Five benefits of using tracking technologies in your manufacturing process
Letting technology support you will make your manufacturing business stronger. Here are some benefits of using tracking technologies in your manufacturing process that you can implement easily!
Detailed knowledge about a business’ processes is integral to its success. Having visibility of your manufacturing processes is essential for streamlining production, improving profitability and reducing waste. RFID and other tracking technologies can provide you with real-time, accurate data to help you improve your workflows and save time spent carrying out manual recording and stock checks.
Here are five ways in which data from tracking technologies helps improve performance:
1. Be prepared
Even before manufacturing has begun, collecting data about the availability of essential resources can support an efficient workflow by ensuring you’re fully prepared to start and maintain production. Being able to see both the quantity and location of raw materials and subassemblies prevents unexpected shortages causing needless disruption of the production line.
If your business handles perishable goods, tracking ingredients also ensures that they are used on a first-in, first-out basis, reducing the risk of costly waste. Tracking the location of tools and mobile test equipment dramatically reduces the time spent searching for these resources, allowing production workers to focus on their core tasks.
2. Increase productivity
Many companies lack an accurate picture of exactly how long it takes for their products to travel through the production line. Such information is vital when it comes to setting production goals and checking performance against them. Being able to clearly see how long products are staying at each stage of the manufacturing process can also help you spot bottlenecks, so you can identify the cause and respond accordingly. For instance, if products are stacking up at a particular point in the process because of a lack of personnel, you can consider redistributing staff from less-squeezed stages to help unblock things.
For more complex products consisting of multiple component parts, it’s even more beneficial to have visibility over their whereabouts in the production line. Uniquely identifying the work in progress at each stage of production can help ensure that correct options are fitted for each product variant. For example, during its construction, a car seat may need to be fitted with additional extras such as a heating pad or armrests. Tracking each seat through the respective stages of production can help quickly identify which stage it’s reached, and specify what needs to be fitted next. This not only makes the process quicker but helps to minimise errors.
3. Optimise quality-control processes
Using automatic tracking data for your quality-assurance process helps ensure compliance and improve efficiency. Automated record-keeping removes the risk of human error that comes with a manual process. It also means you can be confident that your finished products have been through all the necessary stages of assurance, with no room for error.
Tracking manufacturing data and setting tolerances around key parameters can highlight issues before they become critical within a production process. For example, over time, wear and tear of production equipment will have an impact on the quality of the finished products. Degradation may not be noticeable day to day, but if trends become obvious over a period of time it may be possible to predict component failure and intervene before it stops a production line.
4. Improve stock management
Accurately tracking the quantity and location of your ready-to-ship products can help you identify potential shortages before they occur or prevent excess stock piling up.
If your company produces perishable goods, visibility of the precise whereabouts of your finished products helps you to quickly locate and ship them in the optimum order. Ensuring that the oldest perishable products are sent out first significantly reduces the risk that products will go out of date before you’ve had a chance to ship them, protecting against waste. By using tracking technologies to keep track of stock, you can significantly reduce time spent searching for goods, performing manual stock checks or cycle counting. In some cases where technology is used effectively, these processes can be eliminated altogether, allowing staff to focus on other critical tasks.
5. Deliver efficiently
In addition to help you to protect and refine your manufacturing processes, tracking data can also help you to ensure more efficient shipping and delivery. Shipping errors are not only frustrating for customers but also cumbersome, costly and time-consuming for businesses to correct.
By tracking products as they are loaded onto vehicles, you can ensure that all necessary items are on board before allowing them to depart. Knowing that products have been collected both on time and in the right quantities supports a getting it right-first-time when it comes to customer experience.
Collecting accurate data from tracking technologies is a highly effective way to build up full visibility of your production processes. Getting real-time insights about the availability of raw materials, subassemblies and tools helps minimise disruption of your production line. Gathering data about your products as they travel through the manufacturing process enables you to spot bottlenecks and any issues as they occur, so you can respond accordingly. Automating your quality assurance tracking helps to ensure compliance, and produce a robust and reliable audit trail.
Finally, tracking finished products from the warehouse through to dispatch improves efficiency and customer experience.