Our list of programs
ORDER INFORMATION PORTAL
MADTrack was our first and setup as a one stop program that had all the information. Instead of having to search for information from different systems/people (ERP, excel engineering logs, production manager) we are able to pull all information into this one UI. Any could dynamically search by any attribute to quickly find accurate and up to date information. (Order status, stage in production, tracking #s, inspection photos, links to drawings, links to spare parts…). It has since evolved to be interface for work queuing for both front office and production operations.
REQUEST INFORMATION PORTAL
Where MADTrack core was orders in our system (fed from ERP) we need similar program to track non-order requests for the business. Sample request, graphic changes, site surveys, technical support, and quality alert. The same benefit as a single interface to find all info, just for ‘non-order’ tasks.
As we grew, for preparing quote we had the option of trying to scale our excel sheet process or try to do a full configurator. Though we are nearly at the full configurator today, going from 0 to 100 was too big a step. Instead we optimized through a custom program and macros that eliminated the ‘admin’ repeatable work to allow sales reps to spend time on the important stuff. We keep the excel what our people knew how to use, but back up with database for our reports, automate completion of customer data fields and put in checks to ensure quality. This wasn’t done in 1 step, but 4-5 steps as we were ready for them.
MATERIAL SUPPLY/DEMAND INFORMATION
Customer wants to buy 100 of a stocked purchased part. It was really difficult to look up and time consuming to run a report to give me all the demand and supply on a horizontal time. A quick simple program that looks up a single part, lines up all demand and supply on time scale so person can make quick informed decision. (With side benefit of those decision shorter leadtimes to customer, with less inventory).
Engineering, one of the last places we touched in our digitization/automation journey. As a high volume custom job shop, engineering has always been a large department, difficult to scale and long training process for new employees. Reality is, 80% of every design is pretty standard (not same, but not something that we need an human to think through). Using combinations of macros, autolisp in Autocad and some in between programs, from our quote we can automated drawings that 80% complete where just the final touches a human needs intervention. What we did is more than parametric drawings, because we’ve built the bridge between our quote form and our engineering software, redundant non value add input of information is not required.
For some reason every organization I’ve worked with exports data out of their ERP into excel and manipulates in there. We are no different, but we automated the process of the manipulation and re-entry and creation of POs in our ERP making it incredibly fast so our buyers can focus on the true exceptions and supplier management. Having process run outside the system, we were also able to add other functionality like automatically sending the POs to the supplier, adding links in email for them to acknowledge PO, each a small item to make our buyers more efficient to focus on the tasks that add value.
STOCKROOM PICKING DIGITIZATION
95% of the material we use is stocked, so we have a significant picking operation for our plant. The traditional process of printing pickslip, picking material and then posting the material created timing issues effecting accuracy of inventory and excess steps. By introducing MADPick, our operators pick parts using a tablet that has real time data (inventory level and location) and posts materials to the jobs real time. Now digital, we were able to add quality controls such as images of parts (for operator to confirm) and QR code scanning to confirm right bin.
SHEETMETAL JOB POSTING DIGITIZATION
Product costing is important in all businesses. Our challenge as a high-volume job shop (80-100 ‘ERP jobs’/day) posting sheet metal material to each job was untenable. Allocations of % sheet to BOMs were difficult to keep accurate without massive effort, posting after the fact was too laborious. In MADPost we are able to connect the programs of our Amada Laser to identify material and % of each part, map it to a job and post the material in our ERP, 100% in background. We have now exact material usage on each job, with no ongoing effort/labour.
SHIPPING AND INVOICE AUTOMATION
After the digitization of the packaging process, communicating tracking number and passing file to accounting for invoicing was just wasteful. MADShip was created to capture the tracking number and have it automatically added to the order details in ERP, email the customer notification of shipment with tracking link, and generate an Invoice in the ERP and email to the customer accounting contact. Quality extras include conditions and checks before invoice created to notify accounting to solve typical AR collection documentation problems.
QR Code & Online Store
Spare parts is a challenge for a lot businesses. We must support our product, but the effort supporting the customer to identify the exact $25 part they need rarely pays for itself. First we implemented an online store that our sales team could navigate with customer that they could visually confirm which part they needed. Next through linking our ERP, project data and serial number, we were able to create unique QR codes on every part we manufacture. Scanning the QR code takes them to our online store and with cross referencing data from our ERP, of our 1,500 parts available, only parts used in that specific assembly is shown to the customer to choose from. Further improvements linked our engineering and support data to also provide access the mechanical drawing, all sub components manuals and troubleshooting guides.
Previously, the packaging department used paper order confirmations to check off each item that they packed into boxes with hand written labels on outside of boxes. This information was passed to the front office who manually created the pack slip. The process was timing consuming and had huge possibility for error as we required humans to manually check off what they were packaging. As volume and speed of production increased, it was herd individual parts together and manually track what has been packed where. Every part has a barcode, created during inspection process) Using MADBox the operators just scan the parts as they put them in the box. It tracks what has been packed, and creates labels for the box and ultimately the pack slip and commercial invoice. As what is packed is done by the physically scanning the unit, it is near impossible to have an item on the packslip that is not in the box. Extra quality controls implemented that if multiple boxes (possibly over multiple days) packed, each box needs to be scanned for packslip to be printed to ensure all boxes go together. Packslip detail which box is which parts, incorrect parts get visual warning that its not on this order. If customer is above limit extra sheet printed to notify shipper to get approval before shipping the order. All steps have been simplified though digitization and operators can work quicker because system helps ensure the quality.