Versatech: A Data-Driven Manufacturer

Versatech was faced with a problem – the manual tracking system in place wasn’t providing the improvements needed on the floor. Enter SensrTrx. With automated, real-time data and visual dashboards, the team at Versatech was able to increase efficiency by finding problems, solving them quickly, and continuously improve processes. In the first 3 months, Versatech saw a 30% increase in OEE.

Versatech is a full-service engineering, manufacturing, and consulting company. The company offers a broad range of product offerings that fit into several service categories. This diverse service base provides clients with a single supply source – saving their customers time and money. Their mission is to provide services and products that are innovative, versatile, and reliable.

Versatech sought to strengthen their ability to impact and improve manufacturing quality, efficiency, and performance. The company knew that their paper tracking system and reliance on manual monitoring left room for improvement across the board. They hoped these improvements would allow them to make operations and processes easier, improve manufacturing performance, cut costs, and eliminate reliance on manual efforts.

And it did.

There were 5 ways in which Versatech improved using SensrTrx: 

  • Simple efficiency gains from accessible data
  • Allowed departments to easily focus on the right issues
  • Significant reduction in reliance on overtime work
  • Identifiable decrease in waste
  • 30% uplift in OEE on two separate production cells

30%

Increase in OEE

The Path to Increasing OEE by 30% in Less Than 3 Months

Versatech chose to partner with SensrTrx, manufacturing analytics and productivity application. SensrTrx specializes in helping manufacturers easily and affordably capture their most important data and turn it into actionable insights in simple, easy to use dashboards.

“We wanted to get off our paper system. We hoped that SensrTrx could help us collect data into a central database to improve the way we worked and that’s exactly what SensrTrx did.”

Chad Hill, CEO

Versatech CEO, Chad Hill, believed that by giving quality, engineering, maintenance, production, and other departments real-time data, they could enhance the efficiency of their operations. Specifically, they could improve the ability to reduce overtime, decrease downtime, and improve machine utilization. “We wanted to get the data into one location and have a single-tracking system that looked at data in real-time,” said Hill.

According to Hill, manufacturing analytics offered both contextual and real-time opportunities to access insights out of the central database, including the ability to start auto collecting data to display in automatically in dashboards across the organization.

Versatech believed that a successful implementation of manufacturing analytics would require every department to easily accessing the data. Often, this can be cumbersome and difficult with manufacturing technology. Implementations and cross-department adoption can take a long time, and failure rates are often above 50%.

Fortunately, one of the most significant benefits of SensrTrx is that it doesn’t require lengthy implementation or complex integration. Despite a few internal staffing changes, SensrTrx was successfully implemented across the organization and producing measurable results in less than 3 months.

Hill believes that any manufacturer could implement, adopt, and start achieving ROI in less than 3 months, just as Versatech did, using the application and the insights that manufacturers can pull out of it.

“The process was really very easy. There’s no reason why anyone couldn’t do it (implement SensrTrx) and start getting good results in 3 months”, Hill shared. The organization went live in January and it wasn’t long before the SensrTrx Manufacturing Analytics application was successfully being used by all necessary departments across the entire organization.

“SensrTrx is so much easier to use… it is almost dummy-proof.”

Matt Perry, Production Manager

About Versatech

Versatech is a full-service engineering, manufacturing, and consulting company. The team delivers a broad range of product offerings that fit into seven core areas of service. This diverse service base provides clients with 1-SOURCE to get the job done which saves time and money. 

Industry

Engineering, manufacturing, and consulting 

Website

Getting Off of Pen & Paper 

The existing Paper system was not supporting the departments properly and there was recognized room for improvement.

A major component of the excess overtime labor that they identified was related  — directly and indirectly — to a reliance on paper tracking and manual processes. Getting off tracking and paper, and a reliance on spreadsheets would allow them to reduce overtime labor costs and ultimately improve the accuracy of their data as well. Versatech leveraged SensrTrx to replace their paper system. Production Manager, Matt Perry spoke about the benefits of using SensrTrx to replace the manual reporting methods.

How Did You Begin to Get Off of Paper?

“We implemented SensrTrx because of the short implementation time, this was a big part of it. This allowed the company to automatically collect the data from machines that were being tracked on paper. It made these processes easier:

  • Looking at scrap detail
  • Evaluating downtime detail
  • Seeing what regular production looked like
  • Being able to look at this info multiple times a day to see when it was actually shifting”

What Benefits Were Gained by Reducing the Reliance on Paper Tracking?

“It made it much easier to track downtime details and find root causes of problems, as long as we were getting the right data into the system. This made it much easier for us to see where we needed to focus on repetitive issues and drives improvement activity.”

What was the Highlight of Using Automated Data Collection and Visualization?

“Easy of use and versatility — it’s just much better when you’re not relying on paper. It took less than a minute to change scrap codes, and on older systems, it can be a 2-hour ordeal. It made it so I could dig out whatever data I need. Gave us a much better ability to dive down deep into specific issues; both as they happen and historically. No more wading through old prints.”

What are the Future Plans for the Project?

“Inventory. We want to figure out a way to do a QC hold. We also want to try to get more granular in the data we gather so we can dig into things with more detail. We need deeper details or we can’t fix some of the more sophisticated problems that might exist.”

Do You Have Advice For Using SensrTrx?

“The devil is in the details. You can dive as deep as you want with SensrTrx, so take some time to look at everything.”

Widespread Adoption & Early Successes

Versatech leaders from across departments were quick to adopt the SensrTrx dashboards. Nichole Walters was a Continuous Improvement Engineer at Versatech during implementation and quickly saw the benefits that the new system was bringing her department.

“There was much less data entry following implementation. Tooling used to be pulled from production reports and values had to be summed. The new dashboards made this a big time-saver…. This helped us reduce errors and work more efficiently“, said Walters.

Versatech Manufacturing Engineer, Scott Strutner, saw far-reaching benefits for his department just as quickly. His department used SensrTrx to look at downtime in real-time so that they could fix issues as they happened; not down the line when the opportunity for savings and improvements were lost. “This really helped us focus on – and improve – uptime”, said Strutner.

Why The Continuous Improvement Department Touts New Data

Their continuous improvement department was a part of this initiative and was able to successfully leverage their new centralized data to get off of paper and streamline processes. Talking with Nichole Walters about the project gave insight into just how well SensrTrx worked to align the continuous improvement team.

“One of the biggest benefits for us was the amount of data entry that we eliminated”

Nichole Walters, Continuous Improvement Engineer

How Did Versatech Use the New Centralized Data?

“One of the big areas of improvement for Versatech was putting in time for contract manufacturing and looking at tooling and spend per piece. Looking at total production numbers and comparing against tooling to know what they are spending per piece. There was a lot of great optimization that could be done with this information.”

What Benefits Were Achieved Through Centralizing the Data and Getting Off of Paper?

“Much, much less data entry. For tooling as an example, we used to have to pull each production report and sum values. This was a big-time saver on data entry. We were able to achieve a major reduction in errors. No more entering 21 shifts worth of data.”

What was the Best Thing About SensrTrx?

“Overall, the highlight was being able to see the trends in data and being able to access this data at any time in easy-to-use dashboards. We used to look at trends by using Excel; looking at 12-month rolling averages. SensrTrx has made this significantly better/easier. In the future, we hope to use email subscriptions for shift end reports and gather even more sophisticated data from machines that could further help improve OEE.”

Looking at Data That Reduces Downtime

Versatech was able to use SensrTrx to look at downtime time and quickly solve issues as well as recognize negative trends. Versatech hoped that this new project would help them capture the data that was oftentimes missed in the past. We sat down with Strutner to take a deeper dive into the benefits he saw.

How Did You Use Data in the Project?

“We used SensrTrx to look at downtime and correlate instances of unscheduled downtime with specific events. We leveraged real-time data to look at machines as they were running on the manufacturing floor to ensure they were always running properly. In the beginning, we were heavily focused on uptime; ensuring the machines were up when they were supposed to be.”

What Were the Benefits of the Data-Driven Project?

“Being able to automatically collect and review all of the downtime and tie it to specific trends, events, and issues allowed Versatech to reduce unnecessary data-entry, overtime, and repetitive issues with machines. Automatically collecting the data with SensrTrx was what made the project easy to complete.”

What was the Highlight of the Project?

“Tracking machine uptime and downtime in real-time; essentially being able to monitor when something wasn’t performing right. Recognizing trends, issues, and repetitive processes that were causing issues with downtime. Looking at trends month over month to see what changed and how that affected production and machine performance.

Really, being able to see downtime in real-time and historically automatically without manual data entry.”

The Highlights of Using SensrTrx

Versatech credits the success of their SensrTrx implementation – both directly and indirectly – to several major improvements over the course of the case study. Using SensrTrx, Versatech could now see dashboards that illuminated trends in downtime.

This allowed the organization to see issues and solve them quickly; as well as recognize negative trends in scrap rates in real-time. This helped prevent several major “cost-killers”  resulting in significant savings for the business.

“The biggest benefit of SensrTrx to me was the ability to easily dig out whatever data I needed… I feel like this really helped us focus on specific problems, and helped our entire business work more efficiently”, said Matt Perry, a production manager, that used SensrTrx daily at Versatech. “It took less than a minute to change scrap codes (in SensrTrx), and on older systems, that was a 2-hour ordeal,” Perry continued.

All the leaders that leveraged SensrTrx in this study said that the simplicity and access to data covered any costs associated with technology almost instantly. This led to widespread improvements across the entire organization, including a reduction in the amount of overtime that was worked by multiple departments. This was one of the primary goals behind the SensrTrx project at Versatech.

“My advice to other manufacturers considering SensrTrx is to use it and integrate it into your daily, weekly, and monthly processes. It saved us a ton of time.”

Scott Strutner, Manufacturing Engineer

Next Steps with SensrTrx

Versatech department leaders were all in agreement that they were just scratching the surface of the types of insights and improvements they could begin making by leveraging all of the data that was easily accessible inside of SensrTrx.

Future projects include:

  • Tracking machines in Job Shop
  • Email subscriptions for shift end reports
  • Collect additional machine data
  • Inventory – Implementing a QC
  • And more!

These projects will continue the efforts Versatech set out to achieve when implementing SensrTrx. They are expected to further increase the savings that Versatech has experienced in reduced overtime work.

“A reduction in overtime was exactly what we were looking to do with this project, and that’s exactly what we have achieved,” Hill declared in his final statement regarding the implementation of SensrTrx.

The Versatech project is a great example of how manufacturing and machine data projects can provide fast ROI for manufacturers with a clear vision for how data-driven insights could impact their business’s performance. In cases like Versatech’s, where data is needed without added technology or capabilities, easy-to-use manufacturing analytics applications, like SensrTrx, can be a very affordable and accessible option.

Looking for More Resources?

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Blog: How to Calculate and Determine OEE

Overall Equipment Efficiency is the formula that forms the basis of manufacturing KPIs today. Learn how in this blog.

Webinar: Start Small, Think Big, Move Fast

A 30-min webinar on how to get started with manufacturing analytics by adopting a start small, move fast approach. 

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Case Study: Reduce Downtime by 73%

Find out how one manufacturer was able to eliminate weekend overtime and reduce overall downtime by 73%.

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Video: 4-minute Demo on Replacing Excel & Paper

See in this brief, 4-minute video how SensrTrx helps manufacturers get off of pen & paper and Excel.