When I was in the operations department, those of us on the shop floor were seen almost as a nuisance and not seen as the last people to touch our products before they got to our customers, so to my mind we were a pretty important nuisance. This was 30+ years ago and it’s only now that this attitude is starting to change. Businesses are starting to understand that supply chains are the key to profitability and that manufacturing is part of the supply chain. Back in the old days, manufacturing was all about make, make and make some more. I need to make my numbers and keep the people busy. Today, that is still the case in a lot of instances, there are however some companies changing the paradigm and reverting to make what you need not what they want mentality. How are they doing this you ask?
They are recognizing the power of their people, trusting in standard practices, and using one system of record. Of course, silos still exist but at least supply chains are being recognized. Everybody should know their place in the supply chain but if it is truly to improve then we need to improve time of insight. This means that everybody needs to be using one system of record or as I say one version of the truth.
Manufacturing Must Be Part of One System of Record
Manufacturing execution needs to be a part of this one system of record and understand what they need to bring to the table. First and foremost, for manufacturing to be truly effective you need to have the right demand and planning strategies in the one system of record. This reduces time to insight pretty much instantly, especially when using MRP. Then, you need to ensure full integration to achieve this plan. This means that everybody in the supply chain must do their part when they are required. The big-hitting items required from manufacturing are aside from total adherence to the plan.
Real-time data entry and relevant master data must reflect the reality of the process and then the education of the users to use the one system of record as designed. Capacity analysis and scheduling need to be done directly in the system of record and not outside in excel or other 3rd party systems. This will increase the time to InSite and make your supply chain efficient. Flexibility and proactiveness will come in place to enable a more efficient set of processes that naturally have the desired effect on the supply chain’s ability to increase customer service while helping to reduce costs.