10 opportunities to cut costs in Custom and On Demand manufacturing – Cost Saving 4: People

10 opportunities to cut costs in Custom and On Demand manufacturing – Cost Saving 4: People

Tracking productivity and creating performance accountability

In most factories, work simply progresses from one stage to the next. Volume and variety of tasks obscure visibility into who is doing what. While there’s a general sense of who the top workers are, hard data is almost always lacking. This means that there is a lack of accountability for the work being done and a lack of intelligence around the rate at which product moves through the factory.

The next significant cost-saving opportunity in workflow automation arises from having precise, actual, and well-informed knowledge about who is doing what work, when, and on which workstation. With this data, you can make informed decisions about how to allocate effort to meet production demands.

I was at a site very recently where they had strong scheduling capability but no accountability for task level performance. Management felt that they couldn’t explain 10-20% of effort but on average they were hitting their deadlines. It demands the question of what could be?

On the other hand, one of our sites used ZenSmart’s scan data to overhaul their dispatch department. Several weeks of data made it clear who was consistently meeting customer order dispatch deadlines and at what hourly rate productivity. Key counselling and staff selection decisions flowed from the hard statistical data that was available to underpin the decision.

Cost saving 4 flows from having staff log into their workstations and setting short no action time outs on their workstations. Coupled with scanning of Batch or Job Sheets the data foundation for being able to attach work quantity to individuals is established.

By having staff logged in at their workstations and scanning work passing their workstation, we establish the “who, what and where” of all work. Who is working, what they are working on and where they are working.

It may sound simple (it’s not) but the implication of this information is profound. The level of staffing and scheduling decisions that can flow from this data enables whole production flows (and flow schedules – but more on that later) to be recast and significant cost to be removed.

Next > Machines: Automation and making dumb machines smart

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© ZenSmart.ai

Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith is the CEO of ZenSmart, a leading workflow automation platform that streamlines manufacturing in On Demand plants across the world.



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