The global pandemic has been the main reason for general distress and instability for some time now in the US as well as globally. Economies are still trying to handle the unexpected blows caused by the crises which led to wide-spread business closures, unemployment, and the need to adjust for entire industries.
Though many Americans have shifted to a remote lifestyle, some employees simply don’t have such a work-from-home option. That includes workers from the manufacturing industry, where companies can’t afford doing their business virtually.
Lockdowns, supply chain disruptions, changes in buyer behavior, restricted face-to-face interactions are all contributing greatly to the overall risk faced by the manufacturers. Adapting to an ever-changing economic environment and finding efficient ways to operate in the new normal are now the primary goals for production as well as for so many other industries.
Social distancing and worker safety put manufacturers under an additional level of pressure. While office employees simply shift their responsibilities and tasks to the comfort of their homes, factories cannot manage work orders remotely and lack the digital tools needed to ensure a risk-free environment for employees.
Manufacturing challenges during the pandemic
The overall state of the manufacturing industry can be characterized by the uncertainty, disruptions, and challenges many may not be able to overcome.
According to a March survey conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) about effects to the supply chain, operations, and economic expectations:
- 35.5% of respondents stated that they were facing supply chain disruptions
- More than 53% of manufacturing firms imagined their operations to change due to the global crises.
- More than 78% said that uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreak was likely to have a (negative) financial impact on their businesses.
Supply chain disruptions was a serious problem and caused such issues as parts arriving late, late deliveries, and additional spendings. Many manufacturers have already withdrawn some of their production and sourcing from China, or are planning to do so. They are looking to find suppliers closer to home, strengthen relationships and boost transparency across their chains.
As to the operations, business owners have had to manage work schedules with higher-than-average absences, and changes in the workplace with proper sanitation and restricted face-to-face interactions.
In order to prevent the further spread of the virus, the management of the organizations had to develop preparedness plans to help protect the employees while safely continuing business operations.
Team communication in the age of social distancing
Minimizing the risk of potential infections involves altering team structures and working methods to limit face-to-face encounters. One way to achieve this is by ramping up internal communications and moving them online.
The traditional way of managing performance at plants means direct engagement with workers via face-to-face meetings or walk-throughs of the shop floor. Physical-distancing policies significantly complicate these customary procedures, but make a way for new solutions to improve the management of workers’ performance.
Now is as good a time as ever to reconsider the methods and metrics used by manufacturing companies to track progress.
Overall, the way companies respond to the global pandemic should speed up the digital transformation that has already taken place on many manufacturing sites. In 2019, about 68% of the organizations had ongoing smart factory initiatives.
For organizations under new conditions, up-to-date data acquisition and its accurate analysis allow getting valuable, more comprehensive insights into factory operations.
Using technology to a) communicate, b) clearly define tasks, c) assign the responsible workers, and d) track specific KPIs plants can boost productivity rates and minimize human contact on-site.
Introducing a digital solution for managing the work orders in manufacturing
Adopting and employing custom, in-house software empowers the alignment of both manual and automated activities with quickly-changing market requirements and ever-growing customer needs.
According to The Manufacturer findings:
- 67% of manufacturing decision makers acknowledge their adoption of digital technologies has accelerated due to the pandemic
- 92% say that for now the number one goal for their businesses is improving operational efficiency
- 88% consider that as a result of COVID-19 their organisation have placed greater emphasis on operational resilience
- Cybersecurity, data analytics and cloud computing are the technology areas the greatest proportion have already implemented or are working towards implementing
There is a lot at stake, particularly operational efficiency, top performance quality, and reduced product development costs.
One of the ways to help organizations make their processes autonomous and easily operated is integrating work order management software into the routine.
Work order management software features
Building work order management software from scratch enables complete customization of the technology to suit specific companies’ needs. Some of the basic features for making the operations more efficient include:
- Creation of the work orders and their modifications by authorized staff. Keeping all the tasks in one system with necessary requirements and people responsible fosters better workforce and work order organization, which leads to more efficient planning and execution. One more way to optimize the plant operations is to design a calendar for smooth task scheduling.
- Getting up-to-date information regarding the status of the tasks. Receiving status updates and tracking tasks as they move from initial entry to task completion allows company leaders to monitor how fast and accurately the work orders are processed.
- Accurate reporting system. Work order management software gathers data from each task in a system that makes it easier to track an organization’s performance metrics and record whether the company is in line with operational goals.
- Easy access to the system through mobile devices. Working at the manufacturing plant suggests spending the majority of the time out, on the plant floors or outside. To have access to work orders anywhere on or off-site, a mobile app is the best solution that accounts for flexibility, convenience, and smooth tasks transition with just a click.
Benefits companies get from transforming their manufacturing processes digitally
Implementing a work order management software into your manufacturing routine will result in scaling up your business. Here are the benefits you can get:
- Better efficiency rates. Automating manufacturing operations on a plant saves lots of time. It allows companies to get rid of keeping manual records and manage the work orders from one centralized system for increased productivity. Work order management software minimizes the risks of errors, disorganization, and inefficiency.
- Improved data acquisition and detailed reports. Getting insights into how work orders are processed provides a better chance for companies to create and accomplish growth goals. While comparing real-time information to KPIs, organizations stand a better chance to understand where their company is and how to achieve their strategic plans.
- Gaining controlled access with a complex user role system. Only authorized users will be able to create and assign tasks, design schedules, while for other workers only viewing, changing work order status, and reporting is allowed. A complex user role system fosters accountability and keeps valuable information intact.
- Real-time insights into operational processes with a tracking system. By building or integrating work order tracking, allows companies to improve the management of orders’ completion. Inventory tracking helps organizations stay on top of their supply and discover shortages faster.
A chance for production transformation
Our current crisis has left the manufacturing industry with long-lasting changes, making companies reconsider their established processes in order to increase efficiency even while maintaining the safety measures.
Reimagining and upgrading the way things are done positions organizations in a place for growth, even when the times are challenging.
By accelerating the adoption of new technologies and digital solutions, companies have all the chances to recover from the crisis with safer, more efficient, and more flexible manufacturing processes.
If you need any technical support, our expert development team can easily assist you. Just let us know!
Get a rough estimate of your work order management app
Originally published on Medium
Want to know more? Check out:
- Case study of a work order management software
- How Custom ERP Development for Manufacturing Can Drive - or Kill - Digital Disruption
- Manufacturing Workforce Management App: How to Reinforce Your Business with Digital Technologies
- Mobile Apps for Manufacturing: Types and Features That Reshape Industry