The Toughest Question Has the Easiest Answer.
You get that million-dollar question over and over from your customer—he or she is waiting on the order you are working on.
But the answer doesn’t have to do with money. It has to do with something more basic:
Communication. Communication. Communication. We’re not talking machines talking to machines. It’s people talking to each other and machines.
The lines have to be open and constant. That’s because a single error can actually cost millions—from labor overruns to material waste to costly lawsuits—depending on your industry.
And collecting data on the job floor has been complicated and expensive for a long time. Not anymore.
Acumen begins with what every manager and employee wants—optimized output. That is, jobs and orders done right the first time. Only one time. And faster than the competition.
To get there, you need an accurate real-time assessment of inputs and outputs—from machine capacity to inventory to maintenance to time and labor. This eliminates the potential errors and missteps.
We’ve looked around and see so many firms with so many solutions. And we’ve found that at Acumen, they solve complicated problems simply.
Their solution combines state-of-the-art job shop floor data collection with labor tracking, time and attendance, and inventory tracking. It keeps everyone updated on a job’s status. At the same time, Acumen Data Systems provides employers an effective way to capture the actuals—from time spent on a job to material usage, in real time.
At Acumen, they walk their customers through the ins and outs of job tracking one step at a time.
The days of one order, one part, one machine, one operator and a single activity are over. In today’s marketplace, you’ve got multiple operators working across multiple day and night-shifts on multiple machines on multiple orders with multiple processes. From cutting to machining to inspecting to assembly to packing and to shipping out the door.
Case in point:
Acumen was recently selected by a well-known North American ball-bearing manufacturing company to deliver a solution for many of its locations. A roller bearing assembly is, of course, like every other widget that’s manufactured, a complex device.
Simply put, a bearing transmits, with a minimum of friction, a load between two surfaces moving in opposite directions. And like everything else, it has many parts.
First, two rings: the inner ring and the outer ring. Between them: the rolling elements—the ball bearings themselves—run in raceways. To prevent contact between the rolling elements, they need guidance, and evenly spaced. That’s the job of the part known as the cage. Typically, the rings and rollers need to be matched by size, material type and lot. What used to take an employee all day, now takes seconds once automated. With Acumen-supplied RF handheld terminals and barcode labeling, every part and component, its movement, in and out of inventory, is tracked and blended seamlessly into the total job.
For the ball-bearing manufacturer, Acumen brought the PC onto the shop floor with touchscreen, RF WiFi, and electronic time data terminals. They provided not only wireless inventory control and shop floor data collection, but matching software to link and authenticate the ERP’s BOM.
With time and attendance, inventory control and shop floor control seamlessly integrated, the Acumen-designed system provided a matching ability beyond the BOM in the ERP.
Items at the bearing manufacturer were entered the inventory in a variety of ways—each carefully monitored and recorded every step of the way. Balls are received from outside vendors, checked and entered into inventory. Rollers and cages, machined in house, are measured, packaged and entered into inventory. The same for inner and outer rings. At the end of the line, the finished bearings are assembled in house, packaged and entered into inventory as complete—all saving time and money with an advanced and integrated Acumen job floor tracking system.
Items are scanned out of inventory based on the bearing manufacturer’s ERP build order. With entry devices like mouse/keyboard, touch screens, and barcoding.
Items could be released to the floor or entered into a reserved location against the order. After assembly, the company’s finished goods were labeled and scanned back into inventory.
The system allowed serialized products to be entered into the inventory system, allowing for cross-reference of component items to the finished good. It gave the company a two-step process, labeling both the inner sealed package and the outer box.
Inventory transaction updates are easy. A proprietary Acumen system creates the file and moves it to the proper location on a prescribed schedule. Inventory updates from ERP uses database triggers that are placed on the appropriate tables within the ERP database. You can reconcile the ADS database to the ERP database on a scheduled basis.
The real value comes with updating milestones through scheduling modules that provide real-time job status.
Instant messaging between shop floor employees and the front office ensure constant oversight and shop floor operator comments can be recorded on job jackets.
This way the status of all departments involved in the workflow is monitored. You are tracking at your fingertips labor, productivity, equipment utilization, spoils, and production rates.
You can pull detailed reports on each employee to determine the actual amount of time that was spent working on a particular job.
In the end, Acumen made a complex process simple with its robust system design that included production modules like estimating, job costing, scheduling, purchasing, barcoding, shipping, chargebacks, and fulfillment.
With a flexible, leave-no-stone-unturned design, Acumen successfully brought the ball bearing manufacturer into a profitable present and a brighter future.