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7 Data Points That Every Manufacturer Should Track

26th Mar 2024

7 Data Points That Every Manufacturer Should Track

Monitoring data is more than a way to comply with manufacturing regulations; it’s a method that offers insights into daily operations and encourages improvement. As a manufacturer who wants to take their company to the next level, consider taking the time to learn the data points you should start tracking.

1. Inventory Levels

Diligent inventory management is a logistical, strategic approach that encourages operational efficiency and profitability. The foundation lies in the implementation of a reliable tracking system. Such systems should provide real-time data on stock levels, encompassing raw materials, work-in-progress (WIP) items, and finished goods.

Real-time visibility enables manufacturers to maintain optimal inventory levels and minimize carrying costs. As a result, the supplies are readily available to meet production schedules and customer demands.

How To Track Inventory Levels

A primary method of inventory tracking includes adopting an inventory management system (IMS). It automates the tracking process by monitoring stock movements, updating records in real time, and providing comprehensive reports on inventory status.

Another practice is conducting physical inventory counts to verify the accuracy of the system’s data against actual stock on hand. Although time-consuming, these counts identify discrepancies early on. Employing cycle counting, where a subset of inventory is counted on a rotating schedule, can make this task more manageable and less disruptive.

2. Quality Metrics

Quality metrics serve as a gauge for production processes’ effectiveness and product integrity. These metrics commonly cover defect rates, return rates, adherence to specifications, and customer satisfaction scores. Manufacturers committed to ongoing quality enhancement are more likely to secure repeat business, attract new clientele, and gain a competitive advantage.

Neglecting quality benchmarks contributes to increased returns, recalls, unsatisfied customers, and a poor brand reputation. By implementing quality metric tracking, you’re demonstrating the company’s obligation to high-quality outputs and prosperity.

How To Implement Quality Metrics

To effectively track quality metrics, manufacturers must design a comprehensive quality control program that embeds quality checkpoints at various stages of the production process. Manufacturers will then gather data on defect rates, perform root cause analysis, and continuously monitor performance against quality standards.

Regular audits and inspections play a pivotal role in ensuring adherence to established protocols. Additionally, it encourages improvements across the facility.

3. Supply Chain Performance

The flow of goods is just as valuable as the quality of the products themselves. Tracking supply chain performance involves monitoring several key performance indicators (KPIs) that collectively provide insights into the health and efficiency of the supply chain processes. Key metrics include supplier on-time delivery performance, transportation costs, lead times, inventory turnovers, and the accuracy of demand forecasts.

How To Track Supply Chain Performance

Start by integrating a comprehensive supply chain management system that facilitates real-time data collection and analysis. Such systems enable manufacturers to visualize performance across the entire supply chain, identify bottlenecks, and assess supplier reliability.

The next step is to engage in regular communication with suppliers. It’s an effective way to strengthen relationships, point out changing trends, and tackle the end goal together.

4. Energy Consumption

Manufacturing typically poses a threat to the environment if the facility isn’t conscious of its energy utilization, greenhouse gas emissions, or the demand for natural resources. Minimizing your carbon footprint lies within monitoring and decreasing energy consumption.

This may include optimizing machine operation schedules, investing in energy-efficient technologies, and encouraging staff participation in energy conservation initiatives. Over time, continuous monitoring and improvement of energy consumption will offer significant cost savings and successfully demonstrate more sustainable efforts.

How To Evaluate Energy Consumption

Key metrics to track include total energy usage over time, energy usage by department or machinery, peak demand times, and efficiencies achieved through conservation efforts. Effectively monitor each of these data points by implementing an energy management system (EMS) that offers real-time insights into patterns in every stage of the manufacturing process.

Using EMS entails deploying sensors and meters throughout the manufacturing facilities to collect detailed energy consumption data. The ideal positions include:

  • Main electrical ingress points
  • Individual production lines and machines
  • HVAC systems
  • Lighting systems
  • Utility rooms

5. Equipment Downtime

Downtime describes the periods when machinery is not operational due to malfunctions, maintenance, or setup changes. This directly impacts productivity and efficiency. Evaluating downtime allows you to identify patterns, improve maintenance strategies, and prevent future disruptions.

Blending collected downtime data with other performance data elements allows managers to evaluate the broader impact of equipment failures on production targets, product quality, and delivery timelines. By understanding and reducing equipment downtime, manufacturers improve operational efficiency while strengthening customer satisfaction through reliable order fulfillment and product quality.

How To Track Equipment Downtime

Categorize downtime events into planned and unplanned categories. Planned downtime might include scheduled maintenance and equipment upgrades, while unplanned downtime occurs unexpectedly due to equipment failures or operational issues. Tracking these separately helps in assessing the reliability of machinery and the efficiency of maintenance schedules.

6. Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance is a key component in preventing excessive equipment downtime. When you plan for maintenance, manufacturing operations aren’t affected. Instead, the facility remains productive because it’s an expected occurrence. Employees will work around the equipment maintenance and stay on task for maximum efficiency.

Not to mention, predictive maintenance also extends the lifespan of manufacturing equipment. Fixing issues ahead of time reduces maintenance costs and contributes to a dynamic manufacturing facility.

How To Conduct Predictive Maintenance

Begin by equipping machinery with sensors that monitor various indicators of operational health. These indicators include vibration, temperature, and acoustics.

The sensors continuously collect data. Analyzing the data allows manufacturers to detect patterns or anomalies indicative of potential failure. Advanced analytics tools and machine learning models will forecast the lifespan of components and machinery, thereby notifying maintenance teams about the optimal time for intervention.

7. Facility Conditions

The temperature, air quality, and humidity can influence how comfortable the work environment is as well as the quality of the products. Fluctuations in these factors significantly impact production efficiency—especially in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals or food and beverage products.

How To Track Facility Conditions

Employ a variety of sensors and devices around the facility for continuous monitoring. Chart recorders are traditional yet effective instruments for tracking temperature and humidity over time. These devices offer a visual representation of environmental metrics, allowing facility managers to identify trends or deviations from desired conditions swiftly.

The key to observing data and drawing conclusions with chart recorders lies in the quality of chart recorder pens. It’s essential to have replacements on hand so that no aspect of data falls through the cracks. When you’re proactive, you’re less likely to have mishaps within the manufacturing facility.

In addition to chart recorders, digital sensors offer continuous monitoring of air quality, temperature, and humidity. A building management system (BMS) can collect and analyze this data, enabling automated adjustments to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to maintain ideal conditions.

Manufacturing is a tedious industry that relies on accurate data monitoring. Recorders Charts and Pens have a great variety of tools to make it easy for manufacturers to track various data points. From chart recorders to replacement pens to paper, you’ll see a progression in each element of production and substantial customer satisfaction with these items at your disposal.

7 Data Points That Every Manufacturer Should Track

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