Deploys Paperless Techniques
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Deploys Paperless Techniques

By Tom Crowe, CIO & Chief Supply Chain Officer, PL Developments

Tom Crowe, CIO & Chief Supply Chain Officer, PL Developments

Technology Trend

If manufacturing companies want to stay competitive in today’s environment one of the key tools is real-time data. This information is integral for allowing manufacturers to streamline operations on the plant floor, communicate critical information throughout the company, and maintain quality efficiently.

In many companies the shop floor is still “dark” – there is little to no live reporting on the production processes, which leaves companies guessing about what is working and what isn’t.

At PL Developments, we are improving shop floor control – “lighting up” the shop floor – by putting in place Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) that can help us evaluate the current conditions on the shop floor, get the right information to the right people at the right time and work in real time to control multiple elements of the production process. This will allow us to improve efficiency while reducing waste, and improving both cycle and lead times. Using live data allows each part of our organization to make better decisions to improve production efficiencies, inventory accuracy, product quality and customer satisfaction.

We look for points of entry into the production cycle where we can get real time feedback on throughput, downtime, scrap and other processes. Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) at “pain points” are used when possible to capture data because the more automated this process, the more quickly the information can be disseminated and acted upon. With the data in hand we can make real-time adjustments and stay ahead of the curve.

Hand in hand with collecting real time data is our commitment to using a paperless data collection system. Hand written logs or hybrid systems that use a combination of reporting methods are barriers to real time adjustments. Paperless systems, which allow data to be shared and synchronized instantly, help reduce inaccuracies and allow data to be tangibly used to make systemwide improvements that support an enterprise-wide approach to quality and continuous improvement.

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