One of my clients had a challenge. He knew his factory wasn’t efficient. The output would fluctuate but he did not know why. He would see material lying on the floor. Or an idling machine or two.
So we sat down to study the issue. His is a complex operation with 200+ different products being manufactured. For some, he needed to track the efficiency of individual workers/teams. For others, he wanted to track machine output per hour to ensure optimisation.
One option was to build this in their SAP application. But given the complexities involved and the possibility of holding up the production run due to errors/discrepancies, that idea was dropped.
Since this data was going to be entered by people with fairly basic tech and english skills, a mobile app was an option. One quote, to build something really basic, came to about $1000.
I suggested Tulip.co, but unfortunately, the cost was unacceptable since their pricing is based on number of stations. They also did not need any of the other features that Tulip provided (like their training module).
This is when we started looking at Glide as a way to build something quick and useful. Spoiler alert: It worked like a charm! Ready in 4 days … and since we used the free version, it ended up being the most cost-effective, easily maintainable and scalable option!
Configuring Glide for this use case
GlideApps is a powerful NoCode tool that helps you create web apps using Google Excel as your database. This ensures that
- Addition, modification and deletion of records is no longer a core necessity of the platform since most people know how to manipulate an excel.
- You leverage the power of google sheets. In itself, Sheets is a powerful tool for process management and reporting. Combine that with Google Scripts or integration tools like Zapier, Parabola, etc, and you have a very powerful system for process automation.
- Since GlideApps gives you a pretty decent front-end, you spend less time worrying about pixel perfectness and more about the process
As you can see above, we used a simple sheet to list all the resources we wanted to track the efficiency for. Using Glide, we could
- restrict access to certain resources based on the logged in user
- restrict access to certain global reports based on user
- display productivity of each member/team/machine using Google Graphs
- Restrict employees to certain products to reduce potential for errors
- Fill up different forms depending on the department. For example, for a machine, we might need to track the running time, while for a team, we might want to track how many pieces they packed in a day
- Use it to iterate, use, modify and achieve the goal without spending too much time on capturing requirements from a busy set of people.
Unfortunately, due to client contracts, I cannot go in to great detail on how we implemented the above. Suffice to say, if you are looking to track efficiency/productivity of your factory, do give GlideApps a look. Or get in touch, and we can help.