A production control software system is specifically designed to offer a measure of control in the production environment. However, there are many different sizes of system available, so can one size fit all?
Any production control software system should streamline the entire production process from quotation to invoice and reduce your business administration, helping you stay in control of your business and manufacture quality parts that are right first time, delivered on time and sold at the right price.
Our PSL Datatrack software is focussed on helping small and medium manufacturing businesses get as much done with as little staff overhead as necessary. One PSL Datatrack customer stated that if his company didn’t have PSL Datatrack he would have needed to employ three additional members of staff and on that basis he estimated the saving to be £100,000 per annum. We do this by offering a system in which all the initial quotation information is reused, wherever possible, to provide accurate reliable information throughout the system.
It is our fundamental belief that one size of production control software does not fit all. With this in mind, we provide a modular approach so users can pick, choose and ultimately tailor a system to work the way they need it to for their business. You should not pay for modules that you have no intention of using, no matter what the cost; however tailoring a system with a range of additional features that can be selected with your business requirements in mind can be extremely cost effective.
Modules and features aside total traceability is another huge consideration for most engineering businesses and should not be deviated from in order to maintain safety and manage risk. The supply chain must be monitored at all levels and information be available about every last component. Any system used must enable your company to keep detailed accurate records about every supplier used, their accreditations and their track record for producing parts without non-conformances. Any good system will also help manage the supply requirements to make sure they are available just-in-time and avoid the costly business of stock holding.
PSL Datatrack is a system with a proven track record for customers needing to meet AS9100, ISO 9001 and many more accreditations. By achieving these, no manufacturing business is too small to supply the aerospace, defence and/or countless other industries. We work closely with all of our customers to provide bespoke traceability solutions, be this for process management, documents or reports often not available in more ‘standard’ systems.
By and large, manufacturing businesses have adopted or are in the process of adopting scheduling and management software suitable for their businesses. In the day and age of instant information it is no good to sit down with a pencil, paper and calculator to do a quote that then needs to typed up, albeit onto an email maybe; the job may well have been won by someone else in the time that takes.
Any good production control software system will incorporate a scheduler, enabling you to plan the workload for shop floor staff based on a number of factors, ensuring everyone knows what jobs are in production at any given point in time, as well as what is planned next. The scheduler should show every operation to provide a realistic representation of the production work flow but it should also manage unforeseen events such as a machine breakdown or staff sickness. Finally, it should provide up-to-date information about the status of a job and do this easily provided it is given up-to-date production information through Shop Floor Data Collection (SFDC).
PSL Datatrack provides options for businesses of differing sizes by offering full scheduler or Work In Progress (WIP) modules for capacity planning based on available resources. This enables your business to choose the module that fits it best, rather than just getting what you are given.
Once modules, traceability and scheduling requirements have been agreed and a system has been selected there may be some natural anxiety from staff not familiar with using production control systems or transferring to a new system. Change is embraced by some and resisted by others so it is important for any system provider to offer flexible training options. Initial training must be underpinned with good support that can be accessed in a timely manner with accurate responses being received as soon as possible and any transfer from one system to another should be managed with minimum fuss but maximum support. One last option that should also be present is ongoing consultancy, as change can be constant and rapid. No business can afford to stand still or ignore challenges that they may need to deal with.
We offer support, training and consultancy services to help our customers implement, use and adapt their systems as efficiently as possible and in a manner that suits their businesses. All system users are offered an annual renewable support contract and users with a valid one are able to access PSL Datatrack’s support services at any time during working hours. Our support team pride themselves on being UK-based and aim to provide a high level of customer service not available from many support services in other industries.
The cost of a system is always a major consideration but can be hard to quantify. The cost to the business is not limited to just paying for the software or training but is also down to the time taken to become familiar with the software and the speed with which users are able to navigate around the system. It is vital to ensure that whatever software is chosen, it is suited to your business and not just your budget. This reflects PSL Datatrack’s preference for a modular approach.
In the future, there will be more demand for production control systems to integrate with Industry 4.0/the Smart Factory, automation and real time information display boards. Following requests from its customers, PSL Datatrack has long been interfacing with tool vending and material carousel systems and will continue to work alongside other specialised solutions to provide the best business tools.
To summarise, no two businesses are ever the same, so how can they use the same production control software system? A larger business will need tighter control than a smaller business, which may be owner-managed and/or employ staff who have multiple responsibilities. The system used must always reflect and be able adaptable to these varying requirements.
We always have and always will work hand in hand with our forward looking customer base to develop ways of displaying real time information. With customers that have been using the software for over 20 years, our system provides a great basis for making a subcontractor’s business ever more efficient. Ideas for future development are limited only by imagination!