Research & Best Practices

What to Include in Your Manufacturing Production Reports


One of the main benefits of today’s industrial maintenance technology is the ability to collect data about nearly every operation and process throughout the facility — and to then quickly analyze and furnish that information for effective, impactful decision-making.

Manufacturing production reports are one of the key facilitators of this decision-making. A far cry from the ad hoc production reports of past eras, which likely already contained outdated information by the time they were distributed, today’s manufacturing production reports provide real-time data with automated analysis and distribution, creating major value for manufacturers looking to optimize quality and efficiency.

What is production reporting?

Production reporting provides real-time insights into the processes and metrics that matter most to the organization — those that have been identified as key performance indicators (KPIs). The typical manufacturing production report today comes in the form of an automated digital dashboard that provides a wealth of information at a glance.

Managers, technicians, operators, engineers and other stakeholders — even those in non-production-related functions — can access these manufacturing reports to help drive more effective decision-making in nearly any function throughout the organization. From production decisions on the shop floor to budgeting decisions in the finance department — and at every step of the way in between — the real-time data included in manufacturing reporting is providing major benefits for more efficient, productive operations.

How to create a quality manufacturing production report

One of the strengths of manufacturing production report systems today is their ability to be customized to meet the specific requirements of an organization. There are still, however, several principles that contribute to the utility and value of a report. These principles include:

  • Focus on accurate, real-time data: Analog production reports of the past focused only on what had happened in a production process, and often what had happened a week ago, a month ago or longer. Today’s production reporting software draws in real-time data, analyzes it and provides a picture not only of what had happened in a process, but also what is currently happening — and even, with predictive analytics, what is expected to happen next. With this information at hand, managers, technicians and others have the tools they need to make decisions in the moment, with much higher degrees of confidence and accuracy.
  • Utilize templated formatting with agile customization as needed: Dashboards should be formatted to be easily scannable while also providing depth of information when needed. In essence, this can best be achieved by using consistent, templated formatting that can provide an overview of performance and other KPIs at a glance, with the ability to quickly and intuitively drill down to areas that may need more attention.
  • Make information available to stakeholders: As mentioned above, reports can be useful far beyond the facility floor. Access to performance data, production metrics and other KPIs should be readily available by any stakeholder throughout the organization, as this information drives decision-making in other areas as well.
  • Include highlights of production metrics and KPIs: By making highlights and big-picture information — positive or negative — easily visible to consumers of the report, stakeholders can confidently “gut check” current production and performance status and triage whether further action is required, saving valuable time and resources that might otherwise be spent manually sifting through data.

Production metrics & KPIs to include

Some of the most useful production metrics and KPIs that apply across organizations and manufacturer types include:

  • Production efficiency: A key metric for most organizations, production efficiency measures production over a given time period (such as per hour, per shift or per day), as well as production time per part. These metrics can be used to establish target benchmarks, which can then be easily compared against actual performance via reporting.
  • Production effectiveness: This metric provides insight into equipment performance over the long-term and is a useful indicator of the value that a capital investment returns. Production effectiveness usually comprises OEE (overall equipment effectiveness), OOE (overall operations effectiveness) and TEEP (total effective equipment performance).
  • Part production: The part production KPI provides data about the quality of output and the ability of usable production output (taking into account rework time and discarded pieces) to meet demand, sales targets and other requirements.
  • Downtime: Every minute of downtime represents lost production capacity for the organization and means that a capital investment is not providing a return (and is in fact adding to costs). Thus, manufacturers must keep a close eye on downtime metrics, particularly unplanned downtime, in order to initiate root cause investigations, diagnose and remedy issues, and ultimately improve overall production metrics.
  • Maintenance: Tracking maintenance events can help to adhere to planned maintenance schedules and can also indicate any areas that may require further action. Reporting can also play a key role in predictive maintenance, providing alerts and indications of potential impending maintenance issues.

Benefits of manufacturing production reports

Some of the key benefits that manufacturing production reports can provide include:

  • Accurate and visible information: In the days of manual, analog reporting, the idea of a manufacturing daily production report was unfathomable — it was simply not feasible to obtain data, analyze it and synthesize it into a useable format in the time in which it would be useful. Weekly or monthly reports were much more prevalent — which, as mentioned, served only as a retrospective on what had occurred. With today’s data collection and analysis capabilities, production reports can provide accurate, actionable, up-to-date information, readily accessible by any stakeholder or decision-maker in the organization.
  • Data-driven decision-making: With real-time data-driven manufacturing, decision-makers are able to take evidence-backed steps toward improving production efficiency and facility performance.
  • Real-time analytics and insights: Reporting and dashboards provide real-time insights into the current state of production performance and efficiency, enabling on-the-fly action to address potential issues well before they lead to unplanned shutdown and other detrimental scenarios – improving efficiency and improving overall metrics.
  • Improved production agility: With a well-crafted dashboard and reporting format, manufacturers can be increasingly agile in fine-tuning processes and taking proactive steps towards preventing potential maintenance issues.

The benefits of production reporting are only as good as the understanding of how to set up, format and use KPIs, metrics and dashboards, and this overview provides the basis for getting started. Start with the core principles described here and fine-tune your own implementation in order to see the greatest advantage.

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