Even the simplest manufacturing shops can be automated with a few simple additions. Those additions start with these items:
Barcode labels on everything
Tablets on the shop floor
Standard Time® time tracking software
If you slap barcode labels on everything, then you can scan them everywhere. Scan raw materials to subtract from inventory. Scan bill of materials when kitting parts. Scan products as they begin the build process. Scan them again as they pass each stage of improvement. And finally, scan them as they are boxed and shipped. Now you have just collected a huge amount of information without expending any extra human effort.
Congratulations! You have just automated your manufacturing shop!
Here’s what you can now expect:
Know when and where your work orders were started
Know who worked on them last
Know how much time has been spent so far
Know how long entire jobs take
Know where the bottlenecks occur
Know what waste to cut
Seriously? I get all that from a few barcodes? Yup!
The boss wants to know where the project is that was started last week.
What job? I don’t remember a job!
Ummm, look up, dude. It’s on the big screen! (watch the video below)
The big “airport” screen shows the status of all jobs on the manufacturing floor. Just scan a job with a barcode scanner, and it instantly shows up on the big screen. You’ll see the job name, the last time something happened on it, and who worked on it last. You’ll see project status, percent complete, and hours worked so far. You’ll even see how many hours are left before completion.
Turns out, the big airport-style screen can be helpful to a lot of people in the manufacturing organization. It’s really big for the guys on the shop floor, true. But also just as big for supervisors and managers. And, even sales folks who need job status they can communicate to their customers. They can just look up on the big screen, get the current status, and tell clients with the job is expected to finish.
Automatically reorder inventory using a barcode scanner. Watch the video below, and then try these steps on your shop floor:
Place a barcode label on your BOM (bill of materials)
Scan the BOM when you start work
Each item in the BOM will be deducted from inventory
Optionally scan a task to start tracking time to the job
Complete the work
Scan STOP to stop the timer
Step #2 and #3 (which are really the same step) may kick off automate scripts to reorder inventory that has fallen below a predefined threshold. Those inventory items may appear at your receiving dock as a result of that reorder. Scan them to add them back into inventory.
Update your manufacturing shop using barcodes. Track jobs, work orders, inventory, tasks, employees, etc. The list goes on. Take look at the video below for details.
A simple tablet can help track all the items you care about on the shop floor. Just tap and scan. Now you are collecting time for every product, every employee, and every kind of work. You’re also making sure inventory doesn’t fall below critical levels.
Even a simple $99 Walmart Nextbook can be used for barcoding. Just mount it securely so it cannot be handled and broken. Hook a wireless barcode scanner to it. Now employees can scan in when they start manufacturing tasks.
After watching this video, here is another link to a YouTube video for the Nextbook: