Historically, optimization efforts in manufacturing companies were focused on production processes. In general, all industries have their production processes optimized, measured, and controlled. But not every administrative process in manufacturing is optimized.
The support processes, or administrative processes, have been left aside and usually run in a suboptimal way. This implies more personnel to execute them (with the consequent increase of indirect costs). It also means that the customer, distributors, and suppliers’ service is slow. Improving these processes, by automating them with a BPM Suite, implies generating a legitimate competitive advantage for manufacturing companies.
We have seen in many of our clients that increasing the competitiveness of manufacturing companies is possible by automating their administrative processes.
In Flokzu, we have a large number of clients in the manufacturing sector. In most cases, the processes that have been automated have been the administrative ones. The results are very encouraging, and improvements in the efficiency of most processes have been generated. Fewer people are required to execute them. We will see below some concrete examples.
The design of new products
The design of new products is a complex administrative process in a manufacturing company, involving many steps and people from different areas, such as:
- Innovation area and basically any employee, who proposes a new product.
- Engineering area that analyses its viability, prototypes, and estimates costs.
- The financial area that makes the corresponding analysis.
- The commercial area that estimates the potential market, suggested price, etc.
- Management, which reviews and approves the new product.
- The marketing area defines the materials to boost sales.
This process is classified as administrative since it is not a production process, although it clearly involves almost all areas of the company and a large number of steps. We have seen real BPMN diagrams of this process with more than 100 user tasks. Of course, many of them are executed in parallel (using inclusive gateways), while others are sequential.
The huge benefit of automating this process is to be able to speed up the design and launch of new products as much as possible. In this way, the company can better serve market needs and respond effectively to the competition. Both elements are vital for survival and growth.
The modification of existing products.
Related to the above process is the modification of existing products. This is another typical administrative process, which also requires a large number of steps, depending on the degree of modification of the product.
As with the processing of new products, it is possible to execute this process manually. In fact, many industries still do this, relying on emails and spreadsheets (such as MS Excel) to track the tasks involved. Anyone who has participated in a process under these conditions will agree that it is tedious, error-prone, and above all, very slow.
Being able to modify existing products, to meet market needs and changes in competitors is essential to remain competitive.
Occupational Health – HSE or HSHE
Another area where processes can be much more efficient is HSE or HSHE – Health, Safety, Security, Hygiene, and Environment. An administrative process in manufacturing can be as relevant as saving a life.
As concrete examples, we have seen remarkable Flokzu implementations in processes such as:
- Workstation checklist. An electronic form that each operator completes upon arrival at their workplace. It functions as a checklist to ensure that he has everything he needs and that adequate protective measures. In some organizations, this process is called “30 seconds” because it is intended to take no more than that time for the operator if everything is correct. Naturally, if everything is not right at his workstation, this process will escalate to supervisors and managers to take corrective and preventive measures.
- The delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE) is registered and signed by the operator, giving his acceptance. This documentation is stored historically, allowing full-text searches. Each record can include all protective elements (e.g., helmet, boots, gloves, goggles, etc.), including photos.
- Training and education in the safety and protection standards process allow you to document each training and the list of operators who attend and, if any, their evaluations. The historical record is critical to have it in digital format to be able to retrieve it when necessary, quickly, and efficiently. It can also include supporting documentation, such as photographic records or documents signed by the attendees.
- Immediate corrective actions and preventive actions. Process for registering and following up on corrective and preventive actions to ensure compliance with the organization’s Occupational Safety and HSE standards. Usually, these processes also include verifying the effectiveness of the measures. However, this verification is done much later, so Flokzu’s timer and alert features are essential to ensure that the verifications are not forgotten.
- Incident and accident analysis. When an incident or accident occurs, it must be documented, and a process to analyze the causes launched to prevent it from happening again. It is crucial that this process is automated and all its audit trails stored.
Other administrative processes in manufacturing
Finding a concrete example of a successful automated administrative process in manufacturing is not difficult. We have several examples in different countries and types of companies, like:
- For industries that produce custom-made products, the process of controlling work orders, with their plans and instructions, until delivery to the customer.
- Improvement plans for facilities, budget analysis, approval, and control of execution.
- Complaints, claims, and suggestions from customers. In food industries, for example, it serves as a complement to product quality assurance systems.
- Contracts with customers and suppliers. Easy access to conditions, versions, and monitoring of renewals.
- Applications for Staff Licenses, both permanent and temporary, for annual scheduled leave, or extraordinary leave (illness, study, etc.).
- Management support. Proposal of topics for the Board of Directors, distribution of the agenda to the directors, and resolutions.
Schedule here a 30 minutes session and see one real process of your manufacturing company completely automated and running.