Put an RFID tag on every product. That will allow you to track it through the production process. (scroll down for video)
RFID tags cost about ten cents in volume, and one cent in really high volume. That makes them affordable enough to stick onto every product on the shop floor. Or have you already done that? In any case, now that you have them, you can track the time each product spends in production.
Scan once to start a timer
Scan again to stop the timer
Guess what? Now you have timestamps for every time you touched that unit. Add them up and you know the exact handling time. Here are some thing you could track:
Some smart guy said, If you can measure it, you can improve it. So if that’s true, you should be able to measure the amount of time employees spend on the shop floor, and improve it, true?
scroll down for the video
In other words, just by knowing how long things take in your manufacturing process could lead to clues and ideas about how to shorten them. But how do you know how long things take? You could ask each employee to write them down. Then another employee could type in that information. Then another employee could compile the data into reports.
Or, you could use a barcode scanner.
You may be surprised to find small areas you could trim. And then you could measure your time again. And trim again. Until you trimmed one percent from your manufacturing time.
One percent? That’s peanuts! That won’t help us!
True. One percent is small. But do that ten times, and you have ten percent. Do I have your attention now?
That’s the whole point of this video. It asks you to shoot for one percent… and hopes you’ll end up at ten or twenty. It’s all about continuous improvement. Continuous measurement. Continuous time savings. Sure, that may mean new investments in manufacturing automation, but in the long run, time is money. You will save money if you save time. That is a virtual guarantee.