USA Manufacturer DCT Saves 60-man Hours per Week Using Intouch Monitoring

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Intouch’s implementation at Diverse Corporate Technologies (DCT) helps revolutionise its manufacturing processes by automating job scheduling, and data recording, and enhancing operational efficiency, significantly reducing manual work and improving production visibility and accuracy, ultimately saving up 60 man hours a week.

About DCT

Established in 1996, Diverse Corporate Technologies (known as DCT) launched its manufacturing facility in Western North Carolina, equipped with two injection moulding machines. Their focus was to deliver a full-service manufacturing solution from design to fulfilment of plastic and metal products.

DCT manufacturing saves 60-man hours per week after implementing intouch DCT’s USP is producing extremely high-quality products that meet the exacting standards of their customers – from simple one-step injection moulded plastic to complex parts.

Over recent years DCT has grown and invested in new larger machines (450-, 540- and 1125-tonne presses) which use robotics. This significant investment enabled them to grow their business and their customer base. As with any expansion, businesses often experience “growing pains” which was the case for DCT. This recognition resulted in the leadership team seeking a solution that would enable them to streamline their operation, improve communication and increase efficiency, but not at the cost of quality.

The Challenge

As the business successfully grew, rudimentary processes relied heavily on manual procedures and practices. They also relied on the corporate memory of the production managers. Manual procedures had served them well with two machines but were no longer efficient. This approach also prevented them from gaining full visibility of their factory floor at any given time or shift.

DCT was not capturing valuable real-time data from their machines, resulting in lines running slowly and unscheduled downtime that affected their overall performance. Quality has always been at the heart of their business, so quality control and waste management remained key to their operations.

John Wright, Projects Manager at DCT Manufacturing said:
“Prior to our use of Intouch, we did all our data recording on the manufacturing floor manually. We used forms and Excel to record all of our data. It required over 60-man hours per week just to combine all the data and get it into the system”

Identifying a solution

After extensive evaluation of the potential options in the market that would solve DCT’s key challenges, they identified Intouch as a good fit for their business. A decision was made to choose Intouch based on 3 reasons:

  1. Job Scheduling: Intouch offered an intuitive, drag-and-drop scheduling system, providing transparency and ease of use. This enabled seamless allocation of jobs to specific machines, allowing for immediate insights into job completion timelines. This would easily replace existing manual processes for scheduling.
  2. Automated production data and reporting: Intouch offered an automated recording and tracking of production data, eliminating the need for manual data entry. This would not only save significant time but also provide real-time insights into machine availability, lead times, and job completion estimates. This real-time visibility would enable them to take immediate action to resolve and correct any issues.
  3. Cost of System: A key factor for DCT was cost. DCT wanted to ensure there was a measurable return on investment (ROI) and that the cost of implementation would easily generate value for the business. Additionally, they wanted a system that could be easily implemented and was fully supported with training and ongoing support when needed.

Intouch proved to be an affordable solution, with a low monthly subscription fee, which could be cancelled at any time.

Intouch also provided a chance to “try before you buy” with a 60-day free trial which mitigated concerns and risks often associated with new technology. Training was provided at the start of the trial, which meant they could see the benefits of the system immediately.

Enhanced Job Scheduling

Brent Cordes, Manufacturing Manager said:
“One of the reasons we selected Intouch was because of the scheduling chart that it has. It has an easy-to-follow, really clean drag-and-drop schedule that’s completely visible to everybody.”

“We know when mould changes need to happen, we know how much time is left to run on a machine and we can prepare for it accordingly.”

Implementation

The implementation of the Intouch system has delivered a transformation in job scheduling – from manual to digital. The system’s intuitive drag-and-drop scheduling made it easy to allocate jobs to specific machines, offering immediate visibility and predictions as to when jobs would be completed and improved machine optimisation.

This flexibility across all shifts and operators, empowered the sales team with accurate information such as machine availability and lead time, enabling them to accurately inform their customers with vital information.

This has assisted the shift leaders and enabled them to improve planning and ensure the tool and correct material would be ready before the job ends, which has improved the speed of the tool change process, and significantly reduced overall downtime.

Automated real-time production data

Intouch’s automated production data and real-time counting of parts marked a significant improvement.

Previously, manual forms and Excel sheets were used, consuming over 60 man-hours per week which was always subject to human error. With Intouch, production data is automatically recorded and tracked, enabling evaluation by shift, machine, and customer which has produced valuable time to focus on mitigating inefficiencies. The result is an overall improvement in efficiency and machine utilisation.

Machine operators are now able to focus on maintaining the quality of parts, as Intouch seamlessly handles the counting process.

Seamless ERP integration

The integration of Intouch with the NetSuite ERP system proved to be a game-changer. Work orders were seamlessly transferred from NetSuite into the Intouch schedule, and upon job completion, information was passed back to NetSuite for fulfilment, shipping, and invoicing.

Intouch enabled DCT to have a fully automated system starting with the customer’s sales order, and scheduling the manufacturing job, to receiving the customer’s payment.

Real-time data provides the ERP system with accurate machine cycle times, enabling precise bill of material manufacturing cost calculations.

The business office can immediately identify the manufacturing cost variances compared to the standard quoted cost, and to know the profitability of each production job. Customers can be notified of pricing updates sooner based on the actual production cycle time.

Additionally, DCT is now able to monitor the sales margin for each manufactured item and each customer using the real-time data that Intouch provides.

Factory floor visibility 24/7

Intouch brought visibility to every corner of the manufacturing environment and everyone can now see when machines are running and understand the reasons behind any downtime.

John said: “The other great benefit was the visibility Intouch offered. It’s very intuitive, you can see at a glance exactly what is going on in the shop floor at any time.”

“We installed monitors in our break room, on the shop floor, and tablets on each machine that tell us exactly what is going on. We also installed monitors in the business office so that the whole company can be aware of what was happening on the shop floor at any given time”.

Visual alerts highlighted instances where a job was running behind schedule due to inefficiencies.

Outstanding customer service

John commended the customer service received from Intouch:

“Immediately the feedback was phenomenal. Anytime we had a question, even though they were overseas, we had immediate feedback. Many times, I was shocked how quickly we got a response for any questions we had.”

“They were always extremely friendly and easy to deal with… they have been one of the best relationships we’ve had based on just the customer service, I can’t complement them enough.”

Benefits for DCT

DCT’s decision to implement Intouch has resulted in a significant improvement in operational performance, which reaches beyond expectations. The company was previously spending hours logging data without being able to effectively utilise it.

Now they have 24/7 visibility and data to make informed data-driven decisions, using data they can trust. The entire organisation, from operators to shift leaders, are more diligent and the Intouch software enables them to more effectively keep machines running efficiently.

John said: “We spent most of our time putting the data in, but the reports that we get from Intouch tell us so many of the things we want to know, but never could get before.”

The newfound data enabled DCT to secure better pricing on parts, thanks to accurate cycle times and a deeper understanding of material usage. The ability to forecast order completion with greater precision allowed DCT to provide customers with reliable deadlines, enhancing overall customer satisfaction.

“It’s been phenomenal what we’ve been able to accomplish with Intouch, and we’ve been very, very satisfied with what we have received”

“Intouch has eliminated all the guesswork and has organised and made us very efficient. I highly recommend this system.” Said Bill Creason, Production Planner

DCT is delighted to be partnering with Intouch

DCT is delighted with the measurable results they are achieving with the Intouch system, and the positive improvements they have measured on their overall operations. The real-time data as their single source of truth has been a game-changer for the company.

DCT complemented the Intouch Customer Service team for their speed and friendly approach to training and queries. This has enabled them to make full use of the Intouch software functionality.

The successful integration has given DCT a competitive advantage in the manufacturing sector they operate in. Looking ahead, DCT plans to do further integration of the system and to incorporate their assembly station into the software.

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