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March 2017

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Top Five Reasons Spreadsheets Are Dead Weight

"Spreadsheets are still fairly prevalent on shop floors, and it is understandable," said a Shop Floor Automations (SFA) spokesperson. "They have been a long-standing part of manufacturing operations and offices in the manufacturing industry. However, sticking to this enduring method could be costing productivity."

SFA offers five reasons why a shop floor should make the change from spreadsheets to a real-time graphical job scheduler.

  • Reason One: No ROI for time spent on spreadsheets. Personnel is spending time manually noting information on a spreadsheet plus doing related administrative work, such as filing and searching for work order data info. If a company has more than a couple of machines and more than a handful of employees, this is time wasted. The company could instead have software with real-time insight from its production schedule that shows capacity usage and keeps jobs running on time.
  • Reason Two: Data entry errors require revisiting. This means more time, resources and money spent on fixing human errors. Instead, there is software that can help with data entry - for example, no duplication errors from entering work times. Users will also have day-to-day planning data based on real-time capacity versus guesswork based on previous spreadsheets.
  • Reason Three: Control-F is not the answer. When looking for specific info in a spreadsheet, it is likely that personnel will have to rely on memory of data from a certain tab, search tab to tab or use the Control-F command to search by keyword (Control-F cannot be used, however, if spreadsheets are printed and filed away). Instead of sifting through information, software programs are available that can access work orders and look at job statuses immediately.
  • Reason Four: Dreading growth because it means more paperwork. A spreadsheet is not able to adjust itself when new jobs come in or when a job is canceled. A spreadsheet is not able to tell when machine issues are causing a bottleneck. Job tracking, planning and scheduling, all combined into one simple interface, will help production run more efficiently.
  • Reason Five: Machinists are not office clerks. There is a sizable skills gap in manufacturing that will be filled slowly over the next few years, and asking a qualified machinist to spend time helping with redundant paperwork that automated software could be doing is not in a company's best interest. User-friendly software only requires a few button pushes for operators to provide immediate feedback on current job statuses.

"The bottom line is that job scheduling software is crucial for knowing if deliveries will be on time," said the spokesperson. "The software takes into account current jobs along with machine capacity, and allows personnel to see where the jobs are and when they are going to be completed. Unexpected downtime on machines will be accounted for and re-scheduling based on new machine capacity can occur.

"With a reliable, real-time scheduling system in place, companies will be better equipped to update valued customers on delivery dates and identify late jobs before they happen so there is time to prepare or fix the issue. Displays of pre-order and estimated costs, as well as actual costs incurred during manufacturing, are shown as they occur, which is of added value."

JobPack real-time scheduler software, available from SFA, is designed to provide seamless production operations to help shops operate at full capacity.

Co-Authored by Amanda Rosenblatt and Amy Gates, Shop Floor Automations

For more information contact:

Greg Mercurio, President

Shop Floor Automations, Inc.

5360 Jackson Drive, Suite #202

La Mesa, CA 91942

877-611-5825 / 619-461-4000

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