My client like most has a “most of breed” IT portfolio for managing their North America plants. The persons responsible for managing the plants (Plant Managers) require information from these systems in order to make production related decisions. The problem they experienced in collecting the information was that it required much time to find and was often out of date. The solution was to implement a “Plant Manager Portal” that would provide up to date reports.

The Requirement
The Plant Managers require access to the following information in order to manage production effectively: Attainment – production to date, Downtime – machine failure, Effectiveness – cost of product per 100 hours of labor, Scrap – waste and Inventory – inventory levels. Access to this information in a timely manner is critical to their responsibility to the customer.

The Problem
The challenge of the plant manger in obtaining this information is as follows:

  • They waste hours trying to find data critical required for making production related decisions.
  • Forced to sift through several PowerPoint and Excel documents as well as viewing hand written log files.

The Plant Managers wasted to much time looking for information (3 hours per week on average). The information existed but was trapped within their ten odd databases scattered throughout the plants.

The Solution
In order to provide up to date information to the plant managers, we had to determine exactly what information was required and when. After completing a few workshops with the Plant Managers, we discovered that the following information was required after each shift (there were two per day):

  • Attainment – production to date
  • Downtime – machine failure
  • Effectiveness – cost of product per 100 hours of labor
  • Scrap – waste
  • Inventory – inventory levels

Since customer orders were filled weekly, the information had to be collected each day of the week to show the progress of the order fulfillment and the effectiveness and quality of filling the order.

The solution was to deploy a SharePoint Portal that would act as a knowledge repository for the Plant Managers. The Portal with the help of an ASP.NET application was able to extract the information required and present it in graphs they were accustom to. In addition, we built a data store to record information required for trend analysis. This was required because some of their systems flushed data weekly after production. The solution was assembled over a eight week period. The Portal also offered a document repository feature so that process guides and manuals could also be placed on the Portal.

The end solution was able to provide realtime plant metrics that helped the plant manager with making decisions required to managing their plant. The solution did not require a huge investment in software since it leveraged their existing applications and data stores.