After months of stagnation, factory activity is finally beginning to gather momentum, piggy-backing on the gains in the manufacturing industry. Citing data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, The Associated Press recently reported that the total number of orders in U.S. factories increased 0.7 percent, which continues an upward trend beginning in February. Leading the charge has been increased demand for military hardware, transportation and durable goods. Further fueling the positive outlook is the May manufacturing index published by the Institute for Supply Management, which showcased a reading of 55.4. This reflects expansion in the sector, as anything above an index rating of 50 is positive.
Increased activity in the manufacturing sector presents both opportunities and challenges to those involved in factory production and distribution. Manufacturing Engineering magazine explained that few factory-floor managers actually make use of data collection and monitoring systems to keep track of equipment effectiveness and performance. The publication reported just 4 percent of manufacturing shops actively check up on their machinery using automated systems. This can prove dangerous as factory activity ramps up.
Why do Factories Need to Improve Accuracy?
According to a recent RFgen white paper "8 Signs You Need an Automated Data Collection Solution," one of the strongest signs that a business is in need of an automated solution is the industry standard for complete accuracy. In large part, this is being driven by increased investment in computer and information technology infrastructure, which is most effectively integrated using the right tools. End users and consumers have grown intolerant of error-strewn reporting resulting from manual data collection and management processes. There's an expectation of order accuracy, visibility into item availability, delivery timeliness and efficient customer service.
How Can Factory Managers Achieve This Goal?
Barcode technology, RFID and voice-based automated data collection solutions provide elevated levels of accuracy. In fact, the RFgen white paper indicated one organization that integrated voice-optimized solutions saw data accuracy increase to 99 percent. This technology is far more intuitive, as the same organization witnessed training cycle times that were cut in half.
Validating data through automated solutions helps factories maintain real-time data that is far more accurate than traditional methods. This helps to reduce risks associated with errors in customer orders and item availability. Outdated systems create lag and increase operation costs. Ultimately, accurate data is the foundation of optimized manufacturing processes.