In an age of information, leveraging data within an organization is critical to its success. For a job shop, that data can be related to inventory, customer and employee information, scheduling, accounting, service records, sales reports and much more. It’s not uncommon for small to mid-size job shops to use multiple systems to manage data for each department, making it a challenge to run and analyze reports for the purpose of understanding where inefficiencies are.
By leveraging an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, job shop owners can integrate data from across multiple business units into one system, making it easily accessible across departments–and giving insight into areas needing improvement. Below are five areas where monitoring and leveraging data can lead to insights that drive productivity and profits.
1. Production and Equipment
The processes and workflows you’ve established may have served you well through the years, but data can reveal where improvements can be made to optimize productivity and drive improved logistics planning. Data can also reveal where downtime occurs most frequently and if equipment is running efficiently. Collecting and analyzing machine data helps you see which pieces of equipment are providing the greatest ROI and which may need to be serviced or updated to function at peak performance. It can also reveal the need for more or less frequent maintenance schedules to reduce equipment breakdowns.
Being able to manage and balance inventory levels before they run low, or eliminate unnecessary reorders that result in excess inventory, can help you forecast costs and maximize your job shop’s floor space. Parts and materials can be tracked and aligned with production schedules and projects, and packing and shipping can be optimized for faster delivery.
When your sales force has quick and easy access to quote histories, order status, customer service interactions, invoices, and supply costs, they’re equipped to generate estimates more quickly and accurately, and provide accurate answers to customers’ questions, on demand. An ERP system allows your sales team to leverage information from across the organization to strengthen relationships—and improve the chances of getting an RFQ approved sooner.
4. Back Office
Behind-the-scenes administrative tasks typically don’t generate revenue, but they’re vital to the success and smooth operation of your job shop. Employees in these roles manage a lot of data: invoicing, vendor payments, payroll, customer service records, HR, IT, and much more. To optimize and get the most out of all that data, it needs to remain highly visible. When accounting can integrate data for invoicing with the data from customer service records, for example, they’ll be able to understand why a customer’s payment may be delayed due to a shipping issue.
5. Supply Chain
Broad visibility into raw materials, suppliers, manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and customers allows a manufacturer to more efficiently manage its entire supply chain. When the information from all these areas is integrated into a single system, data provides insights needed to quickly and effectively resolve issues and, ultimately, strengthen customer relationships.
Make Data Visible
The metrics obtained from various departments will reveal key performance indicators that will help you drive continuous improvement. Communicating results with employees helps them feel ownership and accountability because when they understand the shop’s performance—both the good and not-so-good—they’re more motivated to succeed. Post results regularly, and let workers know they’re the driving force behind the company’s long-term success.
You can’t improve what you don’t measure. By implementing an ERP solution, you can easily track metrics across departments to address inefficiencies and make better decisions for your organization as a whole rather than in silos. Talk with one of our job shop experts to learn more ways data can help drive productivity in your job shop and take your operation to higher levels of success.