What is Manufacturing Productivity Software?

Having visibility into how productive the factory is, where deficiencies are, and where time and effort can be focused to increase efficiency is vital. This is the essence of manufacturing productivity software.

SensrTrx’s goal is to provide visibility, improve efficiency, and increase the productivity of manufacturers around the globe.

manufacturing productivity software

What is Productivity in Manufacturing?

Productivity is a key source of growth for manufacturers. It’s a vital metric to be understood and tracked, yet many manufacturers don’t have the insight they need into productivity. It’s hard to collect data needed to understand it and often, it’s confused with efficiency metrics.

In my eyes, productivity is producing the right things at the right time. Efficiency is doing them efficiently. They’re doing two different things. You can be productive without being efficient. For the sake of clarity, Merriam-Webster defines both terms.

Productive (adj): have the quality or power of producing in abundance; yielding results, benefits, or profits, yielding or devoted to the satisfaction of wants or the creation of utilities (Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Efficiency (n): the ability to do something or produce something without wasting materials, time, or energy; the quality or degree of being efficient (Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

eFileCabinet further explains productivity versus efficiency in the context of manufacturing, and why productivity is the key growth metric.

“Efficiency refers to the amount of effort and resources people put into work, while productivity is all about the amount of work done over a certain period of time. Productivity is proactive. Efficiency is reactive.” (Source: eFileCabinet Software

Productivity is the measurement to determine how a manufacturing company is doing. Every manufacturer receives an order for a product and in return, provides a date that the product can be delivered. Are those due dates being met? This is essential in running a strong, profitable company.

Having visibility into how productive the factory is, where deficiencies are, and where time and effort can be focused to increase efficiency is vital. This is the essence of manufacturing productivity software. It’s designed to provide that level of insight for manufacturers.

This blog serves as your one-stop guide in defining, explaining, and providing use cases for manufacturing productivity software.

Why is There a Need for Manufacturing Productivity Software?

But, before I get too far, let’s talk about why there is a need for manufacturing productivity software in the first place. To be frank, without manufacturing productivity software, it’s really freaking hard to get insights and complete visibility into the plant. It’s hard to find the deficiencies and problems. It’s hard to determine a plan of action to increase efficiencies. It’s just plain hard without the right software.

Manufacturing is complicated and fluid. Things change constantly, and the way that most companies track their productivity and if they’ve finished certain jobs is with Excel, paper, or whiteboards. This is outdated, tedious, and riddled with human errors.

The problem is in the manual reporting. It creates no visibility into what’s going on. Sure, once all of the paper and Excel files have been gathered together, summarized, and distributed, there’s insight. But, as any manufacturer knows, this could be long after the shift has ended, and more than likely, the report is finalized days later. This doesn’t provide the data need to stop problems as they’re happening. It’s not timely enough. In the case of a whiteboard, it only creates visibility when standing in front of it.

You can see why all of these manual reporting methods are outdated and not efficient… or productive.

What manufacturing productivity software does is enable automatic data collection where possible, and where it’s not, make it easier and less error-prone for manual reporting. Operators or other folks on the floor can augment automatic data collection with manually entered data, and the second it’s entered, it’s immediately available to anyone who needs it.

There’s no question this provides better visibility and more timely access to the information manufacturers so desperately need. There’s benefit in automated processes in manufacturing. It’s providing insight into what’s going on, providing a plan of action as to how to improve, and even if improvements aren’t needed, there’s still a general understanding of the manufacturing processes.

The other big bonus is the sheer amount of labor going into manual data collection and reporting is immediately reduced with manufacturing productivity software. It’s saving 20-40 hours per month that is better spent on value-added activities. If somebody must present a detailed analysis on how long it took to make a particular part, over the last year, this person is no longer combing through an endless number of spreadsheets. They’re clicking a button that automatically provides the information. No collection, reporting, or contextualizing is needed.

All of this inherently makes the company itself, the managers, engineers, operators, everyone in the plant more productive. They now have the data, at their fingertips, to do their jobs rather than spending an endless amount of time and effort to get it.

Get insight into the plant with manufacturing productivity software.

Why is SensrTrx a Manufacturing Productivity Software?

I’ve thought about this question quite a bit. As a lifelong entrepreneur in the manufacturing technology space, I’ve seen first-hand the struggles manufacturers face. And, at the end of the day, they all have the same problem.

Manufacturers simply do not have insight into their plant(s). They struggle with knowing what the hell is going on, in a timely manner. If they don’t know what’s going on, how can they react to it and fix whatever is going on? They just can’t.

After years running an ERP consulting company, I realized there could be a solution to this problem which brings me back to the category of manufacturing productivity software.

Is it manufacturing analytics? No, not really. Is it MES? No. Is it ERP? No. While elements of these are incorporated into SensrTrx (with the addition of IIoT), it’s truly become its own category because it’s addressing that main visibility problem so manufacturers face.

SensrTrx is giving manufacturers the information they need to see how the plant is performing. They can understand productivity metrics against the schedule, giving them the data and understanding what’s happening at any given time.

Sure, this was sort of possible, 20, 15, even 10 years ago. It’s always been possible to some degree. For a long time, this stuff has existed in certain parts of manufacturing, as evidenced in elements of the ERP and MES software landscape. But, it wasn’t very accessible to the vast majority of manufacturers. If you were a small or mid-size manufacturer, there really wasn’t a solution that fits with the resources you had available. The Toyota and Fords of the world likely have home-grown systems that do this, but for the rest of the manufacturing industry, it just wasn’t accessible. Sure, they may have cobbled together many different solutions to create one, but that’s what I fondly refer to as “Frankenstein”. It’s probably difficult to use and even more difficult to get any ready-to-use information out of. It’s definitely not user-friendly, that’s for sure.

What we’re doing with SensrTrx Manufacturing Productivity Software is making software cost-effective, easier to implement, and more accessible to the rest of the world. All so manufacturers can see how the plant is performing, or how productive they are, at any given time. It’s the visibility they so desperately needed. Finally, there’s a solution.

How is SensrTrx Different From Other Manufacturing Software?

20 something years in manufacturing technology, and I’ve seen the problem everybody kept trying to solve, yet failing to actually solve it in a way that was easy to understand and easy to use. So, I set out to provide that solution. The solution that would help manufacturers answer the questions, “What’s going on in the factory floor and how do I get that information, easily?”

We developed SensrTrx in 2015 to do that. Our first priority was making it easy to use because if it wasn’t intuitive, it wouldn’t be used, and if it wasn’t used, there are no insights to see. So, we started with usability.

Manufacturers don’t want to burden their operators with more data entry. With IoT, data is gathered automatically where possible and then augmented with manual data collection, but it needs to be really easy to do. Otherwise, operators will never enter the information. It has been a source of contention for many, many years.

The big difference is that this system, SensrTrx, was designed to do just that versus an ERP system that’s designed to be an ERP system with an added MES or productivity solution on top of it. The user experience in those things is going to be incredibly different. The ERP is going to be similar to what an office worker would see. It’s not conducive for someone who has to move fast on the factory floor, doesn’t want to be thinking about every field on every screen, and doesn’t have a ton of knowledge about how to enter this information. Data entry needs to be as simple as possible so the operator can do what actually adds value to the company rather than push buttons on a computer.

That’s the difference between manufacturing productivity software and all of the other “solutions” out there. It’s adding immediate visibility, eliminating manual reporting (where possible), and making it easier for operators to contribute where needed yet still being able to do their jobs.

That’s a game changer.

What’s the Value in a Manufacturing Productivity Software?

When software is easy to use, intuitive, and provides value, manufacturers are going to see and understand what’s happening in the plant. 

There’s an immense value in manufacturing digitalization in two ways:

  1. Automated reporting
  2. Saving time and resources

Manufacturing productivity software takes the most critical reports used every day, whether that’s end-of-shift, end-of-day, end-of-week, or end-of-month reports, and automates them. It’s providing immediate value by sending the data where and when it’s needed to the people who need it most so improvements can be made and demand will be met.

Then, when these reports are automated, there’s more time available for the people who were once painstakingly procuring and analyzing these reports. Now, these people can focus on something else that’s value-added for the company, while still getting complete visibility into what’s happening in the plant.

This is a catalyst for change.

SensrTrx is Changing the Industry… For the Better

Visibility is a problem that every manufacturer has. Everybody is collecting this data manually, or in some system, and most of them don’t like it. It doesn’t give them the information that they’re really looking for.

SensrTrx is out to change that.

This is the final frontier. Almost every other part of the business has been digitized. Manufacturers have an ERP that’s running all of the back office and accounting tasks and responsibilities. It’s as paperless as can be in most companies. CRM follows a similar precedent. A lot of manufacturers are selling online. Now, manufacturers just need to digitize everything happening on the floor.

Manufacturers don’t want to hire software developers to make that happen. They’re manufacturing companies, not software companies. This is a roadblock for many companies. However, we’ve done the work to bypass that roadblock. There’s a solution to solve these challenges. SensrTrx is a manufacturing productivity software aiming to provide visibility, improve efficiency, and increase the productivity of manufacturers around the globe.

Do you want to see how? Watch a demo of SensrTrx in action.

About the Author

Bryan Sapot is a lifelong entrepreneur, speaker, CEO, and founder of SensrTrx. With more than 24 years of experience in manufacturing technology, Bryan is known for his deep manufacturing industry insights.

Throughout his career, he’s built products and started companies that leveraged technology to solve problems to make the lives of manufacturers easier. Follow Bryan on LinkedIn here.

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