According to a recent survey by the Confederation of British Industry, small British manufacturers reported the fastest rise in new orders since 1995 and are more optimistic about the year to come.
“Growth is going strong for SME manufacturers, who are reaping the benefits of a lower pound and buoyant global growth – as seen in record expectations for export orders growth,” CBI economist Alpesh Paleja wrote.
However, he added that firms said their margins were still under pressure, with cost pressures high, and that businesses expected to raise prices further.
In manufacturing, profit is reliant on how efficient the shop floor is. Squeezing everything from your resources without compromising on quality is a challenge increasingly faced by manufacturers.
So how can manufacturers stay competitive whilst maintaining or increasing profit?
Continuous improvement is key. Looking at existing processes and finding ways of making these more efficient and cost effective ultimately leads to a more profitable business. Without a mechanism that collects accurate data and standardises current systems, Continuous Improvement is often reactionary where problems are only dealt with after they have become costly and problematic.
Making sure that you make optimum use of your resources by installing a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is a quick, easy and cost effective way. Intouch real-time scheduling, monitoring and reporting system gives manufacturers the visibility to easily make Continuous Improvement decisions that:
- Improves OEE (typically by up to 30%)
- Improves productivity
- Reduces lead time
- Decreases production errors
- Increases production throughput
- Raises quality and simplifies compliance to industry standards
How can Intouch MES improve your profitability?
Being able to monitor production in real-time and having live and up to date information in any part of your factory removes the costs and errors of collecting production data manually. This enables your personnel to use their time more efficiently and the high visibility also motivates production staff to keep machines operational.
With Intouch, key performance figures such as output speeds, run time, down-time, good/scrap production and utilisation are graphically displayed on fully configurable and tailored diagrams which can be seen at a glance. Operators can interact with the system through individually customised keypads at the machine or our new wi-fi option gives users the freedom to connect from any screen. This allows action to be taken to rectify problems as they happen and leads to much faster response to stoppages which results in less waste.
Intouch has an easy to use live scheduling module which shows the progress of every job in the plan. The Gantt chart view provides a graphical visualisation of machine loading and capacity utilisation. Jobs on the chart can be highlighted for many reasons such as tool changes, late jobs or resource clashes and takes shift pattern, planned maintenance, overtime and shutdowns into account.
Rescheduling is easily achieved through a simple drag and drop operation which can be forward or backward scheduled to highlight spare capacity. Better planning significantly reduces changeover time and the job schedule view gives details of each job enabling operators to prepare for up-coming tool changes.
All data collected is automatically and accurately stored and made available through the Intouch reporting module. Better tracking of actual materials used, increases accountability of material use to individual operators, which generally reduces waste. The data enables informed decisions to be made to streamline operations and monitor key processes to better control final product quality and achieve a “zero defect” policy.
For examples on how our customers have reduced costs, improved OEE and significantly increased profitability through installing Intouch, have a read through some of our case studies.