New Process Helps Putzmeister America, Inc. Further Its Quality Initiatives
New Process Helps Putzmeister America, Inc. Further Its Quality InitiativesPartnership with IKON Office Solutions, Inc. enhances production flow, ensures optimum equipment quality and promotes customer support responsiveness
STURTEVANT, WI (May 1, 2007) – Known and respected worldwide for manufacturing excellence, Putzmeister America, Inc. is taking another step on its factory floor to provide customers with even greater performance, quality and customer satisfaction. The company will soon go live with a new electronic documentation automation process to further streamline its production flow. Development and implementation of the new process has been a joint effort between Putzmeister and IKON Office Solutions.
“The new process is built off of a software platform that automatically generates an electronic ‘check list’ for each section of a machine that needs to be built,” according to Mike Castrova, IS Manager with Putzmeister America. “Unlike the old system, the new process does not rely on an extensive paper trail as each machine moves down the production line and passes through quality inspections. As an additional benefit, user manuals can simply be printed from all of the electronic information and the data easily archived for use by customer support in the future.”
“We’ve helped Putzmeister develop a process that will allow the manufacturing personnel to focus more on building the highest quality of equipment rather than the process behind it,” says Greg Longrie, Major Account Executive for IKON. “The new process allows each work center to know exactly what needs to be done next on a piece of equipment and what already has been done.”
“From the software platform, HTML screens are delivered out to the plant floor via two different channels,” notes Castrova. “The first channel is a handheld personal digital assistant (PDA) unit which enables manufacturing personnel to check off processes and inspections as a machine goes through production. This ready access streamlines production’s ability to build to the correct specifications while quality control is maintained at every stage of the manufacturing process.”
The PDA works with each machine’s serial-number-identified electronic documents, which allows the machine to be easily tracked throughout the entire manufacturing process. Manufacturing and inspection personnel will use the PDA to verify that each work center’s tasks have been completed. The system is then updated automatically to become a permanent record in that machine’s history file.
The PDA also allows a department to keep the manufacturing process moving by flagging uncompleted items for later attention. In addition, e-mail notifications are sent to other company departments informing them on the status of production, documentation and parts changes to machines.
The second method for delivery of the HTML screens to the plant floor is via stationary kiosks. “The kiosks have the capability for personnel to call up current machine engineering drawings from our SAP manufacturing process control computer system,” says Castrova. “This makes finding information on a machine very quick and effortless. It also ensures that our customers are getting the latest parts and technologies incorporated into their machines, even after production has started.”
The kiosks are a vital part of how this new process increases production flow, as they use only the most current drawings. “This speeds up production and avoids lost time or confusion by manufacturing personnel regarding which drawings should be used as the machine is built,” comments Castrova.
The kiosks also have a supervisory portal that verifies the status of all other work centers on a machine. The portal allows managers to see which questions or tasks have yet to be addressed, while also being able to review, close and approve a job.
“The solution Putzmeister and IKON have developed not only increases Putzmeister’s production flow, but has also made it very easy for Putzmeister to print equipment manuals while maintaining all of the electronic data for its customer support department,” comments Longrie. “This allows customer support to respond quickly to parts and service requests.”
“Once a job is approved, the new process initiates an automatic build of a machine’s manuals by pulling information from our SAP system including spare parts, operations guide, drawings and any other documents the manuals require,” comments Castrova. “When all of the documents are collected by the system, complete manuals are printed in a fraction of the time.”
“Two different manuals are shipped with each machine,” says John Oldenburg, Documentation Manager for Putzmeister America. “Every machine has an Operating Instructions Manual and a Parts Manual. The new documentation automation system assures us that manuals will always be completed in a timely manner so our customers always receive their manuals with their machine.”
“In addition to the obvious benefits in terms of product quality for the customer and efficiencies in our manufacturing process, we have also gained valuable space at the factory, as there is no need to maintain hard-copy files,” notes Castrova. “With the transfer of our old files to an archive server, we can now electronically retrieve the data on all Putzmeister America machines.”
The new system is undergoing implementation throughout the 2nd Quarter of 2007.