Finding Success in Data-Driven Manufacturing through Optimization

Two CEOs Discuss Smart Manufacturing in 2020 Webinar Series

Smart Manufacturing Cluster, TeamNEO, Libra Industries and Vizion360

The Smart Manufacturing Cluster of Northeast Ohio of the Team NEO organization focuses on economic development and “accelerates the growth and competitiveness of the Northeast Ohio economy through industrial IoT implementation and innovation”.

“5 Steps to the Successful Realization of Smart Manufacturing” was a 5-part webinar series curated by the Cluster. This article is a deep dive into the 5th part of the series on Optimization. Learn more about the two main speakers by clicking the image below...

Joe Vocaire and Rod Howell Background and Expertise in Smart Manufacturing for Webinar

Optimizing Data-Driven Manufacturing

This presentation is focused on how to make business decisions based on data analytics that continuously improve productivity, profitability, and efficiency. You can watch the webinar in full below. 

Vizion360’s CEO, Joe Vocaire, and the CEO of Libra Industries, Rod Howell, discussed their partnership and success for this final webinar...“Step 5: Optimize – For Improvement”

The Big Picture: Step by Step

The 4 webinars that led up to step 5 are vital in understanding the big picture. You can take a deeper dive into this entire series by watching the first 4 webinars.

Every step builds upon the last to empower manufacturers of all sizes to be successful with Smart Manufacturing that is driven by data.

Optimizing Means Making Data-Driven Decisions

Optimization is all about proactively making decisions, based on data analytics, to improve operations. Vizion360 applies data analytics through business intelligence (BI) solutions.

BI is more than just reports or numbers on a spreadsheet. You will be able to continuously optimize productivity, profitability, and efficiency using the power of data.

Optimization for Improvement means making business decisions based on analytics to continuously improve.
 
We break this goal and process down into 4 parts: Analyzing the collected data, changing manufacturing processes based on analysis, benchmarking KPIs to monitor process results, and applying these insights throughout an organization.

Use Case Scenario

The Data Journey of an Electronics Contract Manufacturer

Libra Industries is a systems integrator and electronics contract manufacturer with 4 major manufacturing sites and 6 facilities. They work with clients from ideation to realization and are vertically integrated. 

man looking down in server roomThey were experiencing growing pains in their business and kept hitting a wall. Trying to grow beyond this wall was too difficult to do alone, as Rod his team were running out of bandwidth. Frustration was running high and Rod knew he had to do something different. 

Their pain points included…

  • Struggling with on-time delivery, performance, scheduling and profitability
  • Didn’t have visibility into their data or where jobs were in the process, would often run down to the floor to find out the status of a job
  • Job / Customer profitability was taking the hit and it was hard to know what was a good job and what was a bad job until it was too late
  • Weren’t getting all of the facts fast enough to make improvements or proactive decisions

Getting Control of the Data was Crucial 

Rod needed more information, he needed data that he could leverage. It had to be timely, accessible, and accurate – he needed to connect and control his organization’s data.  

Partnering with Vizion360 helped Libra create a data-driven culture that led to organizing processes and people along with identifying important metrics they needed to measure (KPIs).  

Libra Industries Journey & DDM Timeline with Vizion360's solution

*Click on the image above for a closer look at the timeline.

Vizion360 is a business intelligence and IT consulting firm that offers industry-specific data solutions made for manufacturers. With Vizion’s platform, Libra finally had immediate access to visualizations of their data that they could trust and act on to build on their success.

Business Intelligence is a Journey, and it is Worth Taking 

What an eye opening experience it's been - quote by Rod Howell on Vizion360 Business Intelligence SolutionsBusiness intelligence is a journey, and so is the road to successful Smart Manufacturing. You’ll notice that each of the 5 steps is present in the timeline above, ending on optimization in 2020 (the year the webinar took place). 

The journey to what Rod calls a “world-class data-driven facility” began in 2011 when the partnership began. Vizion used a phased implementation approach that funneled into a continuous improvement plan. This empowered Libra not only to optimize their operations but expand with multiple mergers/acquisitions.

Photo Courtesy of Microsoft - Vizion360 is a Power BI CSP Tier One Provider and Gold Microsoft Partner

The Journey Begins with True Partnership

Data solutions are not one size fits all. Aligning Libra’s pain points with Vizion’s expertise was the first step in the process. This period ended with laying out an IT strategy for implementation specifically designed for Libra’s operations. 

Connecting to the Data

The first pain point to address was getting visibility into the shop floor and connecting the data. This included setting up a shop floor system, knowing what machines were up and running and where jobs were at in real-time, and connecting to an ERP. 

Business Intelligence is centered around these layers, from transaction detai datal up to an interactive dashboard equipped with data visualizations

*Click the image above to enlarge.

A Successful Data Solution is Implemented in Phases

Connecting to your data in this revolutionary way opens a lot of doors. It is easy to want to tackle every problem or opportunity at once, but you will choke if you try to eat this elephant in one bite. 

We set up a roadmap for a phased approach, strategically choosing which areas to tackle first, ensuring we could continue to build off our wins. These phases included solutions that provided immediate insights on…

  • Sales, orders, and backlog
  • Inventory and purchasing management
  • Labor and machine efficiencies
  • Profitability by Job, Acquisition, and more

ROI can Lead the Way for Smaller Businesses

Many mid-market and small manufacturers think that integrating a business intelligence solution at an enterprise level is not achievable for them because the cost outweighs the return. They think it's only for the "big guys" and that simply isn't true.

Using a phased approached tailored to Libra allowed us get some early wins and use the return from our successful projects to fund the next step. 

In the long run, the investment paid off big time. Now, Libra has grown substantially and works with Vizion360 to continuously optimize their operations. 

Continuous Improvement and a Data-Driven Culture 

Data Flow Diagram to show what business intelligence can do for an organization

*Click the image above to enlarge.

Optimization mode really sets in once you enter the continuous improvement loop. As new technologies, connectivity, machining, facilities, and more are introduced – we continue to adjust and integrate them into our solutions, and our solutions into them. 

While the Libra team pushed back at first, they realized (once they saw the data for themselves) that they now had the data they needed at their fingertips. The visibility into the organization’s operations made the team’s job easier, allowed everyone to see the same data, get on the same page, and greatly improved morale. Quote by Joe Vocaire on Optimization of Data-Driven Manufacturing

It’s this adoption of data into the culture that makes a thriving continuous improvement loop possible, and what creates true optimization. 

What Does Optimization Look like?

You know when you have optimized a process, facility, or business – the impact is not only something you feel, but something that you see in the results. Optimization is about continuously cycling through the entire process from Preparation all the way through Optimization, and then back again. 
 
Optimization looks like…

  • A data-driven culture where data plays an active role in daily operations for every aspect of business performance
  • Good system processes, control, and communication 
  • Better cost management, productivity, and efficiency – seen in improved margins
  • Being able to ID opportunities, threats, or issues within the organization
  • Knowing the pulse of your business with complete visibility into your data
  • Measurable results for every initiative, so the continuous improvement loop continues to cycle

The Results

In addition to growing the organization through improved profitability, new acquisitions and other expansions, the following results have been realized...

Visibility into Data = Results, The ROI of Libra and Vizion360 Use Case

*Click the image above to enlarge.

Start Your Data Journey Today

Use the buttons below to learn more about the organizations involved in this webinar and use-case scenario.

About Libra     About Vizion360     About the Cluster

Optimize Your Manufacturing

If you would like to better understand your manufacturing organization through the power of data, fill out the form at the bottom of the page to get in touch with our team. We are here to help you along your data journey so you can optimize for improvement. 
 

Watch the Full Series to Learn More

   

   

   

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