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Case study: successful manufacturing software implementation in cnc business

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Successful manufacturing software implementation in CNC – difficult start

Please read the story of one of our first clients from the CNC industry.

The owner of a small CNC manufacturing company got in touch seeking advice on production planning. We had a chance to meet in the past while consulting some production quality solutions regarding ISO 90001. After a brief conversation, it turned out that he had purchased some manufacturing software over a year ago (investing a few thousand euros). Still, the system was complicated and, because of this, not functional. The company itself was rather small: the owner, who was also responsible for preparing offers and management, a foreman (who was helping with technical drawings), with the total number of employees as low as 18 people.

The system they initially bought didn’t work as intended: adding each new element took ages, and in the end, it was faster to do things manually to register the production process than using this complex manufacturing software. What’s more, the system wasn’t user friendly, so the whole investment worth a few thousand euros was put in the drawer awaiting better days because nobody was using it. The company faced problems typical for the industry.

First of all, the boss complained about the constantly increasing cost of remunerations and investments in raw material, which meant less cash flow flexibility. The turnover was getting bigger,  it seemed that the company should be making more and more money, but it was quite the contrary in reality. Every month the remaining balance on the account was lower than expected, although the clients paid all invoices on time. It wasn’t clear what happened with the money, where the leak was. The greatest motivation was to establish what was going on with the profit and where the problem was.

The second reason the company owner searched for new solutions was regularly increasing labor costs of hiring qualified CNC operators. Many workers came to the manager to negotiate a pay rise. Still, he found it difficult to assess their skills and compare their work to have logical arguments to motivate his financial decisions.

The third element tipping the scales was doubled the number of orders from two strategic clients. The first one, a Polish company with its headquarter in Australia, inspired more detailed calculations and tracking. There was an issue of correct pricing (currency difference):  theoretically, the company should make a great profit, but it doesn’t; it might be necessary to study how much should cost each element of the production process. This was particularly important because when the same calculation was carried out by the company owner (he was checking with the stopwatch timer how much time was needed for each operation), the results were satisfying. Unfortunately, somewhere in the due process, the time-stretched.

The decision to implement Prodio was made quickly, and the tests started straight away.

The same day, a computer was installed at the production hall, and it was the beginning of data collection.

Simultaneously, the check-in/ check out system was introduced to monitor better working time and enable future productivity analysis to see who works effectively. 

Two weeks into implementing Prodio, the foreman and 6 other employees came up to the company owner threatening him to quit their jobs if he decided to introduce changes and the new system. He has given an ultimatum: either them or Prodio. 

He stood his ground, and as a result, at the end of the week, all those people handed in their resignations. The situation was tense, the boss had many doubts about whether he made a good decision, but instinctively, he felt the right direction to follow, even though the key workers quitted, including his right-hand man. There was no turning back, so the owner started to plan production with Prodio, having only half of his staff available, because finally, about 7-8 people left the company. The results were surprising: the company managed to deliver everything on time with a limited staff number. It was a great success.

The owner was puzzled: how come we produced the same amount with half of the usual team? How was this possible? He started to analyze the first data from Prodio and the recordings from the monitoring system outside the company (unfortunately, there weren’t any cameras inside the production hall). While checking them, he came to a simple conclusion: there had been a swindle going on for quite a long time. Together with afternoon and night shift workers, “opened” their own company inside his company, committing extra orders, taking side jobs, and stealing the customers from his company. Obviously, they used machines and materials all during their working hours. When Prodio was implemented, they were forced to quit because it was no longer possible to hide their unfair practice. To this day, the company hires less than 10 people, having the same number of machines as previously, and the staff loves Prodio.

The story behind this successful manufacturing software implementation in CNC proves that it is effortless to separate honest people from cheats. When somebody complaints and protests against implementation, it is quite possible that they have a lot to hide. It is a common observation that those who protest the loudest, saying that a new system isn’t functional, that all they do is “click” at different columns, are those who don’t work as efficiently as they could. When it comes to analyzing and calculation, their results are usually poor and the proportion of productive time spent on tasks to “free time” is the worst. It happens quite often that a key employee spent 6 out of 10 hours doing nothing, hanging around the production hall, constantly asking for help, searching for tools, papers, etc. 

Thanks to successful manufacturing software implementation in CNC, it is possible to pinpoint loafers and slobs and eliminate them to make the company more profitable and move forward.

If you want to read more about using Prodio in  CNC/machining industry, click HERE.

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