Businesses are moving faster than ever before, and companies must take advantage of every possible innovation that can increase the efficiency of business processes, particularly in supply chains. One innovation that companies often overlook is using digital signage for rapid, accurate communication that helps improve supply chain velocity. To understand how digital signage can remove sticking points in your supply chain, check out these tips.
Focus on Priorities
If there’s one thing we all know about supply chains, it’s that priorities change continuously. Unexpected customer orders come in, suppliers miss deliveries, machines break down, or an unforeseen quality issue surfaces. Whatever the cause, the result is a change in priorities.
You could send someone to update all the schedule boards manually, or you could phone or text the area supervisors. However, life gets in the way. People get distracted on the way to the board, or the supervisor misses the text. This results in the team working on the wrong thing — and you have disappointed customers on your hands along with higher costs and perhaps even a pile of rework.
With digital signage, it’s easy to update every board in the facility at the same time. People are instantly aware of the top priority with a single glance. There’s no danger of getting it wrong when everybody looks to the digital signs to know what to work on next.
Measuring performance is an important aspect of improving efficiency and productivity, but it doesn’t help to measure performance if you can’t communicate results. You can send daily emails with performance metrics or you can manually update charts throughout the plant. Unfortunately, not everyone who is measured has company email, so individual employees in the warehouse or on the shop floor may not get the message. Updating charts manually is time consuming and error prone, and posting daily charts created in Excel doesn’t provide significant impact and even loses impact because the data is outdated as soon as it is posted.
Contrast that with the impact of using digital signage to display real-time results. Flashing eye-catching messages like “Congratulations” when the team meets a goal or achieves a new record is one way to make sure people know you care about the results. A simple visual like displaying a “frownie” emoticon can spur people on to greater efforts. With little manual effort, the entire facility knows how you’re doing against goals in real time, and the knowledge can help ensure that the team continually strives for improvement.
View demos of RMG's Visual Supply Chain Video Boards below:
Printing hourly (or even daily) dispatch lists for orders to be completed or shipped is an inefficient process by nature, and the inefficiency compounds with each change in the team’s priorities. Not only does the company waste paper printing useless lists, it’s hard to keep lists in sync to make sure everybody is working on the same priorities. Lists must be distributed; they get misplaced. All these issues point to the inherent inefficiency and waste associated with paper processes. Even using lists on handheld devices doesn’t ensure that everybody is on the same page as the timing of refresh cycles can lead to mismatches.
Using a large digital sign placed in a highly visible location ensures that everyone sees the high-priority, up-to-date information at the same time. The team knows instantly what to work on next. The result is a cleaner, greener, more efficient process. You save time, paper and money as you improve your efficiency and customer service.
When your entire team is working on the same priorities and trying to achieve the same goals, every aspect of your business simply works better. People pull together to improve performance on metrics, and there are fewer arguments or discussions over what to do — so you waste less time. The whole team sees the big picture, and that can only help improve performance. Motivation is key to employee engagement, and visibility of company performance as a whole helps keep people engaged. The corresponding improvement in efficiency helps reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction.
With benefits such as these, it’s no wonder that the global digital signage market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.18 percent through 2020, according to research from marketsandmarkets.
Kerwin Everson is Vice President, Supply Chain Solutions for RMG Networks, an industry leader in intelligent visual communications, counting 70 percent of the Fortune 100 as valued customers. His goal is to educate supply chain operations on the value of visualizing real-time performance management to improve productivity and efficiency.