Real-Time Visibility at Oral BioTech
In this case study, you’ll learn how Oral BioTech was able to increase OEE by 25%, nearly eliminate scrap, and create a culture of visibility and transparency.
See How Oral BioTech Achieved:
Increase in OEE
Reduction in Scrap
Before SensrTrx, Oral BioTech was relying heavily on a manual system where every hour, they’d update a whiteboard.
“It worked…. But it was pretty cumbersome and laborious. Every now and then, people would miscount or write the wrong number on the board,” John Bowers, VP of Operations at Oral BioTech said. “And, in order to see how production was operating, you’d have to walk out on the floor to see the whiteboards.” It became too much of a hassle for the company.
That’s when SensrTrx stepped in with a manufacturing analytics software that automatically collects and contextualizes data from the plant floor.
For Oral BioTech, using the SensrTrx software and Banner Engineering sensors has been great by providing real-time transparency into their process. This transparency is displayed, publicly, on many platforms – TVs in the offices and on the production floors, iPads for operator use, mobile phones to allow managers to receive updates and check progress, and automated emails for daily summaries. Everyone in the company has access to the data.
Using a Daily Production Meeting to Review Performance and Enact Changes
At the end of every day, the manufacturing team at Oral BioTech has a closeout meeting to review daily production metrics – primarily to look for things that can be improved. The production and management teams review key metrics and have a discussion about things that can be improved, or if there was really good production run, accolades are awarded to those who did exceptionally.
“It’s been really great, especially at end of day, for everyone to rally around one of the televisions,” he said. “We pull up the production reports to look at how the run went. It really helps the team dynamic and gets people motivated to make improvements when needed.”
While everyone participates in these meetings, there are certain individuals that go over different pieces of data, meaning everyone is responsible for “owning” their area of focus. For example, the production lead will go over the key production metrics – yield compared to theoretical yield, scrap rates, downtime reasons, and OEE, to keep everyone updated on the day’s progress.
“Which is nice because we use scheduling in SensrTrx that tells you, “You’re 90% through your theoretical yield for this particular job” which helps us quickly determine if we’re meeting the goal,” he said. “And, for some of the downtime reasons, we use broad categories, but during the meeting, we go into more specific detail into what actually happened and discuss ways to make improvements.”
If there’s a simple change to make, the team will implement that change during the next production run. But, if it’s something more complex and they’re seeing a trend, the team might set up a continuous improvement project and dig a little deeper. The manufacturing engineer will lead this more extensive project by first asking ‘The 5 Why’s’ and using lean tools to find the root cause, in combination with the continuous improvement event.
The ability to get real-time visibility into the production runs is what enables the team at Oral BioTech to review performance during the daily production meetings and enact changes when needed.
In terms of tracking those changes, Oral BioTech uses a huddle board on the production floor that tracks responsibility and due dates for scheduled changes. While this is only used for small changes, it helps keep people on track if a proposed change actually worked or not.
As far as reporting on a long-term basis, John tracks month over month data to see how the plant is improving over time.
SensrTrx has been a game-changer for the plant’s daily activities.
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Finding Small Inefficiencies and Correcting Them for Increased Availability
The most surprising benefit gained from using SensrTrx and Banner Engineering sensors was the ability to find inefficiencies and fix them. There were many small stops that weren’t being calculated on some of the production lines, resulting in low availability.
“Those kinds of things are hard to calculate manually, but when you have a sensor on your line, there’s no hiding from it, and they add up over time,” John explains. But, with SensrTrx, those can no longer be missed. The realization of just how many shortstops were occurring was something Oral Biotech did not anticipate finding.
“Now, that we’re aware of that and have the transparency into the process, our OEE availability has increased significantly, just by cutting out those little small stops where someone would make a tweak here and there. And the solution? We’ve invested a little bit more time into our setups to ensure we don’t have small stops,” he elaborates.
How Can You Track How Fast You’re Going Without a Speedometer? SensrTrx is the Speedometer.
“Before, we were running close to 60% OEE on one our lines, and now, we’re up close to 80% OEE,” and John elaborated, “which has been significant.”
Not only that, but the scrap rates have decreased significantly as well. Prior to SensrTrx, scrap rates and rework were between 2 -3% on average. Now, the manufacturer is down to 1 or 2 units total, down to the decimals of the previous scrap rate.
The benefits of SensrTrx really comes down to having visibility to see what’s happening and fix problems as they arise. John likes to use the analogy of driving down the road. “You can look at your speedometer to see your speed, but if you don’t have a speedometer, you have no idea how fast you’re going. So, it’s really nice to see that performance metric,” he said.
You Can’t Manage (or Fix) What You’re Not Measuring
What was really unexpected, John explains, is how much the team benefited just from being able to see into the processes.
“It’s kind of that old adage, “You can’t really manage what you’re not measuring.” [With SensrTrx and Banner sensors] it’s amplified when you’re measuring in real-time. People are able to make improvements, based on the data, right then and there,” he further explains.
When the company was recording data manually, no one remembered what happened. But, with real-time data, they can get in front of the problems. That’s what’s invaluable about the system – the ability to get a real-time benefit and real-time performance benefit.
“We saw that all of the sudden, people were noticing that OEE was 50%, and naturally, they started working on improving it,” he said. “It takes a lot of the management out of it when people kind of self-manage.”
The reason for choosing SensrTrx was because Oral BioTech saw a need for something that could be displayed across all of their sites, projecting production metrics across the company whether that is in the back-office, on the production floor, or in distribution. The system also needed to be accessible via a mobile phone, cloud-based, and provide the ability to see all of the data in real-time.
Previously Oral BioTech was using a competitor’s platform, but realized it was limited in its capabilities because it was behind a firewall, couldn’t access the data on a phone, and really hard to set up and segment the data. All of which SensrTrx was able to solve.
An added bonus was the ability for SensrTrx to integrate with Oral BioTech’s ERP platform, NetSuite.
Plus, the benefit of using Banner Engineering wireless sensors in conjunction with SensrTrx basically sealed the deal and was a huge factor in making the decision to switch.
“Having everything wireless, compared to our previous software which had wires everywhere that had to be plugged in, is huge,” he said, “Truly, wireless sensors is a huge benefit.” John explained that the Banner sensors were super easy to install and maybe took 5 minutes. Once they were plugged in, they had power, and within minutes were able to get up and running.
The sensors combined with SensrTrx’s software proved to be the solution that was very much needed for John and the team at Oral BioTech.
Future Plans to Create a Smart Facility
Oral BioTech loves the benefits they’ve received from using a manufacturing productivity and analytics software like SensrTrx, with no plans to change course.
“To tell you the truth, I have a lot of plans for SensrTrx. I’d like to really create a smart facility – more sensors on our equipment.” John said of future plans.
“I’d just like to track and trend everything. Have everything collected in a dashboard and be able to access all of that data. That’s my plan,” he said with a smile.
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