at the production hall, it’s a whole new game. The problem with the majority of production plans is that somebody spent many hours willing to schedule and plan everything, but just after 2-3 days this plan is nowhere near real production needs. As a consequence nobody pays attention to it, and the work of a “planner” goes to waste. There is also no information on how long it took to produce a given item (lean time), which makes it difficult to improve and adjust for the future. The more detailed the production plan is and the more diverse products are made, the faster it is out of date and useless.
The third impressive effect of introducing manufacturing software into a small business
3. The third planning “wow” effect, is a simple communication between shop floor and managers. It might come as a surprise that it isn’t a plan or schedule but communication which decides on the success of a manufacturing business.
It is a common practice in a small company that an owner or a manager has some kind of a notebook or uses Excel files and takes this intricate plan to the production hall. Unfortunately the piece of paper with crucial planning tips gets stuck on the cork board where everyone can put changes, draw, cross things out, write over to update. In the worst case scenario the paper gets lost and the owner goes from person to person at the production hall passing on information. Employees feel lost because they are not sure what to do and even the originally perfect plan is ruined, especially when there is the need of introducing last minute, small changes no-one knew about. Even the simplest tool which will show people what to do will contribute to the “wow” effect in this case.
Modern manufacturing software in a small business
Nowadays the market is demanding, specifically when more and more companies deliver varied products divided into small elements at the same time trying to stay flexible and competitive. This specifics excludes the need of having some kind of long term complicated scheduling solution – it is simply impossible. Lean methods are winning over. that’s why it is so important to be able to control production, having a transparent production plan, showing real time progress. It makes much more sense than using automated planning modules, which are less flexible and not adjusted to needs of small manufacturing companies.