To meet global customer and consumer demands, fashion and softgoods manufacturers must effectively deliver a wider range of products, at more competitive prices, in shorter timelines than ever before. This daunting task is amplified by the realities of smaller order quantities and leaner inventories at the production facilities and throughout the supply chain. To keep pace and increase their ability to adopt to rapid changes, factory owners and managers must find new ways to improve production management techniques and achieve more effective production line balancing.
While apparel and sewn-products companies have long struggled with line balancing issues, today’s unique blend of speed, time, and cost factors creates something of a ‘perfect storm’ on the production floor; one that cannot be overcome by simply adding more people or working harder. To find answers to this line balancing dilemma, new and established producers alike are turning to shop floor control technology.
Shop floor control systems, like those provided by the real-time Leadtec™ solution, provide managers and supervisors with the real-time process visibility and in-depth production and workforce information they need to make better-informed, more-timely line balancing decisions that keep production of the right items flowing through to on-time deliveries.
By collecting information on every production activity precisely as it occurs, Leadtec presents managers with always up-to-date process information that highlights any late production orders. It also enables them to instantly see the status of any individual bundle or order component that may be lagging behind. This real-time visibility enables users to spot production bottlenecks before they escalate; and better service customers with more accurate and current delivery information.
By automatically accumulating the history of all worker skills and performance, Leadtec helps managers plan and better utilize all available workforce skills to balance production and meet scheduled deliveries. When line balancing problems are identified, the advanced software helps managers make the adjustments necessary to deal with absent or under-achieving workers.
Moreover, Leadtec combines this real-time visibility and skills history to help managers prevent potential bottlenecks before they actually occur. Special line balancing tools built into the system leverage this information to predict how much work will be produced during the current shift. When it projects a production shortfall, Leadtec recommends specific operator assignments that will effectively and efficiently avoid any imbalance.
In a business environment that leaves little room for errors and delays, effective production line balancing can easily be the difference between on-time delivery and loss of an important customer, and between profit and loss. Savvy manufacturers are solving the dilemma with shop floor control.