The steel products manufacturing process involves multiple stages, starting from raw material to finished products.
Each stage of the process must flow efficiently as there is no way to change the order of operation and tight spaces make it difficult to be flexible.
The Challenge: Specialised Tools & Equipment
Our client manufactures a growing number of products and managing the customer orders through to dispatch is heavily time consuming.
A manual QR code scanning system was implemented however it failed to be adopted well by floor staff teams.
Too much time was spent communicating with workers to coordinating their activities – and updating customers on their order status who were often unhappy with the delays and updates provided.
The manual QR scanning system which was installed quickly became unreliable due to constant changeover of staff and lack of accountability amongst new team members not following scanning protocol.
The result was poor data and difficulty in identifying and managing the weak areas of the business,
Poor operational information for management teams,
disorganised facility, leading to reduced productivity, decreased throughput and unhappy customers.
An proximity based RTLS system was proposed.
By installing receivers throughout the facility to create zones, and attaching a Bluetooth TAG to the stillage which the products were transported within, the business could accurately track orders throughout their production cycle in real time.
Then deliver check in status updates to management as orders progressed, and keep customers well informed.
• Reduce production downtime
• Increase productivity
• Better inventory management
• Improve quality control
Of all of the benefits the RTLS system provided for this client, the most important was also the most basic.
Having a large operation in a tight space meant that floor space where teams could work was heavily limited.
The RTLS system provided a digital view of the factory floor to identify product status at various stages of the operational flow, by maintaining pace, reducing bottlenecks and managing efficient dispatch. The size of the factory floor was no longer a primary concern.
ALSO – RTLS was key in solving
• Space optimisation through better workflows
• Improved the business by allow the manager to remain productive and work with the business units equally.
• Alleviating search time and constant walking around site
• Optimize production efficiency and identify downtime.
Being a great success the asset tracking system was scaled up, to provide insights into inventory levels, enabling proactive planning and reducing the risk of product line failure.
Additionally, an external integration with the business CRM enabled real-time product status updates for suppliers and customers. (INTEGRATIONS)
As a side note:
IoT based system are infinitely scalable, starting with a Proof Of Value to learn about the benefits, then phased roll-outs to reach a level of data delivery automation which can further propels the business.