With so many data collection software companies offering products for industrial businesses, how does a business decide the best production tracking software for their needs? Here are a list of questions and considerations to help compare product offerings.
Is it Automatic Shop Floor Data Collection?
Many production tracking systems require all or most of the information to be manually entered by machine operators at the end of their shift, which prevents real-time tracking and objective, unbiased data collection. Look for a system that automatically detects when a machine is running or not running, tracks cycle times, production rates and unit counts, and provides a way for machine operators to interface with the software when the operator has information the software requires.
For instance, when a machine is down for a longer than expected time, the operator should be able to select a downtime reason from a pre-loaded menu. The system also should track what job was running when the machine went down and the operator that was running it, which can help identify operator training issues.
Is there a Standard Machine-Mounted Interface for All Machines?
Implementing a shop floor data collection software requires operator training and you want a system that will be easy as possible for your operators to learn and use. Having a single standardized, machine-mounted interface for all types of machines enables workers to easily use the software on each type of machine you have on the shop floor.
Can Real-Time Data be Easily Viewed and Shared?
It’s important to know how accessible the information collected in the production tracking system you choose will be to machine operators and others managing shop floor operations.
Here are some related questions and considerations:
· Does the software have built-in displays, where information can be shown around the shop, with KPIs?
· Does the software have APIs that enable the data to be shared with other programs, like ERP systems and MES (manufacturing execution software)?
· Can the data collection software generate various reports in multiple formats, like pivot tables?
Can the Data Collection Software Do More than Reduce Downtime and Increase Efficiency?
Theoretically, once your production tracking software has identified all the pain points that cause unnecessary downtime or production inefficiency, you might have optimized your production time to the point that you don’t need the software anymore. So, does the data collection system offer any other features that make it worth the time to maintain the system and have operators use it? For instance, can the software provide alerts that not only record when a machine goes down, but also informs someone that the machine is down? Can the system track cycles and send alerts for part replacement based on the expected wear of those individual parts, rather than by number of days which may not reflect actual use of the machine?
Does the Production Tracking System Feature Large, Easy-to-See Machine Downtime Displays that Negate the Need for Stack Lights?
Your shop floor data collection system shouldn’t require the installation and maintenance of other equipment to get the most use out of it. The machine interface should provide the type of notifications you’d get with stack lights, displaying the machine status graphically.
Is there a Data Collection System that can Check Off All these Criteria?
Yes, there is – ShopFloorConnect. Designed to manage all the machines on your factory floor, ShopFloorConnect offers a fully automated solution that enables manufacturers to identify and squeeze out every inefficiency that is introduced when a manually operated production tracking software is deployed.