Manufacturing Data Urban Legends

I have been talking to a lot of manufacturing executives lately, discussing measuring performance and efficiency of equipment and their plants. During these discussions I hear the same 3 things over and over again to the point where I might label them as Manufacturing Urban Legends.

Manufacturing Data Urban Legends
Granted when I’m talking to these people they may think I’m trying to sell them something and give me these excuses to get rid of me. But the fact that I keep hearing these same things over and over again means they can’t just be excuses.

Here they are:

  1. We are too small to track OEE or machine up-time
  2. We are too inefficient to track production data, we have other priorities
  3. We are under capacity & can’t benefit from the data

Every one of these is false, let’s look at why:

Legend 1: We are too Small

True some companies are small enough that it does not make sense to collect the data but that bar is low. If you have 9 or 10 pieces of equipment you should be at least collecting uptime information on those machines. Most small businesses want to grow and in manufacturing that means buying more equipment or adding people as sales increase. By tracking utilization on your equipment when you are small you start good habits that will help you manage the business as you grow. The metrics can help you justify equipment purchases, adding employees and help you compete on price and quality.

Legend 2: We are too Inefficient

This urban legend comes in various forms: our equipment is too old; we don’t have the staff we have other things to do than track data. You have to start somewhere if you want to improve and you must set a baseline if you want to measure your progress. If you don’t you have no real way to measure progress and judge how well your improvements worked. The only way to do this is to understand the utilization, cycle times and capacity of your existing equipment. You can use the information to get employee buy in on lean projects and have clear targets and objectives.

Legend 3: We are Under Capacity

The best time to start gathering manufacturing data is when you under capacity or in a seasonal slowdown. Too many companies rest on their laurels when things are good rather than pushing forward. What happens when you land than new huge customer or demand spikes and you are capacity constrained? You will be too busy to start a manufacturing analytics project when you really need it and can benefit from it.

The Right Data

You can always use the right data to help improve your business. It is never too late or too early to start collecting and analyzing your production data and once you do you have a baseline to work from. Using a tool like SensrTrx Manufacturing Analytics can help you quickly, easily and automatically collect the data you need to run your business.

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