Process improvement methodology was originally created to quantify and then reduce key factors in manufacturing projects. Process improvement efforts might focus on cycle time, machine uptime, defect rate or waste. When faced with software implementation or upgrade or improvement projects, many of these same values apply. We want to reduce how long it takes to complete a transaction or process, be it data entry or backing up the server. We want to improve server uptime and reduce the kinds of errors humans can make. We want to eliminate wasteful processes and wasted time.
Where software project times are different from manufacturing projects is in that their cost is overwhelmingly human time. One may have to buy a server or network components, but it is the human labor cost that is the largest part of any software project budget. Licensing for software may be a secondary cost, but license management becomes a drain on human talent as well. When a manufacturing process is manual, the benefit for the user is familiarity. However, it is wasteful.
Thus the manufacturing management software comes in. The data collection becomes valuable to management, payroll and quality. Tracking labor per unit, defects per part or assembly, giving users instructions on the computer instead of tracking paper copies and otherwise giving instant access to data initially creates productivity improvements. However, how work is done changes with the addition of manufacturing control software, requiring changes to the labor standards and how process improvement projects can be done, view source.
When creating labor standards for environments that include manufacturing software, this is how you can get the greatest return on the time spent on process improvement projects: 1. Focusing on software installation and upgrade time, since software outages can shut down production 2. Mistake proofing data entry by users. Data correction is time consuming and labor intensive. Prevent the data entry errors by restricting data formats for the fields, and you’ll improve user data input cycle time. And it will reduce the time spent troubleshooting illegal characters. 3.
Inventory modeling is based on the system you have for managing inventory. I haven’t worked with this much outside manpower estimations and human cycle time. Just remember that the way people say they handle inventory and their actual process can be very different. Base your model on how stock is actually handled and inefficiencies observed – not how people say it is done. And inefficiencies found in actual observation can be fixed rather quickly, bringing more rapid improvement than rearranging an entire facility based on a theoretical model. 4.
Product costing is usually based on labor and machine time with facility costs and waste averaged in. Software only helps in this area if it reduces one of those three factors. Options include: A. Reducing wasted time and material through automated inspection (reduced cycle time) B. defect logging that is easily reviewed by engineering staff (to find causes of waste early and thus reduce it) C. material management systems that prevent ordering when there is already enough stock on hand can help in this area (less material waste).