IQMS Blog for Manufacturing ERP Expertise

“Undercover Boss”

Posted by Neil Gow on Wed, Mar 31, 2010 @ 04:37 AM

Wouldn't it be great if we could all take the time to be an undercover boss? It seems like such a great idea. Slip in unnoticed and walk in the other person's shoes, spending a few day's on the "front lines" with the employees. With a good manufacturing ERP system and real-time monitoring you can accomplish just that.

If anyone knew you were the CEO or other corporate leader, they might try to impress you. Not everyone is going to be scared of what the boss might think of their work; however, if the boss was looking over your shoulder, you may have a tendency to act differently or work harder. You may even try to prove that you are worth the paycheck given to you at the end of the week. Perhaps even worthy of a raise!

In 1978 I entered into the manufacturing business of injection molding and was immediately confronted with a question, "How do you know what the people are doing right now?"  At that time the only way to answer the question was to do "rounds".  Which meant, start at one end of the shop, go to every work station, and check the status of all jobs. The trouble was I could never see the whole shop; I could only be at one machine at a time. And all the employees knew I would be along every ½ hour or so.

Well, if I had the technicians and lead personnel do rounds, I could become more efficient and have "eyes" in more places at once. I would then have them report how things were going. Great, but I was still lacking that snapshot view of how the shop was performing. In my world that was critical! I mean, if I blinked, the number of rejected parts could go through the roof! The wrong job was being set up! Material was not available! It seemed there was always something slipping through the cracks.

We had computers and programs which provided some answers to my dilemma. Work orders and inventory lists could be created and maintained. Schedules could be printed and machines had the ability to show cycle times and hours run. The trouble was none of these were linked together and could not be seen at a glance.  The "office stuff" was available in print, but the shop floor was out on an island.

Within a few years, MRP systems could address many departmental needs. Eventually stand-alone systems were added for quality or cycle counting, even machine status (running, down, need help, etc.).  These were outstanding developments!  But something was still lacking.

Now with manufacturing ERP we can have a much broader view, from the prospects and quotes, to shipping finished goods and everything in-between.  And for those who recognize the value, we can see how each and every machine is performing compared to the standard, and have it "live and in real-time".  Data brought directly to your PC, your laptop or PDA, all without doing rounds!

So if you are thinking of trying to be an "Undercover Boss" for a few days, go ahead - but now, focus on the people and how your policies are affecting their performance.  EnterpriseIQ Manufacturing ERP can guide you through the shop and can take you directly to where the issues are, and using RealTime Monitoring can help achieve higher yields while implementing lean manufacturing techniques.  Let a good ERP system go under the covers in manufacturing and let your "rounds" be interactive and personal with your most valuable asset, your people on the front line. 

Tags: manufacturing ERP software, Real-Time, Plastics ERP