Our client is an innovative Commercial Printer headquartered in Raleigh, NC, that provides a full range of printing and fulfillment services to a wide range of Customers.
Problem to be solved
Unlike many high-volume production lines, Commercial Printers faces the problem of having a different configuration of equipment and processes for almost every job. This presents a complex scheduling and resource planning problem.
With the systems they had in place, even with scheduling algorithms and extensive industry experience, our Client knew they were not making the best use of their equipment; encountered numerous slack times; were always concerned that they might miss a commitment –especially to key process sub-contractors; and were always at risk of material shortages which could loose them production time. Collecting the multiple pieces of information required to manage each task necessitated a raft of individual reports, and laborious manual analysis by experienced Staff members every day.
They wanted to address the following specific issues:
- Minimize or eliminate risk of missing key sub-contract Vendor Shipment dates
- Eliminate risk of running out of paper
- Sequence jobs optimally to minimize setup and changeover
- Shorten planning meetings
- Improve Job visibility
How we did it?
Fraysen used our modular toolset and processes to produce a solution uniquely configured for our Client’s needs. This includes careful analysis of existing processes and the people and systems surrounding them.
The printer’s data collection requirements presented a number of challenges as there were not only many workstations to schedule, but large numbers of jobs live in the system at any given time, each with its own unique configuration. We were able to use Fraysen’s HTTP Collector technology to collected all the data we needed about each task, in close to real time, without compromising their MIS system in any way.
From here, we converted task records to a normalized structure enabling us to analyze sequencing and critical paths to optimize schedules.
As a result we were able to provide consolidated planning and execution views for individual departments.
Our Client has realized the following benefits by applying Fraysen’s Schedule+ system:
- No risk of missing key Vendor Shipment dates
- No risk of running out of paper
- Jobs are optimally sequenced to minimize setup and changeover
- Planning Meetings are efficient and shorter — saving the equivalent of a whole CSR’s time!
- The plant responds instantly to change Customer demands
- 220 pages of paper reports per day no longer printed
- Schedule optimization became more efficient:
- Saving time by eliminating previously required report comparisons and system lookups.
- Jobs are prioritized by slack remaining against the most critical delivery date, ensuring the next job prioritized is always the most urgent one.
- Since the Fraysen system presents information on standard web pages, we were able to add client-side intelligence to calculate availability of require job materials from inventory, and more efficiently expose job readiness, while retaining optimized sorting.
- Paperless, web based Task List distribution ensures that production Staff always know what the business needs them to do next, eliminating downtime and allowing them to use their initiative to save time and money.
The Management Team praised the system:
“One of our pressman ran out of work and needed plates… Our plating operator saw a new job on the schedule. She called the Customer Service Rep and asked if she could print the job ticket and plate the job. Of course, the CSR agreed. The job ticket was printed, the plates were made and the press was back up far sooner than it could ever have been prior to the Fraysen scheduling tool. Needless to say we were all grins and high-fives! Enabling our employees with proper tools is taking those with initiative to the next level, and honestly, I believe involving Staff with real-time information has most of us a bit more motivated! We’re eager to see how much more efficiency we can achieve using the Fraysen Schedule+ system!“.— Operations Director