How To Gain Better Visibility of Your Supply Chain

By: Mike Cammarato on May 13, 2015
Tagged: Education

Lean manufacturing is one of the best ways to boost productivity while cutting costs, but taking the first step to get there can seem overwhelming without access to the right information.

Make Sense of All That Data

Your Data Tells Your Story

The key to taking the first step towards a lean supply chain is getting a better handle on your process data. While no one will argue against "the more data the better", mass amounts of data won't do you any good if you're left to make heads or tails of it on your own. The best way to leverage data to your advantage is by aggregating it into one place from the get go! Whether it's process data from a historian, lab data from your QA department, or shipping information from your supply chain, everything should be working together to give you one picture of how your business is running.

What Does Visibility Look Like In Practice?

Whether you're starting up or have been running your operation for years, your process will eventually drive you towards SCADA/MES/MOM systems. Manufacturing Execution Systems are the glue that tie your process together. Everything from process data, to scheduling, to your ERP system will work as one. MES systems take your raw data and turn it into information you can use to make better decisions to run your operation. Imagine sitting down at your desk, logging into a dashboard and seeing everything you need to know about your business in one screen, as well as the health of your process relative to the rest of your business.

Identify Opportunities To Reduce Costs

One of the easiest ways to reduce operational costs is to build transparency into your process. What if everyone who was entitled to inventory and material levels had access to it remotely along with other process data? What if everyone responsible for managing your organization was looking at the same picture of your process? Giving the right people the right data, at the right time is what drives smart decision making. In order to deliver industry and customer specific solutions, staying on top of KPIs is crucial, and a white-board isn't going to give you information back.

Putting It All Together

While these concepts can be overwhelming, implementing SCADA and MES systems can be a painless process that doesn't break the bank. With recent developments in web-based and cloud technologies, customized solutions work in tandem with the industry standard infrastructure you already have in place to give you a bird's eye view of your business. Think of these customized solutions as adding a layer on top of your existing infrastructure.

Visualize A More Efficient Business

The beauty of cloud-based solutions is that they're as flexible as you need them to be. Better visibility of your process can look however you would like it to look. Anything from a simple dashboard that can be accessed from from your phone or computer with basic information you want to see, to a rich site with real-time data, trends, and notifications that are pushed to your phone based on custom parameters you set. The possibilities are endless and are only limited by your imagination, and the resources you have around you.

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