In our frequent conversations with manufacturers, an ongoing concern for all of them is productivity level—they’re searching for ways to increase their productivity and at the same time maximize efficiency, optimizing their output. Obstacles to high productivity present themselves differently for every manufacturer; more companies are seeing asset tracking technology as a way to solve these challenges and realizing substantial productivity gains (and financial savings) as a result.
Here’s how three common manufacturing productivity issues are addressed with asset tracking:
3 Ways To Improve Productivity In Manufacturing With Asset Tracking
1. Adjust processes to achieve peak efficiency.
Many of the manufacturers we talk to know that one or more of their processes take too long. Typically they have an idea of how long it should take and they’re falling short of that measure (i.e., a process should take 60 minutes but it regularly takes 90); sometimes they have no idea how long it should take but want to find ways to improve the process to achieve maximum efficiency.
Beyond simply timing a process, asset tracking allows for detailed work-in-progress analysis. Unfinished goods can be actively tracked as they proceed through the steps of production, noting what’s involved at every stage and how long each one takes. It offers a deeper look at the individual components of your processes. Based on the data you receive, you can dig into the areas that are taking longer than anticipated, identify choke points, and note where steps deviate from the norm. Or, if you don’t know how long a process should take, you can use asset tracking to create a baseline, benchmark best practices, and continually track progress against those best practices to reach the desired time.
2. Gain Visibility Over Transport Containers & Supplies To Deliver On Time
An issue that plagues many large manufacturers is a lack of visibility into the location of specialty fixtures, containers, and racks used for the transportation of materials and/or supplies. Often these custom-designed transport containers go missing because they’re constantly on the move, usually between two or more facilities, and searching for them takes time. Not only does this situation cause delays in production, it also costs money (if suppliers charge extra for alternate shipping containers) and usually results in having excessive inventory, which is a waste of financial capital.
Asset tracking can improve your visibility over transport containers as well as other necessary supplies. Not only will you always know their location, you can also schedule their movement in advance, to ensure they’ll be in the right places at the right times, streamlining production. You’re also freeing up capital from a less valuable part of your production process so it can be invested elsewhere.
3. Locate Materials/Tools/Equipment To Save Time
One company we know of estimates that it loses a million dollars of labor time due to the hours spent searching for lost equipment (and not billing customers for maintenance). This isn’t uncommon, particularly for repair facilities and research & development companies operating in large spaces, like aircraft hangars. Asset tracking ensures that materials and shared tools and equipment are always easily locatable, saving time and ultimately, money.
Looking into asset tracking to improve productivity in your manufacturing plant?
While many manufacturers realize the value of asset tracking, some are also hesitant to get “locked” into a system that may serve them well now—but what about the future? Many available solutions require a large financial investment, serve a single use case, and rely on the provider’s longevity to remain operational.
I encourage you to take a look at AirFinder—Link Labs’ asset tracking technology. Our approach is different than that of other asset tracking solutions. We’re not making a specific piece of hardware; instead, we design software that runs on any Bluetooth device. That gives our system a level of flexibility that others don’t have. Whatever Bluetooth devices can do—tracking, sensing, monitoring, opening/closing doors, etc.—our system can support. So if your use case changes, your AirFinder system will, too.
Plus, we don’t rely on any specific, single technology at any level—tags, end devices, or networking—we have partners in every area. That means the future of your asset tracking isn’t tied to a single company’s products, which not only gives you more flexibility but also lowers your costs.
If you’d like to learn more about AirFinder and the Symphony Link wireless system that supports it, schedule a demo. We’ll talk through how an asset tracking system can best deliver value at your manufacturing company to improve productivity, and give you a tour of the system.