Many people have been working from home over the past few months, and one of the side effects they’ve seen is fewer meetings. There’s a joke that many meetings could have just been emails. Now people are seeing the truth behind that. There are many things in a machine shop that you can’t do from home, and most employees aren’t on a computer all day, so these employees likely haven’t seen for themselves many changes in having meetings. For folks who work in manufacturing, they might not be able to send an email instead of having a meeting, but they can probably use their ERP software in place of a meeting.
Some parts of meetings can be captured in reports. You can look at trends for the cost of a particular material or see how many jobs in your shop have gone over the estimated time for completion. From this information, you can figure out if your shop should make changes and, if so, what to do. It’s hard to track this information by hand, or if you have to look at multiple notes to find it. If you have an ERP system, all of that information will already be there, and you can have a report in a few clicks. Save yourself time and effort in getting the information you need to run your shop.
To cut down on face-to-face meetings, you could send some of these reports to others with an overview. That meeting could potentially just be an email. Particularly if you’re just telling others what your plan for the shop is and why. However, not everything covered in a meeting could be an email. Status reports of different parts of the shop are better covered in ERP software, so they’re accurate whenever someone looks them up.
Sometimes meetings are purely to share information with other people. You may hear about how many jobs your shop is running this week, where certain jobs are in the shop, information about buying material, or even which jobs have shipped. If your shop doesn’t have a central place for all of this information, then everyone needs to be updated regularly. For example, someone outside of purchasing would have no way to look up how much common material costs today, so they have to ask someone in purchasing.
With ERP software, all of that information is in one place where everyone can see it if they need to, and they will only see accurate and current data. Instead of having to wait for an answer, you can look it up yourself and move on to the next job.
Scheduling is the heart of manufacturing, and it’s probably the most complicated part. Trying to fit every job in the shop into the right time slot so that they all get done by their deadlines is a complicated business, and it can take a long time. However, if you have a good ERP system, it doesn’t have to take long at all. You tell the system when the due date is and what steps a job needs, and it will schedule the job for you, down to when you need to order material. With an ERP system, you can have the schedule created in a snap, and everyone can see it with the click of a button. That means you won’t need meetings to create the schedule, or to share it with everyone.
Often, manual job tracking is done by running onto the shop floor and physically tracking down a job. Once you’ve found it, then you can have a quick meeting to tell someone else where the job is. Although, by the time you have that meeting, the job may have moved on to the next step.
With ERP software, you can find any job on your shop floor with the click of a button. No more meetings to talk about where jobs are. Also no more asking around about where a job is and how much longer it’s going to take. You can save your time and theirs.
Having current and accurate information in purchasing is critical to making good quotes and meeting a shop’s due dates. If the price of material has gone up since the last time your shop ordered it, it’s important to know that before you send a quote out to a customer. It’s also important to know if the lead time on a material has been getting longer because if you don’t account for that, that job will be late.
ERP software makes it easy for everyone to see how much materials cost. No more searching through spreadsheets or paper notes. All of the information is in the system for anyone to see who needs it. It’s also much easier to track the price and lead time if you have them recorded this way. If you see some trends you don’t like, your shop can call your supplier and ask what’s going on. If you don’t have all of the information in front of you, it’s hard to see changes over time.
It’s hard to get things ready to ship if other people are checking up on that area all the time. But, if your shop doesn’t have an ERP system, that’s probably the best way to see if a job has been shipped. It’s helpful to know when a job has been shipped. Then you can take it off the schedule and tell your customer when to expect it. If all of that information is only kept in that area of the shop, it’s harder for anyone else to know how things stand there.
An ERP system makes it easy for the folks in shipping to document how jobs are flowing through there. People in other parts of the shop can look at that with a few clicks. You’ll know when a job was shipped or when it was packed for shipping. You can look back at what jobs shipped yesterday to get an idea of when they’ll get to the customers, and you can do all of that without having to stop anyone in shipping to ask them.
Sometimes, it can be helpful to have a meeting to share information. But it’s often better if people can look up the information they need when they need it. The less time you all spend in meetings, the more time you can spend on more important things. An ERP system can help your shop avoid some of these meetings or make meetings shorter. Communication and sharing information in a shop is critical to making sure everything is done the right way and on time. Make that easier for everyone by using an ERP system to keep your shop’s information accurate and up to date.
Interested in how else ERP software can help your employees?