The most competitive manufacturers, logistics, and warehousing companies operate with a continuous improvement mindset. However, maintaining a focus on future improvements can be difficult, especially as customers require around-the-clock attention and support.
Keeping your customer in mind, however, is why your manufacturing company needs to focus on improvements. Whether you use paper and pen to collect data or whether you automate data gathering, there are always opportunities for improvement that can result in competitive advantages and improved customer loyalty.
Here are 4 recommendations for continuous improvement:
1. Employ rugged mobile or wearable devices
Most consumer-class devices are not designed with durability in mind, let alone a rugged workspace like an industrial warehouse. Rugged mobile devices, like tablets, scanners, and printers, maximize worker productivity, allowing your shop floor to manage and problem-solve at their station.
In addition to rugged mobile devices, wearable devices are leading the way when it comes to innovating new ways to meet customer demands. With wearables, workers can process transactions in a smooth, cost-effective way without compromising their safety, productivity or customer satisfaction. Companies adopting wearable technologies are seeing greater flexibility, better productivity, more accurate data, and increased communication—all of which builds to an improved customer experience.
2. Increase visibility with RFID technology
While both barcodes and RFID technologies have their uses, RFIDs are not dependent on line of sight, meaning that tags can be read as long as they are within range of the reader. Additionally, RFID technology can uniquely identify each tagged asset, and multiple RFID tags can be read simultaneously.
With RFIDs, you can monitor your assets, products, and materials in real-time, ensuring absolute visibility into your inventory. With the right set-up, RFIDs can also provide data on your processes, increasing the accuracy and efficiency of your workforce. This level of visibility can even save you money!
3. Use real-time tracking to improve responsiveness
With RFIDs or other warehouse data collection systems in place, you have the opportunity to respond to customers at a moment’s notice. Manufacturers can come closer to same-day order fulfillment, delivering quickly and reacting to changes as needed.
According to the Epic Data whitepaper, Shop Floor Data Collection is Critical to Being a Global Player, “With real-time visibility into the stage of production, manufacturers can quickly respond to customers regarding the impact of change requests and what the adjusted delivery dates will be.”
This level of agility and quick reaction time is the type of service customers expect, and the service that solidifies more business in the future.
4. Integrate systems for a single view
Has your manufacturing company built up processes and technology separately over time? This is typical due to budget and time constraints. However, manufactures that invest in ERP, WMS or other numerous management systems can face increasingly complex challenges due to the siloed nature of each piece of software. Unconnected systems can be a silent killer when it comes to productivity and lead to problems such as:
- Inaccurate information
- Disruption and delays in the supply chain
- Increase in overhead costs
The solution: Integrate systems or combine the data of many systems. This level of integration means greater productivity and a wholistic view of your company and customer.
Let us help
If you want to get more done in less time, the SMS Group is here for you. We have almost 30 years’ experience helping manufacturing companies find the best solutions to streamline and improve their operations. To learn more, give us a call at 937-498-2700 or fill a contact form and we will be in touch.