Steel fabrication thoughts and insights
Capturing insights by connecting things and people (5 of 7): Automatic analysis of integrated data
Many shops gather and crunch data once per week. Meetings are held, courses are corrected and everyone guesses how adrift they are until the next weekly update and new course correction. Others go through this every day—obviously they see great value in the integrated data, regularly updated.
If the process was automated they could retrieve it on demand at any time, with less effort. Formally reviewing it every day would be easy and it would be just as easy to get up to date information, on one critical project, a few hours later.
Without automation, what does the summary report mean? When the shop reports that production batch 12 is 80% fit, does this mean that 80% of the assemblies are fit or that 80% of the fit-up hours are expended? Since it’s necessary to track man-hours for payroll, it’s often the latter and no one really knows if batch 12 is actually complete and ahead on the hours or the progress estimate is nonsense and batch 12 is barely underway.
Without automation, information isn’t available to check when you are first aware of a potential problem. If the purchasing agent is over budget and keeps hearing that “Change Orders will cover it”—can they look and find out or must they remember to check the report at the end of the month? What about a project manager who just won the production meeting battle and got his critical production batch moved to the top of the list? When he comes in tomorrow, how much effort will it take to learn if the shop is acting on the new plan? The load just left, when and how confidently will the project manager know whether that critical assembly was on it?
Having the data together in one place is fundamental—but lists have to be crunched into summaries and the meaningful information presented in the right context. This can be available for the asking, all of the time.
One you commit to connecting feedback from machines, people and processes like change order submittals, shipping and purchasing, together in one place, software like FabTrol Pro can mine that data for instant, up-to-date, analysis. Hundreds of reports, included in the software or tweaked by you to address your unique concerns, are possible. FabTrol Pro also saves your filters or "queries". You can design a report, for instance, that lists assemblies completed through welding today and FabTrol can re-use your "0 to -1 days" filter again and again.