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Q&A With a Visual Systems Specialist: Keeping Production on Track

Fri Feb 3 2017
By: Mike P

Proper management of both employees and resources is a key component of running a successful manufacturing facility—and when you're managing a factory of any size, it's easy to let the little things slip under the radar. It's not due to negligence or a lack of motivation, but a lack of proper tools. We caught up with one of Magnatag's Visible Systems Specialists, Sue, to shed some light on how our systems can work for you.

Do customers ever come to you with a problem, hoping you will be able to direct them towards a solution?
Yes, absolutely! For instance, the minute someone says “I’m looking to target production”, I instantly direct that customer towards our Production Rate Tracker. Of course I’ll ask questions along the way in regards to what they’re looking to track and who they think will be using it the most, but I think we—as an entire sales force—have a good idea of where our products can make the biggest impact.

What makes the Production Rate Tracker different than traditional tracking tools?
I think it really comes down to the flexibility of the product. It’s kind of versatile in the sense that you can modify any of the headings prior to purchasing the whiteboard. Sometimes you’ll talk to a company that may not be tracking production by hour, or maybe they’re looking to specify the exact timeline they want to be working with. I think companies want their tools to reflect exactly what they are trying to accomplish and that degree of customization is something that’s hard to come by.

 Who is it that’s purchasing the Production Rate whiteboards?
Production or Quality Managers mostly—really anyone that wants to track parts or motivate their team. The board is something that they can kind of put right out in the open, set a target, and motivate. It’s extremely versatile in regards to who may be using it.

When customers come looking for a Production Rate Tracker, do you find there’s a particular issue they are trying to resolve?
I just think they’re trying to do better than the position they are currently at; they’re hoping to bump their targets up, while keeping an eye on things. Then again, there are also some customers that are at a complete loss when it comes to being aware of how things are flowing in their factory, and this is also a popular board for those users as well. I think this tracker offers a nice overview of how a specific operation is progressing, and in my opinion, you can never have too much insight when it comes to performance. 

Are customers buying more than one tracker at once or is a single tracker sufficient?
I’ve seen both. Obviously if you’re a smaller company, buying 20 boards isn’t the solution you need. Yet larger companies have to track multiple areas along their value stream, which makes the multiple dry erase boards a necessity—maybe they’re working on multiple parts throughout their facility; you never know. A lot of times when people are looking to purchase more than one board at a time, they’ll order the whiteboard on a portable stand to indicate a specific station or process.

Why do you think the Production Rate Tracker has become so popular in factories given the technology boom the manufacturing industry has experienced over the last decade?
I think it’s the visual aspect of the board. It’s right there, directly in plain sight. Anyone that’s on the production floor can look up an instantly know the status of a given operation. Managers like it because the visual nature of the dry erase board gives them the opportunity to target specific elements of the manufacturing process. Rather than having to dig into your phone or computer to gather the latest status of a project, a magnetic whiteboard is always readily available for reference. In the unfortunate scenario where a team member or process is not meeting expectations, everyone is going to know about it. It’s a nice way to keep an open line of communication throughout the entirety of a factory.

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