There’s an art to integrating computerized data collection systems on the manufacturing floor. Unless you plan correctly, you won’t actually improve productivity on your manufacturing floor. Here are 5 questions often overlooked when integrating computerized data collection systems, ignore them at your peril.
5 questions to ask when integrating computerized data collection systems
1. Have you told the staff?
It happens. Manufacturing firms buy in new machinery or IT equipment, completely altering processes and procedures that staff have become accustomed to, only to realize none of the personnel on the frontline know how to operate it? Epic fail.
Plan a staff meeting prior to any changes to manufacturing floor processes, supply information on the new IT equipment coming in and reassure them that training will be provided.
This means you can set one-on-one training sessions for your personnel that are manageable, rather than having X amount of staff turn up on a Monday morning to find you’ve integrated new computerized data collection systems, leaving you to face a lot of questions and perhaps some grumbling.
2. Do you need training?
Installation day for your new computerized data collection system comes and goes. As it was installed by your supplier, alarm bells suddenly start ringing when you realize that you weren’t trained on how to use it. You’re stuck with software you don’t know how to install and systems you don’t know how to operate.
What’s worse is that you can’t make sense of the manual to even get you started. If you’re having a supplier install your new IT equipment, ask for a quick run-through on how to use it. If you’re installing it, make sure you have a good grasp of how it works as your staff will be relying on you for guidance.
3. What data needs collecting?
Have a plan for the data you want to collect. Seems obvious, but it’s not uncommon for certain data to go under the radar because it wasn’t considered. To set you on your way, here are some key pieces of data commonly collected by manufacturing floors that can be computerized:
- Purchasing information
- Cost accounting
- Stock levels and inventory
You need to make sure the computerized system you’re putting in place on your manufacturing floor is up to the job you need it to do, collecting the essential pieces of data that will improve rather than hinder your process.
4. What type of computerized system will you opt for?
Standard computers that you already have on site or touch screen technology are just two of the viable options available to you. Bringing existing computer equipment to the manufacturing floor keeps costs and disruption to a minimum while touch screen systems serve to speed up and improve manufacturing productivity, long-term.
5. Have you thought about futureproofing your computer systems?
Integrating computerized data collection systems on the manufacturing floor should not be done without any thought to protecting those systems from the environmental effects. Heat, humidity, the cold, dust, dirt, grime and liquids are the nemeses of computers.
This is especially true if you opt to use any standard IT equipment on the manufacturing floor. It’s recommended that you look at investment in a purpose-built computer enclosure if you’re considering integrating your ‘typical’ computer into your manufacturing process.
Equally, with a view to installing touch screen computers, look into a touch screen system that comes encased in a protective enclosure. You’ll often find that you can source touch screen industrial PCs that combine an enclosure with an integrated screen, which will save you time on sourcing, while saving you money on shipping and delivery.
To integrate computerized data collection systems on your manufacturing floor seamlessly, help yourself to the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ guide.