4/13/15 11:15 AM
Experienced factory managers know that one of the biggest costs in any production facility is labor. Leaving out this cost when computing your CPM makes no sense, but it can also be one of your hardest costs to estimate. For years, manufacturers have relied on time-consuming labor studies to determine their labor costs, but now it's possible to get good information from advanced scheduling software.
While almost everyone knows how to compute production time and divide it by the number of laborers on the product line, it can be much more difficult to compute costs that include maintenance, management, shipping and packing personnel, and change-over crews. Experienced managers know that there are also a number of factors that can affect productivity. Everything from maintenance issues, employee experience, and even holidays can affect the actual production numbers.
Previously, factory managers relied on past experience and rough estimates to compute their labor costs. While this can suffice for product costing, in order to create schedules that keep your people productive and labor costs at a competitive level it's necessary to be as accurate as possible. Advanced scheduling software can help.
These programs are no longer the simple shift trackers that were popular several years ago. They're able to monitor the real-time production of each line in a facility, then tie those numbers to both the items being produced and individual employees. In addition, they can keep track of the maintenance and other support personnel that are assigned to each production ticket. That means you'll be able to compute your exact costs for everything your facility makes. If a particular line, product, and/or employee requires more time or labor, you'll know right away.
By monitoring everything about your employees' production capabilities, you'll be able to make better decisions about your personnel. This software can let you know if a particular employee is faster or better when he or she works on particular production lines, makes certain products, or even works on specific shifts. That means you can tailor your factory and workforce for maximum efficiency. Imagine being able to schedule employees so that they only worked when they were at their peak efficiency. You'll know what lines to assign them to based on hard data that shows where they will produce the most.
As an added bonus, you'll also be able to accurately quantify the work done by employees who are not directly involved in production. Maintenance employees can be tracked so that you know exactly how long it takes them to complete each task. Shipping, cleaning, and other personnel can be tracked the same way. You'll be able to use that data to determine who your most efficient people are, and who needs to be moved or retrained. Plus, when you know the details about the performance of your people then you can use this information to create production plans that your company and your customers can rely on.