Industry Blog

How to Automate and Streamline Your Shop Floor

The heart and soul of any metals processing company is the shop floor. This is where the action is! And where the core business of slitting, bending, drilling, painting, and assembling happens. It doesn’t matter how good your sales team is or how your back-office performs, if the shop floor isn’t managed well, your customers will be unhappy and your company will suffer. Conversely, if the shop floor performs well, it drives revenue for the entire business.

Keeping production on track and meeting deadlines is not easy. Add complex inventory requirements and machine operator utilization to the matrix and you have an even more difficult challenge.

The good news is that there is a modern and affordable Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) that is designed specifically for the metals industry. RealSTEEL can collect and analyze data that will automate shop floor scheduling, including multi-step processing. There’s never been a better time to update your technology platform to take advantage of the cloud. Your shop floor will become the deserved showcase of your business and will outshine your competitors.

Does My Shop Really Need Dynamic Scheduling?

The rules really have changed for the metals service industry, including the mandate to optimize the shop floor. In order to remain competitive in today’s market, you must streamline that full production process. Dynamic scheduling optimizes all the resources involved in your operations.

By automating the planning and scheduling of the shop floor, workers become more efficient. Production managers have total visibility into the shop floor at all times and can monitor the complete range of operations and activities. And because cloud ERP enables real-time data, managers have accurate and actionable information at their fingertips. Reports and dashboards provide a single version of the truth. Current and upcoming problems are quickly identified and can be addressed immediately to limit any damage.

Introducing automation to your shop floor will help uncover any operational weaknesses such as machine time, staff performance, and resource issues. When you can address problems and potential problems early, you can minimize the impact. Automation also eliminates common reporting errors such as machine and operator time as well as payroll and more.

The Importance of Tracking Shop Floor Activity

Automated, real-time access to shop floor activity simplifies data entry and reduces errors. Real-time job tracking decreases the administrative burden of managing a shop floor and makes it easier for all workers. Accurate time and job tracking also lead to more accurate job costing.

By routing and tracking jobs automatically, you can capture all of the actual activity as jobs move through production. This includes at a minimum:

  • Material
  • Labor
  • Overhead
  • Outside processing

A modern ERP solution will capture all the relevant data and provide visibility to the information. This becomes fundamental to understanding and managing costs.

 How Cloud ERP Transforms the Shop Floor

In addition to the traditional metal business services like slitting, bending and painting, today’s customers also want drilling, painting, bending and assembling of components. To keep production on track and meet promise dates, while balancing complex inventory requirements and machine/operator utilization, you need software that collects and analyzes the data to automate scheduling.

A cloud-based ERP platform designed to support multi-step processing will maintain production schedules that dynamically adjust to unexpected changes. With automated scheduling that optimizes utilization of materials, machines, operators, and processes you can:

  • Calculate materials usage automatically for every job, pinpointing shortages or drops that can be used on other orders.
  • Proactively identify the need for alternative resources like outsourced processing.
  • Allow operators to directly input actuals data from the shop floor, from material usage to remnants to quality issues.
  • Adjust schedules in real-time to respond to any change orders or unplanned machine downtime.

The better your shop floor control, the better your inventory and operations control, and the better the productivity of your workers. Performance and ROI of a manufacturing business vary directly in proportion to the shop floor control.

How to Get More Control of Your Shop Floor

Our experts here at RealSTEEL are ready to answer your questions and show you how to get more control and insight as orders move through production. Our modern and affordable ERP solution will help you drive down costs and pump up profits.

Download our ebook, New Rules of Metals Operations: How Cloud ERP Delivers Data-driven Insights and Masters Multi-step Processing.


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