Manufacturing

Barcodes

Barcodes are unique identifiers that represent data most commonly through numbers and parallel lines of varying widths and spacing. They have been around for over 60 years, and we see them in action today everywhere from automotive manufacturers to grocery stores.

There are two types of barcodes, 1D and 2D. 1D barcodes include Uniform Product Codes (UPC), Code 39, POSTNET, Bookland, Code 128, Interleaved 2 of 5 and Codabar. You’d typically see these barcodes, particularly UPCs at retail stores. 2D barcodes include PDF417, Maxicode, Data Matrix and QR Code. These are typically used to relay large amounts of text, data or messages.

Barcodes allow manufacturers to operate at maximum efficiency. With the help of machine readers, vital information about a product can be identified within seconds. This quick access to data allows users to work faster and eliminates the need for manual data entry or research. Software systems keep things organized and can support the businesses by properly reading and creating barcodes. 

Client Profiles
  • Tier 1 Supplier
  • Fleet of 1200
  • 30-person shop
  • Global Organization
  • Import/Export Company
Implementations
  • Mobile application for scanning
  • All-weather devices
  • Handheld devices
  • Shipping & Receiving
  • Location & Inventory Tracking

BOM

A BOM, or Bill of Materials, is a critical file for every manufacturer. Without it, the manufacturer could not create the product properly. Sometimes known as a formula, recipe or ingredients list, the BOM contains a complete list of what is necessary to produce or repair a product. This list may include, but is not limited to, raw materials, quantity, unit of measure, substitute parts, components, assemblies and any other information needed to create the end product.
Client Profiles
  • Tier 1 Supplier
  • Fleet of 1200
  • 30-person shop
  • Global Organization
  • Import/Export Company
Implementations
  • Purchasing integration
  • Sales quoting integration
  • Inventory integration
 

Dashboards

While dashboards are utilized in many industries, they are particularly important to understand performance and efficiency of the manufacturing process. With access to production KPIs in one location, a business owner, manager or other decision-maker can track productivity levels and improve the quality and efficiency of production. This information is also imperative for planning, as you can quickly assess any potential capacity roadblocks.

A dashboard should be customized to provide you graphs and information most important to you on one screen. They may update periodically throughout the day, daily or weekly, depending on how you would like to consume this information and how it may affect your process.

Client Profiles
  • Tier 1 Supplier
  • Fleet of 1200
  • 30-person shop
  • Global Organization
  • Import/Export Company
Implementations
  • KPI
  • Inventory
  • Sales
  • Project management
  • Asset tracking
  • Financials
 

EDI

EDI, or Electronic Data Interchange, is the electronic transfer of information from one company to another. Because of the elimination of paper processes, this standard creates a more efficient process by eliminating many causes of delay, human error and wasted time or effort.

A couple of example documents ideal for EDI would be an invoice or a purchase order. Instead of having the need for one employee to create the invoice, print, prepare a letter, send via postal mail to then be received by the recipient and entered into their own system, which likely will begin another paper process, the sender can securely send to the appropriate recipient with the assistance of EDI in only 3 steps. The steps would be to first prepare, then translate into EDI format and finally transmit to the recipient.

Client Profiles

  • Tier 1 Supplier
  • Fleet of 1200
  • 30-person shop
  • Global Organization
  • Import/Export Company
  • HVAC Manufacturer

Implementations

  • Just in time (JIT) manufacturing
  • Purchase orders
  • Invoicing

Fleet Tracking/Logistics

Fleet tracking is the combined effort of tracking devices and software to monitor the activity of company assets such as vehicles, workers, trailers and other equipment. With this in place, a manager or business owner has access to vehicle location, history, behavior and overall health. This data allows them to make operational decisions.

There are two ways to track the data – active and passive. Active provides real-time data sometimes to the second, while passive collects data to be transferred to the business software later.

Route Planning is the method of determining the most efficient tactics for delivery. The planning entails the optimization of necessary travel by determining dispatch, routes, mileage, stops and other factors that may affect costs. Route planning is particularly important to ensure driver safety and customer satisfaction and to potentially maximize deliveries on one route.

Whether a business decides to track passively or actively, software is important for the interpretation, management and general understanding of the data provided by the tracking devices. 

Client Profiles
  • Tier 1 Supplier
  • Fleet of 1200
  • 30-person shop
  • Global Organization
  • Import/Export Company
Implementations
  • Truck-to-trailer logistics
  • Load capacity
  • Delivery confirmation tracking
  • Pre-arrival notifications
  • Real-time route optimization
 

IoT/PLC

The Internet of Things, or simply IoT, is a system of interconnected devices or things. A simple explanation of this concept is that it is a system of connecting things to the Internet.

A PLC, short for Programmable Logic Controller, is an industrial computer adapted for manufacturing. These can be utilized on assembly lines or anywhere it would be appropriate to automate mechanical processes. While they were first developed for automobile manufacturing, their adaptability allows them to operate in most harsh environments, making them ideal for other assembly lines.

The main components of a PLC typically include a processor, a rack, input assembly, output assembly, power supply, and some sort of software. Software is the key to control the machine operation and to access any data it may be programmed to collect.

Client Profiles
  • Tier 1 Supplier
  • Fleet of 1200
  • 30-person shop
  • Global Organization
  • Import/Export Company
Implementations
  • PLC’s
  • Connected tooling equipment
  • Torque gun
  • Photo capture

Integrations

Manufacturing is such a fast-paced industry, so it’s important that every detail is recorded and communicated. Any delay can cost a company precious dollars and resources. It can be difficult to find a solution that does everything one needs, so the more complex a project, the more systems or applications the project likely requires. Integrations bring these together in one accessible location.

Integrations allow for quick access, preventing business owners and operators from having to navigate multiple systems and applications to complete a project or check in on their status. 

Client Profiles

  • Tier 1 Supplier
  • Fleet of 1200
  • 30-person shop
  • Global Organization
  • Import/Export Company

Implementations

  • Accounting
    • QuickBooks
    • Microsoft Dynamics GP
    • Peachtree Financial Solutions
    • Sage Intacct
    • Payment processing

Inventory

Typically, a manufacturing company will need to keep track of three types of inventory – Raw Material, Work-In-Progress (WIP) and Finished Goods. Raw Material Inventory would refer to any material that is used in the manufacturing process to create an end product or finished good. Work-In-Progress Inventory refers to all goods in process to become a finished good. Finished Goods Inventory refers to any product ready for sale. 

As each of these categories heavily impact and rely on the other, it’s important to track each efficiently and carefully. Software aids in tracking inventory numbers themselves, as well as other important details such as quality and costs in order to maximize product efficiency.

Client Profiles

  • Tier 1 Supplier
  • Fleet of 1200
  • 30-person shop
  • Global Organization
  • Import/Export Company

Implementations

  • Barcode scanning
  • Automatic reorder
  • Vendor integration

KPI

KPIs, Key Performance Indicators, are what help a company reach goals and targets. There are usually smaller goals that need to be reached first, and KPIs help you understand those. Once you have a goal set, work backwards. Treat this as you would a marathon: You don’t just walk out the door and run 26.2 miles without proper training. You run a mile one day, a few more the next week and so on until the big race. The KPI in this example would be “miles ran each day” with the goal being a marathon.

In manufacturing, important KPIs to track may be open orders, WIP, quality, customer satisfaction, first aid visits, etc. With access to these metrics, a business owner can assess goals and whether they are realistic or need adjustment. It’s important to use KPIs to grow. As goals are achieved or business evolves, one should KPIs accordingly in order to keep them relevant.

Client Profiles
  • Tier 1 Supplier
  • Fleet of 1200
  • 30-person shop
  • Global Organization
  • Import/Export Company
Implementations
  • Prospecting
  • Sales
  • Projects
  • SLAs
  • Usage volumes
  • WIP
  • Quality
  • Custom satisfaction
  • Anything that may be important for your company

Printing

Technology has evolved over time in such a way that things that once took up a large amount of real estate are now portable and easily used by many. Society saw the beginning of print technology over 500 years ago with the introduction of the printing press. As time passed, printers became an important asset to computers.

Inevitably, printers have now evolved into portable devices which greatly aid manufacturing efforts. On-demand and portable printing allows the printing of labels, receipts, invoices and anything else that may be relevant to your business to be done in real-time. This modernized process has resulted in quicker production times and efficiency.

Client Profiles

  • Tier 1 Supplier
  • Fleet of 1200
  • 30-person shop
  • Global Organization
  • Import/Export Company

Implementations

  • Wireless Printing
  • On demand unique labeling
  • Barcodes
  • RFID

Prototype

A prototype is an early model of a product, such as a machine. Prior to prototyping, the concept of the product is merely theoretical. The purpose of the prototype is to test the concept itself, the process of developing it or both.

It’s important to first create a prototype before beginning production so that one can evaluate the limitations of the product or any obstacles that may occur during production. A prototype can reveal important details that may not have been considered during the design phases. 

Client Profiles

  • Tier 1 Supplier
  • Fleet of 1200
  • 30-person shop
  • Global Organization
  • Import/Export Company

Implementations

  • Proof of concept
  • Research & Development
  • Consulting
  • ROI
  • Sales team support
  • Product development support
  • Technologies identification

Quality Control

Quality Control is a term used in many industries, but it’s particularly important in manufacturing, as it may be the difference between life and death for a customer. This process ensures that a company’s customers receive their products ready to use without any defects. Defects are not only potentially life-threatening but can cost the business upwards of billions of dollars.

In order to maintain quality in production, some manufacturing companies apply statistical process control (SPC) monitors or Six Sigma. Whether or not a product poses liability risks, it’s important to monitor quality control in order to support customers’ loyalty, their repeat business and potential referrals.

Client Profiles
  • Tier 1 Supplier
  • Fleet of 1200
  • 30-person shop
  • Global Organization
  • Import/Export Company
Implementations
  • KPI
  • Metrics
  • Real-time image capture
  • Data logging
  • Customer portals
  • Analysis review
 

Quoting

Quoting is the act of presenting a project cost estimate, which should be one of the first steps to a service. It’s important to understand the RFQ (request for quote), your resources, your customers’ expectations and any other relevant details that may affect the production, as any error in misunderstanding can be the difference between profit and loss. For this reason, many manufacturing suppliers incorporate software to streamline their quoting processes.

Software can store information about previous projects, resources and costs to ensure consistent and accurate quoting. With software streamlining the process, quotes can also make their way into a client’s hands quicker, which is significant to decision-makers.

Client Profiles

  • Tier 1 Supplier
  • Fleet of 1200
  • 30-person shop
  • Global Organization
  • Import/Export Company

Implementations

  • Sales support
  • Sales funnel
  • Custom quote builder
  • Integration
  • Approval processes
  • Loss lead analysis
  • Margins
  • Cost tracking
  • Dashboards
  • EDM
  • Vendor purchase order
  • Commission Tracking

Resource Tracking

Resource tracking is the process of managing and analyzing the utilization of business resources. With resource tracking, one can understand the company’s capabilities at any given time. This is particularly vital for manufacturing companies, as a misunderstanding of current resources may cause a need for temporarily shutting down an assembly line, costing the company money and other resources.

One other benefit of resource tracking is the opportunity to record relevant details about the resources. With this information, a company gains a better understanding of operation needs and can then improve their production efforts and reduce wasted materials and time.

Client Profiles

  • Tier 1 Supplier
  • Fleet of 1200
  • 30-person shop
  • Global Organization
  • Import/Export Company

Implementations

  • Punch clock
  • Time against the job
  • Task planning
  • Scheduling
  • Attendance tracking
  • Pay scale
    • Overtime, double time, holiday, etc.
  • Payroll integrations

RFID

RFID, or radio-frequency identification, is a wireless way to track inventory and equipment. Additionally, it can be utilized in a cause-and-effect manner, meaning that the action of signaling causes a desired reaction. For example, RFID can be used as a key to allow employee access to buildings, rooms or software. As the name states, RFID uses radio waves to communicate stored information. There are mainly two types of RFID tags, active and passive, with the main difference between them being their power source.

RFID is an effective tool in manufacturing because it does not require a visible line of sight of the tag and eliminates the need for an individual to scan each item. This effectively reduces the time spent and potential human error. With the ability to withstand harsh environments, RFID tags are great option for tracking inventory in extreme conditions because there is less likelihood of tag degradation.

Client Profiles
  • Tier 1 Supplier
  • Fleet of 1200
Implementations
  • Badges
  • Access control
  • Heat maps
  • Software access
  • Security
  • Location tracking

SLA Monitoring

SLA means “Service-Level Agreement,” and the monitoring thereof is the assurance of meeting client expectations. Most often, the SLA is the contract between a service provider and its customers, though at times more parties may be involved. Within the SLA, the client and service provider agree to the terms of service and outline expectations.

Once an agreement is defined and agreed upon, it’s important to begin monitoring. By utilizing tools and software, the service provider can catch any problems that may arise in order to quickly resolve them so that their services are provided to the client’s expectations. This is especially important for maintaining good relationships with clients and ensuring future business.