Shop Floor Data Collection: The Software and the Path to Automation.

Strategic Selection of Data Collection Tools

Empowering Decision-Makers with Effective Solutions

Considerations for Choosing Software and Devices

In the intricate tapestry of heavy industries, or in the field inspection process where each thread of data weaves a narrative of efficiency and productivity, selecting the right tool could be a career saving if not a company or life saving task. From the bustling shop floors to the meticulous planning rooms, the choice of software and devices reverberates through every corner of operations.

Maximizing Manufacturing Efficiency through Automated Data Capture

It’s no mystery anymore that data, forms the true bedrock of manufacturing success. Just as logistical efficiency, rigorously organized and accessible information serves as the cornerstone upon which operational excellence is built. Without it, companies risk losing sight of their production processes, leading to inefficiencies, missed deadlines, injuries and hindered continuous improvement efforts. However, with robust data collection strategies in place, companies can not only manage production processes effectively but also implement process improvements, quote accurately, and exert control over costs.


The Pitfalls of Manual Data Collection

Despite the strides made in data collection strategies, many companies overlook a critical caveat: the detrimental impact of manual data collection. Even in organizations with aggressive and meticulously audited data collection methods, the reliance on manual processes poses significant challenges. Human errors such as omission, bias, and transposition permeate efforts to accurately record production factors, undermining the integrity of collected data and impeding informed decision-making.


The Shift Towards Automation – Agnico Eagle’s success story for inspiration

You are not the only one in the modern manufacturing landscape, who has noticed the trends to capture data using digital forms software from the shop floor. For example, Agncio Eagle had an ERP with generic forms, but they needed a solution to create custom digital forms in a centralized data center, to automate some predictive maintenance insights and work orders using nSpek, in a manner that has never been possible before. This change not only free’d up heavy machinery operators from the burdensome task of documenting part counts, cycle times, and downtime events, and manual PDF report generation, but allowed them to redirect their focus towards managing machines and optimizing production processes while saving over 16 minutes on average per inspection – amounting to $102 000 saved in the first year alone. Just as for that LaRonde mining complex, autonomous data collection ensures the accurate capture of production data, empowering both personnel and systems with real-time insights into the actual state of a manufacturing shop floor.


Capturing Data from the Shop Floor

  • Shop floor data collection entails the documentation of critical data to compile key performance indicators for production.
  • Data points such as production rate, machine speed, time, labor amount and utilization, quality fallout, among others, are systematically recorded to gauge progress on the shop floor.


The Flaws of Manual Collection

Thought there is beauty in tradition, manual data collection with paper-based processes on the shop floor is littered with flaws that hinder modern smooth operations. Unintended or intended human errors, ranging from omission to bias to transposition, inject inaccuracies into the information gathered, compromising its reliability, searchability and usability. Additionally, data housed within manual systems often remains siloed, leading to redundancy and increasing the likelihood of further human error.


The Benefits of Automation

What automation and digitization in shop floor data management offers, is a multitude of benefits that transcend traditional manual methods. By leveraging automated data capture solutions, companies can enhance accuracy, streamline processes, and unlock newfound efficiencies in their operations. Moreover, automation facilitates seamless integration of captured data into existing systems, empowering decision-makers with timely and actionable insights.


Data Collection Software

Digital Forms

Data is everything. In the realm of data collection, versatility is key. Online surveys and mobile forms stand as gatekeepers, guarding the gates of insight. Tools like SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, or Typeform offer a basic starting point.

More advanced, enterprise grade solutions for mobile data collection strides alongside, a nimble companion in the field of action. With apps like nSpek Digital Forms, iFormBuilder, ODK Collect, or Fulcrum, data becomes fluid, flowing seamlessly from the palm of your hand to the heart of analysis. Obviously we have a bias towards nSpek 😉

For web tracking, a silent observer in the vast expanse of cyberspace, casts its net wide: Tools such as Google Analytics, or Adobe Analytics sift through the digital currents, unveiling patterns hidden in the ebb and flow of user interactions.


IoT Devices

In the realm where the tangible meets the intangible, IoT devices emerge as emissaries of data. Sensors, vigilant sentries stationed amidst the machinery, record the pulse of operations. From temperature to humidity, from motion to pressure, they stand poised to relay every fluctuation to the watchful eye.

Wearables, adorning the wrists and bodies of workers, bridge the chasm between personal and professional. Smartwatches, fitness bands, health monitors—each heartbeat, each step, a pixel in the canvas of productivity.


Data Logging Devices

What are data loggers? As time etches its mark upon the annals of operations, data loggers stand witness. With unwavering diligence, they record the passage of time, capturing every nuance, every fluctuation. From temperature to voltage, from light levels to atmospheric pressure, they etch the chronicle of operations in unyielding detail.

CRM Systems

In the labyrinth of customer relations, CRM systems stand as beacons of clarity. Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoho CRM—each keystroke, each interaction, a testament to the bond forged between company and client.

ERP Systems

In the symphony of enterprise resource management, ERP systems conduct the myriad voices of operations. SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics—each transaction, each process, harmonized into the grand opus of efficiency.

Social Media Monitoring Tools

In the digital agora where voices converge, social media monitoring tools emerge as interpreters of sentiment. Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Brandwatch—each mention, each engagement, a ripple in the vast ocean of public perception.


To the Shop Floor Supervisor:

In the labyrinthine corridors of production, where the clang of machinery and the hum of activity form the backdrop of your daily tableau, the choice of data collection tools is not just a matter of convenience—it is a linchpin of efficiency. Imagine the ease of monitoring production quotas with mobile data collection apps, or the clarity gained from CRM systems in tracking customer feedback. With the right tools at your disposal, the chaos of the shop floor transforms into a symphony of precision.

To the Field Team Manager:

As you navigate the rugged terrain of field operations, where every decision is a fork in the road, the importance of data collection tools cannot be overstated. Picture the empowerment that comes from wearable devices, seamlessly integrating personal health metrics with on-the-ground performance data. With IoT sensors standing sentinel over your equipment, and web tracking tools illuminating the digital landscape, the path forward becomes clearer, the journey smoother.

To the Maintenance Director:

Amidst the labyrinth of machinery, where each cog and gear is a cog in the wheel of progress, the choice of data collection tools is your compass in the sea of maintenance. Envision the insights gleaned from data loggers, meticulously recording the heartbeat of your equipment. With ERP systems orchestrating the flow of resources, and social media monitoring tools offering a pulse on public perception, the task of maintenance transcends from reactive to proactive.

To the Health and Safety Inspector:

In the realm where safety is paramount, where every precaution is a bulwark against catastrophe, the selection of data collection tools is your shield and sword. Visualize the clarity offered by CRM systems, in tracking incidents and ensuring accountability. With web tracking tools shedding light on digital footprints, and social media monitoring tools uncovering potential hazards, the battlefield of safety becomes not just manageable, but conquerable.


Harnessing Shop Floor Data for Operational Excellence

Understanding Production Data Collection

Types of Shop Floor Data

In the labyrinth of operations, where every movement is a step towards efficiency, understanding the nuances of shop floor data is akin to deciphering a complex tapestry. Organizational data, the lifeblood of operations, flows through the veins of order information and personnel data. Technical data, on the other hand, delves into the intricate machinery of production, encompassing tool, material, machine, process, and product data.

Function of a PDC System

At the heart of shop floor data collection lies the PDC system—a vigilant guardian of operational insights. With a watchful eye, it records and evaluates order and article data, unraveling the intricacies of production with meticulous precision. In doing so, it serves as a beacon of clarity, identifying problems in manufacturing processes and providing invaluable feedback for production planning and control.

How a PDC System Works

In the whole data collection dance, the PDC system takes center stage, orchestrating the symphony of operations with finesse. Whether through manual input or direct data retrieval from machines, it captures every nuance, every fluctuation, with unwavering diligence. As the data accumulates and prepares for analysis, it lays the foundation for informed decision-making, guiding the course of operations towards excellence.

Classification of PDC, MDC, MES

As the lines blur between the tangible and the digital, the classification of shop floor data takes on new dimensions. Transferred to Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), the data finds new life, breathing vitality into the realm of production. Machine data collection (MDC), an integral part of shop floor data collection (PDC), becomes the conduit through which insights flow, enriching the fabric of operations with actionable intelligence.


Benefits of Collecting Shop Floor Data

In the pursuit of operational excellence, transparency is the cornerstone upon which success is built. With shop floor data as their guide, organizations gain unparalleled visibility into the inner workings of production, paving the way for optimization and competitiveness. From improved production control to enhanced cost accounting, the benefits of collecting shop floor data reverberate through every facet of operations.

To the Shop Floor Supervisor:

As you stand at the helm of operations, overseeing the ebb and flow of production, the significance of shop floor data cannot be overstated. Imagine the clarity gained from understanding order information and personnel data, or the insights gleaned from delving into tool, material, machine, process, and product data. With the PDC system as your ally, you hold the key to unlocking operational excellence, guiding your team towards greater efficiency and productivity.

To the Field Team Manager:

In the crucible of field operations, where every decision is a pivot point, the value of shop floor data is immeasurable. Picture the power of the PDC system in recording and evaluating order and article data, providing invaluable feedback for production planning and control. With a keen understanding of technical data, you navigate the complexities of production with confidence, steering your team towards success amidst the challenges of the field.

To the Maintenance Director:

Amidst the cacophony of machinery, where every cog and gear is a testament to progress, shop floor data emerges as your guiding light. Envision the benefits of transparency in manufacturing, as you delve into the intricacies of tool, material, and machine data. With the classification of shop floor data into MES systems, you harness the power of insights to optimize maintenance processes, ensuring the seamless operation of equipment and the preservation of productivity.

To the Health and Safety Inspector:

In the realm where safety reigns supreme, shop floor data serves as your vigilant guardian. With a keen eye on organizational data, you uncover insights into personnel safety and well-being. Technical data, meanwhile, offers a window into the health and performance of machinery, guiding your efforts in maintaining a safe and secure environment for all. As you harness the power of shop floor data, you pave the way for operational excellence and peace of mind.


Leveraging Data Insights for Strategic Decision-Making

Maximizing Efficiency Through Data Analysis

Utilizing Shop Floor Data

Information Generated with a PDC:

In the role of operations, where every task must be done with purpose, the information generated by a PDC system serves as the conductor, orchestrating the flow of productivity. From production control to order monitoring, from evaluation for continuous improvement to precise recording of production times and quantities, each datum carries the weight of strategic significance. Picture the seamless sequence planning facilitated by production control, or the insights gleaned from order controlling, guiding the course of operations towards excellence. With a keen eye on data collection, operations are not just recorded but refined, honed to perfection with each passing moment.


Integration with ERP Systems:

Our nSpek digital forms API easily integrates with ERP Systems, and in the tapestry of enterprise resource management, where every thread is a cog in the wheel of progress, the integration of shop floor data with ERP systems heralds a new era of operational synergy. Picture the seamless exchange of data, flowing effortlessly between the realms of production and administration. From flexible administration functions to maintenance tasks, the ERP system becomes not just a repository of information, but a catalyst for action. With shop floor data at its core, the ERP system becomes the nerve center of operations, guiding the course of decision-making with clarity and precision.



1. What types of shop floor data are essential for production?

Organizational data includes order and personnel information, while technical data encompasses tool, material, machine, process, and product data.


2. How does a PDC system contribute to manufacturing efficiency?

A PDC system helps identify problems in manufacturing processes, provides feedback for production planning, and enables data-driven decision-making to optimize processes and remain competitive.


3. What benefits does shop floor data collection offer to companies?

Shop floor data collection provides transparency in manufacturing, improves production control and cost accounting, reduces lead times and errors, and facilitates real-time monitoring and decision-making.


To the Shop Floor Supervisor:

As you stand amidst the hustle and bustle of operations, the integration of shop floor data with ERP systems offers a beacon of clarity in the fog of uncertainty. Imagine the seamless flow of data, from the shop floor to the administrative realm, guiding your decisions with precision and insight. With flexible administration functions at your fingertips, you wield the power to streamline operations and drive efficiency to new heights.

To the Field Team Manager:

In the rugged terrain of field operations, where every decision is a crossroads, the integration of shop floor data with ERP systems offers a lifeline amidst the chaos. Picture the seamless exchange of data, bridging the gap between the front lines and the command center. With maintenance tasks streamlined and administration functions optimized, you navigate the challenges of the field with confidence and clarity, ensuring the success of every mission.

To the Maintenance Director:

Amidst the labyrinth of machinery, where every cog and gear is a testament to progress, the integration of shop floor data with ERP systems offers a roadmap to operational excellence. Envision the seamless flow of data, from machine diagnostics to maintenance schedules, guiding your efforts with precision and foresight. With flexible administration functions at your disposal, you orchestrate the maintenance of equipment with finesse, ensuring the smooth operation of every cog in the wheel of progress.

To the Health and Safety Inspector:

In the realm where safety reigns supreme, the integration of shop floor data with ERP systems offers a shield against uncertainty. Picture the seamless exchange of data, from incident reports to safety protocols, guiding your efforts to protect the well-being of all. With flexible administration functions at your fingertips, you ensure compliance with regulations and best practices, safeguarding the sanctity of the workplace and the welfare of its inhabitants.


Shop floor data gathering and choosing the right tool for the job, cannot be overstated in the context of modern manufacturing. By transitioning from manual to automated data capture methods, companies can transcend the limitations of traditional approaches, unlock operational efficiencies, and pave the way for sustainable growth and competitiveness in today’s dynamic marketplace. As we embark on this journey towards automation, let us seize the opportunities it presents and harness its transformative power to drive success in the ever-evolving landscape of manufacturing.


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