Solution NewsIssue 3.0 | Winter 2017 |
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In this issue
- Industry Spotlight
- Technology News
- How To
- Did You Know?
- Insider Tip
- Read Past Issues
Industry Spotlight Mapping Technology Changes to Physical Changes for Factory Workers | Prince Minerals
Imagine you have a job doing the same thing day in and day out for 30 years. You’ve become an expert in what you do, and you know your processes like the back of your hand. Then one day, some guy comes in from the IT department thrusting technology into your hand, going on about the new thing that works with another thing called an “ERP system.”
This a loose representation of our Radley XDC implementation at Prince. The extension of data collection onto our shop floor put technology in an area where none existed previously. Our factory operators were experts on their products and processes, but were also accustomed to doing their processes through paper-based methods.
In an effort to ease the transition for some of our most important stakeholders, we placed a big emphasis on connecting the new barcode scanner based processes to physical processes the factory operators already knew. By integrating their new barcode scanner flow into their daily operations and using their terminology as much as possible, we were able to reduce the confusion and frustration that can come with using a new system.
As a good example of this: Our operators have a well-documented procedure about packaging a pallet of material which ensures that we satisfy all customer requirements. After the pallet is fully packaged, labeled, and ready to go it gets put away in the warehouse. We treated our barcode scanner flow as an extension of this overall process, training them to always do their scans at the very end of the packaging run but immediately before the finished pallet was put away in the warehouse.
Benefits to doing it this way were numerous. As an extension of their known process, they became accustomed to it quickly and scanning became second nature after a few work shifts. By tying it to a physical process such as movement of the material in the warehouse, we reduce error because the operators can’t scan material incorrectly if it’s not there next to them. By being very specific about when the scans should occur, operators can be consistent in the procedures and confident that they did everything correctly.
Change is rough, but everyone benefits if processes are designed in a way that promotes success instead of leaving the potential for failure. Factory workers don’t always operate in the same technical world that IT or business analysts do, and it’s important to be sensitive to that. Be kind to your operators!
Contributed by Drew Hibbard
Business Systems Manager, Prince Minerals
Technology News RFID: Transformative Technology
At one time it was enough to just streamline operations to become more “Lean”. And those lean initiatives helped many manufacturers get through financial crises and economic downturns. Process automation and barcoding made a significant impact, but even the right mix of efficiency and business systems isn’t enough with today’s advancements. One thing is clear, the true path to the future of manufacturing competitiveness is through emerging new technologies and the adaptions of old, existing technology such as RFID.
Implementing RFID technology in the supply chain has been a topic of interest for years and many within the industry are looking once again into technology and communications like radio frequency identification. However many operational and IT teams are wary of proposing a plan to executives initiating change based on the success of a technology that has acquired such a bad reputation for being unreliable, expensive and complicated. There have been a variety of misconceptions of how RFID technology works leading manufacturers to anticipate a magical outcome, causing false hopes and disappointment.
Perpetuating these myths are multitudes of vendors and so called RFID Solution providers that hopped on the bandwagon within the last decade to get in on the RFID market selling tags and readers. Rather than educate their customers, they encourage unrealistic expectations to land the deal; ultimately leaving organizations that have invested millions in technology they believed would solve their problems with an entirely new set of issues to contend with. It’s easy to understand why RFID has gotten such a bad rap.
Truly ahead of its time, the concept of RFID preceded the sophistication of the tags, middleware and antennae required to make the solution a viable option for most organizations. Limited by the current technology, challenging environments and cost to manufacture, it has been a slow rise to the top for Radio Frequency Identification. But, cue the “Rocky” theme song, those in the RFID industry were fighters and never gave up modifying, testing and improving the technology hoping one day their time would come. Gone are the old concerns with security, investment, complicated deployments and tag reliability. Today’s RFID is no longer the “black sheep” but rather a major contender in the push for a connected supply chain and considered one of the core manufacturing technologies of the future.
Before seeking out a vendor be sure to educate yourself and your project team so you have realistic expectations of what can be achieved. Remember to evaluate all the components to a successful RFID Solution, not just tags and readers but middleware as well. Without the software you’re just scanning tags! It is absolutely critical to work with someone who is willing to fit an RFID Solution to your unique business. There is no universal RFID solution or a one-size-fits-all implementation method. With realistic goals, a committed team and knowledgeable vendor, you can trust that incorporating RFID technology into your business will not only be a viable option to help you stand out from the competition, but a successful one.
How To Get the Most out of Your Radley Solution
Whether you’ve recently implemented your Radley solution or have been running our software for years we want to ensure you are getting the most out of your investment. Rolling out a new system can be a big effort involving numerous levels of management, staff and most often multiple vendors and consultants. With the focus generally on the end game, going live with your new solution, it’s not uncommon for some details to get lost along the way. Circling back after initial implementation and annually thereafter can help you ensure you and your staff are up to date on general use, troubleshooting and reporting issues, upgrades and potential process gaps.
Know Your Solution
You’d be surprised how often we get a call from customers who just implemented their solution and they inquire if they can do something, run a certain report or perform a specific transaction and we inform them that the functionality is present and active. Sometimes the caller wasn’t involved in the training or was brought into the project towards the end. A lot of the time, they just don’t remember! Even more common is staff turnover, when the project lead or person(s) who received training is no longer with your company. While we do our best to provide comprehensive training and instruction on our software, sometimes one session just isn’t enough, especially during that hectic implementation period.
- Keep a copy of your project’s Statement of Work for reference
- Utilize EDI on-line documentation
- Schedule bi-annual training refreshes
To our long time, loyal Radley customers we ask “How has your business changed since you purchased and implemented our software?” When your processes and requirements evolve more than likely your software will need to as well. Engaging in a gap analysis also brings visibility to undocumented processes and areas for improvement.
- Labeling requirements
- Trading Partners
- Additional facilities
- Aging hardware
- New ERP transactions
Upgrades & Patches
Another way to ensure you are getting the most out of your investment is staying up to date with available patches and upgrades. If you aren’t sure what version you are running or if there are any updates for your specific solution, be sure to reach out to Support or your designated Account Manager.
Your Radley Customer Service Team is here to help! The worst thing we can hear from a customer is that they’ve been working around an issue that they’ve never reported to us. Take advantage of the knowledge and experience gained from servicing customers from all over the world and reach out with questions, concerns and issues. We make it easy by providing in-house representatives you can call or email or simply log into the on-line Customer Portal. Make sure your team knows who to call, when and what information they need to have ready.
- Designate a staff member on each shift to report issues to Radley
- Reference available Support Documentation
- Document information and trouble-shooting tips for quick reference
Did You Know? Radley is part of the MMOG/LE Work Group
Best practices for Materials Management constantly evolve in an effort to increase efficiency and accuracy while reducing costs. The MMOG/LE work group includes representatives from OEMs, suppliers and service providers working to assist manufacturers with implementing these standards. Radley is a participating member of Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) with employees serving on committees such as MMOG/LE for over 9 years.
Materials Management Operations Guideline/Logistics Evaluation (MMOG/LE ) sets global standards for supply chain management, helps address current issues within the supply chain and provides tools for businesses to evaluate their practices against the global standard. Although developed for the automotive industry, the tools can be used by any manufacturing organization to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of their processes. Adhering to the MMOG/LE standards offers multiple benefits to manufacturers:
- • Gain control of supply chain processes
- • Reduce inventory carrying costs, premium freight, rework, line stoppages, lead times
- • Increase inventory visibility
- • Reduce supply chain risk
- • Supports continuous improvement
- • Increase customer satisfaction
- • Increase competitiveness
In a recent interview at AIAG’s 2016 Supply Chain Summit, Terry Onica, QAD’s automotive vertical director and a long-time AIAG volunteer, stressed the importance of increased engagement by manufacturers to address supply chain risks. Onica states, “When I go out today a lot through my work with MMOG/LE and work with suppliers, they’re not looking at sub supplier risk as diligently as they can.” As part of her work with AIAG and MMOG/LE, Onica sees two areas for improvement regarding evaluation of sub supplier risk: knowing key information about suppliers including locations, finances and quality performance, and making sure contingency plans include details to address situations that may occur after a disruptive event, but before normal production has resumed. MMOG/LE can help Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers with these challenges. “There are tools out there like MMOG/LE that will help Tier 1 suppliers assess the capabilities of the Tier 2 supplier. Are they capable? Is there risk there? And then the Tier 2 supplier can use that same assessment down the supply chain,” she said.
Radley's platform of EDI, MES and WMS solutions can help you implement MMOG global guidelines to boost productivity, manage risk and realize cost savings for your organization. For more information on MMOG/LE, visit www.aiag.org or www.odette.org
Insider Tip You can take control of your supply chain, even if your suppliers don’t use EDI!
As a purchaser you may have multiple suppliers with a mix of EDI and non-EDI manual processes. Your staff manages incoming faxes, phone calls and emails communicating purchases, invoices, deliveries and more. These manual processes slow down your production, bog down your staff, and complicate reporting of your key data. How can you achieve compliance between you and your customers, increase process efficiency, and improve supplier performance?
Radley iSC Supplier Collaboration automates communication between you and your suppliers, regardless of their EDI capabilities. iSC provides an easy to use web-based portal for suppliers to execute business transactions, run reports and automate tasks, virtually eliminating email, fax, and telephone ordering. You can control and configure the portal to your business specifications, with secure access for each supplier. Easily eliminate manual efforts and decrease errors to reduce costs, free up your labor and increase visibility to your supply chain. Integrate with your ERP or use as a stand-alone solution.
- • Assign multiple order types to a supplier
- • Define transactions and how they will be exchanged
- • Query to find pending supplier shipments
- • Import/Export or integrate iSC to your ERP
- • Enforce your label requirements
- • Configure to each unique supplier
- • Give suppliers visibility to your inventory
Easily manage orders to and shipments from your suppliers, eliminating delays and miscommunication. Through the real-time web portal, your suppliers receive instant notifications of new orders and can take action to download demand schedules—from one location or many, with or without EDI . The iSC web portal is completely configurable to the way you do business. Suppliers only have access to the information you want to provide them, secured with a unique company and user login. Automate supplier invoices and purchasing remittance, streamlining accounting by saving time and improving accuracy.
Quickly generate reports through the iSC dashboard; monitor open orders, track supplier shipments, view exceptions and more. Access complete historical records and documents to audit supplier performance. Generate reports with just a click; print or export to .CSV or spreadsheet. Gain full visibility to all open requirements independently, by location or spanning the entire supplier relationship, while linking outside databases, documentation and attachments.
Learn more about how Radley iSC can help to streamline and automate transaction, reporting and communication with your suppliers at www.radley.com/iscoverview.htm.