Mistake-Proofing and Automated Reporting at Lyons Blow Molding

In this case study, you’ll learn how Lyons Blow Molding reduced mistakes, increased the accuracy of data, and reduced non-value-added work.

 
Lyons Blow Molding SensrTrx Manufacturing Analytics
For many manufacturers, manual reporting is both tedious and mistake prone.

Lyons Blow Molding, a blow moldings plastic manufacturer and subsidiary of C.L. Smith Company, understood this problem first-hand, prompting the search for a manufacturing productivity solution that could not only automated reporting and mistake-proof their processes, but integrate with other solutions on the floor to provide a full picture into the plant.

Bryan Sapot, CEO of SensrTrx, sat down with Dave Aquilina, Director of Operations at Lyons Blow Molding, to talk about the benefits realized.

Dave specifically talks about mistake-proofing, automated reporting, and data accuracy. With SensrTrx, Lyons Blow Molding was able to reduce mistakes, increase the accuracy of data, reduce the number of problems downstream, produce to schedule, and reduce non-value-added work.

“What was the driving force behind looking for software like SensrTrx?”

“In previous jobs, I had the ability to monitor information and equipment, but at Lyons Blow Molding, our systems didn’t have that capability. I wanted to know process data since a lot of the equipment we run and how we produce parts is process oriented.

A lot of our production reporting was manual. Tagging, seeing how many products were made, filling out a data sheet at every shift, all these activities were driven by an individual having to do something at a specific time.

I saw with SensrTrx the ability to track and bring in process data. The ultimate goal is to have a system in place that allows me to minimize the manual work activities that are done by individuals and considered “non-value-added work.”

Just the time that is spent collecting data and repeated over and over is a lot. With SensrTrx, it’s allowed me to open up the production supervisor’s work to more value-added activities.

We wanted to see improvement activities and the ability to improve over time and that’s what SensrTrx gives us.

The other part of SensrTrx is that it gives us accuracy. With integrated labeling, it allows us to be more accurate in production reporting. There’s no misstating how many products were produced. We don’t rely on an individual who may miss a couple of points. Supervisors don’t have to run out and go to each line and get all of these numbers in place. It allows them to do their actual role.

It allows them to truly supervise people versus filling out numbers into an Excel spreadsheet. We actually have data provided and put into our system automatically which gives us the ability to look at and see that it’s accurate.

That leads to a lot of different improvements downstream for us. As you can imagine, accuracy provides good inventory numbers and leads to less customer satisfaction issues.”

 

About Lyons Blow Molding

As a manufacturer of plastic bottles and containers of various resins, Lyons Blow Molding offers the flexibility, quality, and variety needed to transform your packaging vision into reality.

Industry

Blow Molding

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“What has been the biggest benefit?”

“Accuracy has been a much-improved activity. We now have a system that tells us what products were made and we can have much more reliance on that. Performance is now auditable. There’s a history of any given day or shift that we can go back and audit to. Where before, there was no auditing because it was a number in time put on a spreadsheet.

We can now pull the history of any one line, shift, or product code.

Automated reporting is also a benefit. I can see real-time on the application on my phone. I don’t have to call someone at the plant to know what is happening.

Accuracy, auditable, and reporting… and having a system you can trust and rely on is beneficial.”

 

“Tell me about the integration with the labeling system. How does it work? How did it change things for folks out on the floor?”

“We were a very manual reporting type system before. Labeling was also manual.

We have a master label for every product we make. I have active SKUs for 300 different products across 18 different production lines. Those labels were brought to the floor for each production run. Once the product was packed, it was labeled. The workers on the floor take the label that was provided to them, write a date and time on it, circle the shift it was made, which unit was made, and stuck it onto a box.

At the end of every shift, a supervisor would go look at the labels and see how many were made. It was the entire basis for production counting. For right or wrong, those kinds of manually written processes could be very unreliable. There was lots of room for mistakes and errors.

So, I looked for an opportunity to do something different. I wanted to find a software package that could manage an automated label system, so I asked SensrTrx, “What can we do to interact with this labeling software?”

My incentive is to integrate as much as I can with SensrTrx. The ultimate goal is to have all of those [different software in the plant] integrated so they can talk with each other, so we have less reliance on manual systems to make it work.

Now, we push a button that the product has been created. SensrTrx recognizes we need a label, and through the magic of technology, we get files sent from SensrTrx to the labeling software, configured with the information stored in SensrTrx. Then, it’s printed and put on the box.

It gives us good traceability – the line it was made, the time printed, and unit number. We no longer have to worry about label mismanagement on the floor, incorrectly labeled products, or mixed load issues. Anyone in manufacturing knows how detrimental those can be to your supply chain.

This has improved accuracy and reduced mistakes.

We know labeling will be correct, counting will be correct, and the product will be correct.

I also like that it doesn’t require me to know what I did. I don’t have to find those exact files in the cabinet and make sure it matches the floor.

The scheduler integrates, too. A schedule is pushed into the SensrTrx system and the supervisor just has to push the button and it switches it to the right now. Now, we have the right counting, right label, and right metrics. It’s all tied to a job number, part number, and a line.

With one push, all of that activity is done. And before, it was multiple, multiple different activities by different people.”

 

“Tell me about the process data side. How are you using that information?”

“Part of our process includes temperature, pressures, and timers. We’re focused on the critical elements with those machines to understand whether the product is being made to the quality specifications.

Before, we had no system. Our machinery does not maintain that kind of information in any kind of continuous way. We had no way to backtrack and know the setting if there was a process issue. I couldn’t tell you what temperature of a certain component was yesterday if this wasn’t being measured or maintained in SensrTrx.

With this, I can eliminate or know if a process issue was the cause of a defective product. I can pull up that dashboard from whatever line it came off of at the time and see if there was anything improper.

What I really like is the ability to create alarms, too. If it goes out of a certain parameter, I can have an email sent.”

“What does SensrTrx provide to the company as a whole?”

“It’s really a production and process tool. It works with maintenance and scheduling, too. All activities plus reporting are in SensrTrx – downtime, planned changeovers, PM maintenance, unplanned activities, yield calculations, overall OEE, cycle times, all of it.

We send reports to corporate using SensrTrx.

There’s an application on the phone that is very beneficial. If I’m not here or it’s the weekend, it provides a good overview of what’s going on.

 

Really, we knew we had a lot of errors. SensrTrx confirmed this. For us, it was about how poorly we were reporting data. It just gives me confidence and confirms the problems we know we need to address. The auditable piece of it tells me I’m going after the right things.

For example, we run so many different products. You can only imagine if you’re supposed to produce 20 products, and you thought you did, but you only produced 18. At that point, it’s too late to make the other 2 because you’re on to something else by then. It leads to disappointment somewhere.

Those kinds of issues are more profound than a little extra downtime. We focus on utilization and efficiencies every day, but in the end, if I’m not making the right amount of products that I’m supposed to, it almost doesn’t matter how good I’m producing.

We use [SensrTrx] in a lot of ways. We’re continually evolving in how we use it. I would never have foreseen some of the areas we’ve gone into with SensrTrx. I wouldn’t have predicted labeling or box-counting. I like that we continue to evolve with the product.

As everyone in the facility becomes more of a user, that opens up more opportunities for what they’re going to do with the product.

I like that each person can get the pieces out that they need to see. The maintenance manager has parts he wants to see. My process manager has parts he wants to see. I look at things from a bigger picture. But, at the same time, it’s all the same data that gets compiled in a way that is more relevant to that particular person.”

“What advice would you have for new SensrTrx customers or someone looking at the product?”

“You need to understand what you’re trying to get out of the system. Every company must understand what they want. You have to prioritize what you want otherwise you won’t achieve it as soon as you would like.

Implementation of this does take effort so it’s vital to understand what you’re trying to gain.”

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