Benefits of Real-Time Shop Floor Data Collection and Automation

4/9/21 12:00 AM

Manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to improve the efficiency of their production operations in an effort to meet the ever-changing customer expectations. Most manufacturers feel as if they have no visibility or control over how their shop floor is operating. Taking control of your manufacturing floor activity is essential in order to achieve maximum production efficiency, cut costs, and increase profits.

real-time shop floor data collection benefits

Many manufacturing facilities have started to implement real-time shop floor data collection and automation software to gain visibility within their shop floor operations and take charge of their entire production processes. 

Shop floor control technology provides real-time and accurate data on labor and production costs. This allows production managers to make data-driven decisions and identify areas that are in need of improvement. 

Integrated software ensures that accurate data is collected and allows everyone in the company to have access to the most recent and accurate data set. Before implementing a shop floor collection and automation software, it is important to understand the benefits of it and why paper reporting is simply not enough anymore. 

Why Paper is Problematic

First, let’s explore why paper reporting is not enough anymore. Utilizing paper reports and spreadsheets for shop floor data collection systems is by far a less efficient and more time-consuming process. 

If you are not using real-time shop floor data, you are setting yourself behind competitors that are using these systems. Some of the reasons why paper reporting and data collection is problematic includes:

  1. Your decisions are based on dated information. In an emergency, it is much more time-consuming to have someone track down the information on the shop floor than have the answers to their questions immediately.
  2. There is reduced visibility within the production process. Your planners and schedulers are likely working with separate spreadsheets and reports. Not only are these time-consuming to produce, but it can also take hours to modify the schedule if there are changes to be made to it. 
  3. You are not able to quickly adjust to changes in demand or respond to unexpected problems occurring on the shop floor. This means that your planners, schedulers, and floor shop personnel may be working with different sets of data which can be highly costly and problematic.
  4. The process of gathering data takes more effort than the benefits are worth because the process cannot be automated. This means that you have full-time staff gathering and reporting information along with your planners and schedulers. By the time the data gets back to the shop floor, it is historical and less valuable which leads to problems and inefficiencies in the supply chain. 

Using manual spreadsheets to plan and schedule while manually collecting shop-floor data can be problematic for your production process. This is why many manufacturers are using integrated real-time shop floor data collection and automation systems. In the following section, we will identify some of the many benefits that come with the implementation of a real-time automated data collection system.

real-time data collection on the shop floor

Benefits of Real-Time Shop Floor Data Collection

With real-time shop floor data collection, manufacturers are able to eliminate issues related to using paper-based production scheduling and reporting methods. When a company begins to use real-time shop floor data collection, they will quickly see the benefits accumulate. These benefits include:

  • Automated Data Collection - The main benefit of real-time data collection is that it is a highly automated process. This means that you reduce the time it takes to collect data and reduce the amount of data entry errors. In addition, the latest data is immediately available to all workers and departments in the company which greatly increases the visibility within production. 
  • Quality control - Real-time data collection allows you to identify problems in production before they occur on the shop floor. Manual data collection can introduce errors that result in the rejection of manufactured products. Automated real-time collection systems allow you to improve the quality of your products and reduce the number of scrap items you end up with. 
  • Automated Production Reporting - Through automated production reporting, you can also easily eliminate error-prone manual data entry processes. Human error is one of the largest downsides of manual data entry. This means that you can ensure that you have accurate inventory level data, production status reports, while eliminating the significant amount of hours required to manually open work orders, issue materials, and report production status and scraps. 
  • Monitor Production Time - Tracking production performance by measuring production time is important to ensure that you are using your resources to their full capacity. A decrease in production time efficiency could mean that a machine needs maintenance work or that a worker requires additional training. These measurements can also be beneficial to track the result of improving processes. 
  • Data-Driven Decisions - With paper data collection, it is difficult to locate the exact point in the production process that is causing inefficiencies. When production falls short and does not meet the intended targets, manufacturers typically add new machines or workers. However, this is not always beneficial to the manufacturing facility and can lead to bigger problems down the road.

Utilizing a software that has integrated planning, scheduling, and reporting functionalities will boost your production efficiency with ease within your manufacturing operations. An Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) software like PlanetTogether APS will increase the visibility you have within your production processes. 

Running a factory with a high degree of automation requires a real-time responsive planning system to adapt to disruptions of material and resources in seconds. PlanetTogether gives you the flexibility to create infinite workflows that respond automatically to whatever events occur in your supply chain or factory floor, to keep your plants running at peak efficiency.

Instead of tracking down information, it is being 'radiated' back to our team. Our guys can see if things are received on the line. We can click a button to see how many cases we have run and then monitor the progress. PlanetTogether APS aligns us more.


PlanetTogether is able to generate concurrent production plans and schedules based on the latest and most accurate information. Your planners, schedulers, and workers work with the same set of data and are immediately aware of any changes that are made to the schedule. As this process is highly automated, your staff saves time doing menial tasks and can spend time making strategic decisions that will advance the company.

Features like performance tracking and bottleneck identification will allow you to identify areas that are reducing the throughput of the entire production operation. You will know exactly where to focus your attention to meet your promised dates and satisfy your customers.

PlanetTogether’s APS software is becoming a necessity for manufacturers that are seeking to reduce waste, costs, and increase profits within their production facility. 


Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) Software

Advanced Planning and Scheduling Softwares have become a must for modern-day manufacturing operations as customer demand for increased product assortment, fast delivery, and downward cost pressures become prevalent. These systems help planners save time while providing greater agility in updating ever-changing priorities, production schedules, and inventory plans. APS Systems can be quickly integrated with an ERP/MRP software to fill the gaps where these systems lack planning and scheduling flexibility, accuracy, and efficiency.

With PlanetTogether APS you can:

  • Create optimized schedules that balance production efficiency and delivery performance
  • Maximize throughput on bottleneck resources to increase revenue
  • Synchronize supply with demand to reduce inventories
  • Provide company-wide visibility to resource capacity
  • Enable scenario data-driven decision making

The implementation of an Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) Software will take your manufacturing operations to the next level of production efficiency by taking advantage of the operational data you already possess in your ERP system. APS is a step in the right direction of efficiency and lean manufacturing production enhancement. Try out a free trial or demo!

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Topics: shop floor control, Shop floor data collection


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