Batch process manufacturers can face numerous problems when handling batch production. Although arguably the best means of balancing the need for quality with the need for quantity, this scaled-down version of assembly line methods still has many flaws, largely revolving around the unavoidable delays caused by having to stop the whole line before you can switch between product runs.
This is not to say that it doesn’t have its advantages. It is a useful method for small businesses lacking the capital to run continuous production lines, it’s a hugely effective way to avoid excessive waste and helps to ensure that the entirety of a company’s stock is not lost should a manufacturing problem ruin one batch.
Nor can its utility when producing seasonal products be downplayed, or its usefulness in the event of retailers cancelling orders should a product fail to sell well. In both instances, it can go a long way towards alleviating the danger of manufacturers making large scale investments in products that may not sell.
Unfortunately, this does not negate the method’s disadvantages, primarily that producing products in batches is made inefficient by the downtime that is such an unavoidable part of the process. This really can be lengthy, especially where the means of production is complicated or involves several machines.
But how best to help, if not eradicate, at least alleviate such issues? The answer may well lie in investing in a manufacturing execution system.
Manufacturing execution systems: their uses and benefits
Manufacturing execution systems are essentially computerised systems which can be utilised to track and document the transformation of raw materials to finished goods during the manufacturing process.
These can operate across multiple areas, tracking everything from downtime management for overall equipment effectiveness to order execution and dispatch, resource scheduling, tracking and tracing materials, and even quality control and quality management. They thus generate an ‘as-built’ record, to capture the data, processes, and outcomes of the manufacturing lifecycle and quality checks – an especially useful tool for those working in regulated industries like food and drinks or pharmaceuticals.
Working in real-time, such systems have the ability to control multiple elements of the production process to ensure high output quality; from inputs to machines, personnel, and support services, and in doing so can be invaluable in helping manufacturers to make decisions that will optimise their process and increase their production output.
As well as helping to create such improved manufacturing processes through the provision of real-time feedback, manufacturing execution systems can also:
- Increase uptime.
- Incorporate paperless workflow activities.
- Produce an accurate capture of cost information relating to downtime, labour, scrap, and tooling.
- Reduce inventory by removing the need for just-in-case stock.
- Reduce rework, scrap and waste - and in doing so improve setup times.
- Assist with by-product management.
To learn more about such manufacturing execution systems, why not get in touch with us today? WinMan offers a comprehensive all-in-one product to help improve your business and increase your output. Speak to us and see how it could benefit your company.