Real-Time Data & Analytics Is A Manufacturers’ Best Strategy In A Downturn
Bottom Line: Putting employees first and protecting them by combining real-time monitoring, analytics, and automation to streamline production enables manufacturers to keep producing much-needed medical supplies and serve customers.
With urgent orders to fill for biological pharmaceutical plastics products from Merck and other customers, Core Technology Molding continues to produce much-needed medical supplies for healthcare. Based in Greensboro, North Carolina, the company is a custom injection molding manufacturer serving the aerospace, appliance, automotive, biological pharmaceutical, consumer goods, heavy truck, medical device, and outdoor lawn equipment markets. They’re seeing demand planning reductions in automotive assembly, and component forecasts as new car orders begin to slow down. Orders and new projects with biological pharmaceutical and medical device customers; however, continue to increase in response to the chronic supplies shortage healthcare providers are facing around the world today.
Using Real-Time Monitoring, Analytics and Automation To Keep Their Workers Safe
While orders for much-needed medical supplies continue to come in, it’s the employees and planning for their safety that is the highest priority. Like many manufacturing CEOs I’ve spoken with, CEO and Founder Geoff Foster built the company with business continuity in mind to reduce risk and diversify its customer base. That strategy, along with worst-case scenario planning completed back in February, is paying off. Geoff and his wife and business partner Tonya Foster,BSN and RN and also VP of HR, Environmental & Safety, immediately began looking at how they could schedule employees and production runs so all CDC requirements would be met, and needed medical supplies produced.
Here examples of how the team at Core Technology Molding is combining real-time monitoring, analytics, and automation all coordinated through their ERP system to keep their employees safe and produce much-needed medical products:
- Overwhelming customers with value, escaping price wars, and protecting employees all starts with a strong manufacturing data foundation combined with Six Sigma expertise. What sets Core Technology Molding apart from many other manufacturers is how real-time data, analytics, and Six Sigma define who they are. For a manufacturer its size, it has more Six Sigma Black Belts on staff per capita than many comparably sized manufacturers. “When our employees started getting Six Sigma training, black belt and green belt training we were able to understand how all the data we collect comes together,” Geoff said. “We’re using advanced analytical techniques to understand and act on real-time monitoring data, including Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), scrap rates, production yield rates, and more.” Insights from Six Sigma help improve production workloads, reduce the dependence on having too many workers on the production floor at once, and further ensure social distancing guidelines are met. The result: every employee is healthy and protected.
- Enables their staff to work from home and campus and stay safe by accessing real-time monitoring data, analytics, and reports from their ERP system. Having designed the IT systems with business continuity in mind, Brandon Frederick, Manufacturing Engineer and Business Development Manager, implemented an ERP system that provides for remote access. Non-production employees can log in from home or campus and get their work done, staying safe.
- Enables a data-driven approach to production strategies aimed at protecting employees and producing high-quality products. Before founding Core Technology Molding, Geoff was an industrial engineer and product manager at AMP Inc., Tyco Electronics, and Corning Life Sciences. Based on his engineering background, he’s implemented an ERP system capable of providing real-time monitoring that is integrated to quality, production scheduling, shipping & labeling, and traceability. “Real-time data helps us be more proactive protecting employees and helps us make better decisions about processes, about equipment; we can look at from machine to machine, which machine gives us the best results. Having that data is critical,” Geoff said.
Biological pharmaceutical and medical device companies sourcing products from Core Technology require real-time monitoring to be in place to ensure quality and delivery dates and employee safety. Becton Dickinson, Merck, and other medical industry customers require real-time monitoring of every supplier they source from. They’re looking for insights into how each supplier is handling production loads, quality levels, machinery efficiency, and several other factors. Every biological pharmaceutical and medical device customer Core Technology has also performs periodic supplier audits onsite. Running reports from the real-time monitoring module of their ERP system helps Core technology prepare for these audits in just a few hours, and can be done from anywhere there is an Internet connection. By having an integrated ERP system, they’re also able to provide employees and managers the flexibility of running reports from home.
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