Maximizing Uptime on the Shop Floor with Asset Tracking

Michael Clark
Thu, Apr 18, 2019

Key Takeaways:

  • Businesses struggle to develop efficient manufacturing processes
  • Change is a constant in the manufacturing cycle
  • Mobile data collection technology with barcoding supports Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), giving suppliers more visibility into their supply chain and manufacturing processes
  • Mobile data collection helps manufacturers increase efficiency, speed up product delivery and reduce waste
Running any asset-heavy enterprise means tracking a significant number of assets across multiple locations and in the field.
Running any asset-heavy enterprise means tracking a significant number of assets across multiple locations and in the field.

You come into work each day with the goal of ensuring that the company’s manufacturing systems run smoothly. After your morning cup of coffee, you receive an alert telling you that robotic arm number 15 stopped working. Later, your lunch is interrupted by an email notifying you that the parts shipment will arrive two hours late. Throughout the day, you scramble to make adjustments but you never seem to catch up. You need help managing the chaos that often arises on the plant floor; Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) solutions lend you a hand.

Today’s manufacturing is dynamic. Product demand fluctuates. The business struggles to understand what elements are needed. Your firm relies on manual systems to track inventory. You would rather be safe than sorry, so you stock spare inventory, just in case your count is under, a decision that makes sense but ties up working capital.

Businesses typically rely on a “best guess” rather than empirical evidence to gauge performance. For instance, a recent survey found that 65% percent of companies lack complete visibility into their equipment assets. You feel the same way. The lack of transparency negatively impacts the bottom line. Unplanned downtime costs businesses an average of $260,000 per hour, according to Aberdeen Research. You do not want to be one of these statistics.

Enterprise Asset Management Increases Efficiency

Help is emerging. Recent technical advances provide you with the ability to gauge device, system, and supply chain performance and health in real time. Technologies like mobile data collection support EAM strategies, and thus are becoming essential tools for producers. Taking advantage of new digital solutions helps manufacturing plants streamline processes, minimize downtime, increase yields, and lower the percentage of defective parts. The money wasted with manual processes can be reallocated into more valuable areas, such as hiring, infrastructure investments, and growth initiatives.

Elements in the supply chain, spanning from parts to robots, have gained intelligence. Various device sensors are now placed on each component, so you can collect information about how that item is performing. Today’s smart devices measure asset health (up, down) and how they respond to variables, such as temperature, humidity and vibration.

the-rise-of-automated-mobile-data-collection-tech

The Rise of Automated Mobile Data Collection

Automated mobile data collection, also called mobile barcoding, ADC or AIDC, uses mobile devices and barcodes to automate data collection with very high levels of accuracy. Mobile devices scan elements in real time as they flow into, through and out of the plant or warehouse. This includes fixed assets, spare parts for maintenance, raw materials and finished products.

Implementing mobile barcode scanners and mobile apps not only eases the labor and accuracy burden of data collection, but also provides a stepping stone in preparing your company for the move into the digital age. These solutions extend the functionality of your ERP (and other software systems) to handheld systems, which provides you with real-time data on stock levels and asset conditions. In addition, your business replaces traditional paper and manual business processes with automation, reducing costs, increasing efficiency and speeding up turnaround times.

Transforming Information into Action

Digital automation solutions like RFgen’s Fixed Asset Solution and Manufacturing Floor Data Collection Solution enable your operation to transform data into action. These solutions track materials, product and assets, such as plant equipment, vehicles, tools and other fixed assets, no matter where they are in your enterprise.

Asset tracking technology is a critical component in any enterprise asset management (EAM) strategy.
Asset tracking technology is a critical component in any enterprise asset management (EAM) strategy.

Your organization benefits in many ways from these tools. The enterprise takes lost, stolen, broken, or otherwise disposed assets off the books. More accurate asset inventory lowers property tax assessments and insurance premiums, while ensuring existing fixed assets continue to pull their investment weight.

The business become more proactive. Traditionally, device maintenance has been a best guess. You monitor equipment, collect information about breakdowns and then create a schedule. Only when maintenance techs went to the warehouse to pull spare parts and consumables to fix those machines did they discover they couldn’t perform the maintenance scheduled.

Instead, parts inventory can be monitored in real time, supporting optimized maintenance scheduling and a smoother plant operation. Any fixed assets required to keep things running in the field receive the same level of real-time visibility via digital tracking technology. Unifying these technologies into a single platform like RFgen will ensure your ERP system receives data from all the right systems.

Reaping Mobile Data Collection’s Benefits

Factories that derive insights from mobile data collection will become the leaders in uptime and efficiency. They:

  • Automate data collection and improve the accuracy of raw materials, WIP inventory and finished products.
  • Streamline data communication between business systems, such as the ERP.
  • Deliver real-time information to reduce unplanned downtime and maximize uptime.
  • Respond to changes in the supply chain and at the plant proactively.
  • Enhance productivity by reducing manual administrative tasks.
  • Remove blacklisted ingredients before they reach the shop floor, which improves compliance and reduces waste.
  • Comply with regulatory requirements and ease traceability of ingredients and parts.

You have been grappling with asset management issues for years. You often find yourself in the precarious position of either not having the production processes determine your actions rather than vice versa. A mobile data collection solution puts you in control of your supply and manufacturing chains so the organization performs more effectively—and you can eat your lunch without any unexpected interruptions.

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