Optimizing shop floor processes with Manufacturing Operations Management

Today’s manufacturers face many challenges in a business context complicated by factors such as ongoing loadshedding, soaring raw material prices, managing shop floor processes, and a weak economy. Manufacturers already understand that digital technologies are transforming the way the industry operates, particularly in improving efficiencies and driving higher levels of business performance.

Technology solutions such as ERP are at the core of digital transformation. Modern Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) systems are specifically designed to help small to medium manufacturers enhance their efficiency by providing a real-time view of all the processes in the plant. A MOM system does not replace an ERP system – it is a distinct but connected entity, and is most effective when integrated with a manufacturer’s ERP system, as this provides the company with holistic, consolidated records of all business transactions.

Efficiency determines success

To gain a competitive advantage, manufacturers must be agile enough to respond to market demands at all levels of production without increasing costs or waste and sacrificing their efficiency. However, streamlining manufacturing processes requires efficient production planning, scheduling, inventory management, quality assurance and planned or predictive maintenance. To achieve this, effective MOM systems have become a critical factor in determining the success of factories.

Modern MOM systems are specifically designed to help small to medium manufacturers enhance their efficiency by providing a real-time view of all the processes in the factory. MOM is a highly efficient tool in the manufacturing arsenal for fine-tuning shop floor production processes, and when used correctly, can dramatically improve operations management and provide highly granular data to the ERP system, which can be used to inform data-led management decisions.

By improving visibility of the factory floor through employee and machine tracking, manufacturers can become more competitive by introducing accurate planning, reducing lead times and loss by removing inefficiencies in their set-ups. MOM also allows manufacturers to identify slow running and maximize the up time of their machines and employees. What this ultimately leads to is help in delivering finished goods to customers faster, while controlling labor and machine costs, identifying and eliminating bottlenecks and downtime, and eliminating waste.

MOM can radically improve production schedules, assist with planned downtime for scheduled maintenance, and provide a real-time view of job status in the production cycle. This in turn drives increased efficiency and lower costs. MOM also provides effective monitoring, which is a crucial part of ensuring adherence to the relevant regulations that manufacturers are subject to. This helps reduce the likelihood of fines or regulatory sanctions because of non-compliance.

Advanced technologies optimize MOM systems

A MOM system collects production information by integrating easily with equipment, controllers and ERP systems. It monitors the entire manufacturing process from raw materials to finished goods, connecting everything from machines to equipment, people and devices without the need for manual inputs. This results in business-wide, real-time visibility and control. The integration of advanced technologies including IoT, AI and data analytics provides highly advanced tools for tracking important factory floor metrics such as labor and equipment usage and performance.

For peak efficiency, manufacturing resources need to be deployed without wasting resources. With the fully automated collection of data, MOM helps drive lean manufacturing and continuous improvement programmes. MOM provides a single source of data that enables 360-degree visibility across the business. This real-time data can inform quicker and more accurate decisions about work in progress, inventory and advanced planning, along with capacity analysis. It also facilitates data sharing across the business, which encourages collaboration and focused decision-making for the benefit of the business as a whole.

The value of real-time visibility is crucial when it comes to manufacturing realities like stop/start and downtime, job assignments, operation status, machine status, parts and components counts, and performance issues. MOM provides managers with metrics that map overall equipment effectiveness and overall labor effectiveness. MOM will also help manufacturers optimize their automated and robotic processes for maximum gains at minimal cost.

Agility is a competitive advantage

MOM has a hand in determining the effectiveness of processes across all aspects of operations management – from inventory management to production, quality control and maintenance. Without this planning and monitoring, manufacturers run the risk of production being delayed or halted for reasons ranging from inadequate inventory to quality issues and unnecessary wastage.

MOM enables organizations to analyze and generate accurate schedules that take resources and constraints into account. In this way, manufacturers can ensure that they have products ready for customers on time in the most cost-effective way while also reducing production costs.

With gains in productivity, resource, energy and human capital use, manufacturers can realize increased profitability. With wafer-thin margins, an increase in profitability could be the difference between success and failure, and gains in agility and flexibility could be the variance between surviving and thriving.

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