And How Realtrac’s Rightboard Fixes Them

We’ve heard it countless times from industry professionals; the whiteboard on the shop floor has had the same writing on it for days and the information on it is no longer relevant. Or the spreadsheet or current software program is only helpful when everyone using it does so correctly—which isn’t consistent enough to yield accurate data. They’ve got machines down and jobs lost because things get chaotic on the floor. And while being busy is a good thing, it means little when the resulting output is a lack of profitability. There’s an epic battle being waged against machine and labor control and when chaos wins, the business suffers.

Here are the top five shop floor productivity killers we hear from the shop managers and owners:

  1. “We’re missing our delivery dates!” For any number of reasons (like #4) delivery dates are missed. In a nutshell, it’s because the floor productivity isn’t being maximized. Missed delivery dates leads to dissatisfaction from the customer and backs up other jobs…which leads to a loss of profit and customers. Yup, missed delivery dates is a huge productivity killer.
  2. “My employees are always asking what parts to run next.” Getting bogged down with scheduling details is another top productivity killer. When you’re forced to focus on details, the bigger picture gets neglected. These details, halfheartedly managed on whiteboards, are ignored by employees who assume the information is outdated, instead seeking out their manager. An idle employee approaching a subsequently distracted manager decreases the floor’s productivity—and it happens frequently throughout the work week.
  3. “I don’t know which work centers I can sell.” Opportunities are lost when a manager isn’t fully aware of the machines’ statuses. One manager confided, “I lost a prospect in the time it took to find out if the right station was available. Everyone’s looking for immediate responses.” The time it takes to figure out where to shift or squeeze other jobs to fit a hot job is a logistical nightmare and—you guessed it—a big productivity killer.
  4. “My work stations are always over booked.” Overbooked work centers lead to late deliveries and dissatisfied customers. This can be a rabbit hole of disaster if not addressed—and fixed—quickly. When a machine is overburdened on work, it directly impacts profitability. Efficiency is the name of the game and it takes a strong program to calculate the workload and appropriate machine ratio for all jobs.
  5. “I don’t have any control over my shop floor.” When your day-to-day work consistently feels out of control, the workplace feels like a ticking time-bomb. If the shop is hectic enough regularly, it really is only a matter of time before some major complications arise. Problems caught early enough can be fixed; if they’re not, they can escalate and create a domino-effect of negative results—with your productivity steadily decreasing.

The bottom line? Shop floor time wasters are the result of disorganization—and while every manager tries to address the problem by using whiteboards and spreadsheets, they continue to fall behind the busier the shop gets. And when the work flow is disjointed, the output will reflect it.

Realtrac Performance ERP sought to fix those problems by taking the feedback from shop floor managers and creating tools to solve the issues. One such tool was Rightboard, a program designed to run concurrently with Realtrac Performance ERP (www.realtrac.com).

“Because we work above a machine shop floor, we were very knowledgeable about their pain points and we were very diligent in our pursuit to resolve every issue they dealt with,” Realtrac software engineer Mark Eckler said regarding the invention of Rightboard. “The capabilities of Rightboard are numerous, because every pain point carries its own set of ‘what-ifs’ and we addressed all of it.”

The real-time automation tool was designed to support workstations and crews, ensuring no time, machine, or manpower is lost. The tool receives its data from the jobs and part routings within Realtrac in real-time, enabling production managers to efficiently schedule jobs, machines, and employees, seamlessly ensuring a smooth flow of operations. Rightboard is proven to increase production quality and on-time deliveries while successfully reducing production costs.

Electronic whiteboard scheduling, drag and drop capability for jobs and parts by machine, what-if scheduling, load balance, and job and part tracking is just a hint of what Rightboard can do. Managers no longer must search for whether or a not workstation can handle a new order—Rightboard does the thinking—fast—and can even expedite a job to push it through.

Rich Fournier, shop manager of Delta Research in Livonia, Michigan, said, “Finally a scheduling program that works. It has been a game changer for us.”

Realtrac’s software engineers fine-tune Rightboard to eliminate productivity killers from their offices situated within a manufacturing facility. Disorganization is laid to rest as manufacturers have access to real-time updates, which show managers and employees where and when to focus their attention. The program optimizes each work center to perform at its highest efficiency, solving workstation woes of neglect and overloaded machines. Most companies realize a return on their investment of Rightboard within 90 days. To learn more about the tool, contact us.