Olicana offers a high quality tube bending design, development and manufacturing service for mid- to high-volume mild steel tubing to a variety of industries, worldwide. It has a powder coating facility onsite, enabling it to offer a finished job. Its engineers are experienced in taking concepts and optimising products for manufacture – meeting both its customers’ design requirements and cost objectives.
Rupert Pearson, Managing Director of volume tube bending manufacturer Olicana, had a clear set of objectives in mind when he set out to improve the efficiency of his industrial manufacturing firm to support a surge in business growth. “We started out with the intention of improving the way that we recorded data so that we could more accurately track our manufacturing labour efficiency and productivity KPIs. It very quickly became clear that MESTEC’s system would also address our product quality issues and enhance our ability to manage our inventory,” stated Rupert.
As well as improving data accuracy, Olicana wanted to reduce the time overhead associated with collecting the data. Manually recording job times on paper took a lot of time and effort, and there was little confidence in its accuracy. Furthermore, by the time that the information was collated and made available, it was often too late to address the issues it highlighted. Rupert knew that having timely access to this information was critical if the business was to improve its manufacturing operations by focusing on its KPIs: labour utilisation, efficiency and re-work hours.
Streamlining Manufacturing Operations
Olicana embarked on an operational improvement process to identify opportunities to boost efficiency, which involved implementing MESTEC’s manufacturing software and gaining ISO 9001 certification to improve its quality management systems. Due to its status as an approved Growth Accelerator vendor, MESTEC was able to assist Olicana in securing matched grant funding to help key staff improve their skills and capabilities in advanced manufacturing techniques and transforming performance.
Olicana decided to implement MESTEC as a hosted solution. This approach meant that the business didn’t have to worry about buying and maintaining servers to run the software, and that deploying the system would be even more straightforward than usual. A MESTEC consultant was on site for just a single two-day visit, configuring the remainder of the installation remotely. MESTEC implemented its manufacturing system alongside Olicana’s existing ERP system.
Olicana is using MESTEC to communicate schedule priorities to the shop floor electronically, and using it to set ‘quality alerts’, giving operators warnings about steps in the process that are particularly vulnerable to quality issues. This simple feature instantly and dramatically reduced the number of jobs that it had to rework and has cut scrappage costs.
Implementing MESTEC’s manufacturing software gave Olicana the ability to easily measure operator performance with the use of its touch screen terminals. “We’ve significantly reduced the time it takes to collect and collate actual hours data,” states Rupert. “Data is available in real time and shared with management and our factory floor. As a result of that, we’ve seen an instant improvement in productivity. Just by communicating individual and group productivity data with operators, we’ve seen people who were operating at 50% efficiency get up to 70-80%, and we know that we can increase that figure further. We also have visibility of work in progress, traceability of who completed what and when, and that the correct instructions have been followed.”
MESTEC has also helped Olicana to improve the way it manages its inventory, reducing the cash tied up in holding excess stock by 20%. It replaced a legacy system with its inventory module. The inventory module gives factories a clear visibility of inventory and basic material requirements planning, so that they can avoid shortages and yet not hold more stock than is necessary. It allows operators to record and analyse material transactions including receipts, stock adjustments, splits, return to vendor and moves.
Optimum Manufacturing Control
Adopting MESTEC’s manufacturing software has enabled Olicana to streamline its manufacturing operations, becoming leaner, more productive and efficient. “We are on track to reduce our manufacturing costs by 30%,” claims Rupert. “MESTEC has given our team optimum control of the manufacturing process with operators logging on and off at every manufacturing step.
It is very well thought through software that adapts easily to specific needs for a manufacturing business. MESTEC’s highly proficient technical team is able to meet even the most demanding of requests. The technical team fully understands our business and our objectives and strives to include improvement suggestions in a short space of time. They could not be more helpful.”
“In terms of ROI, given the productivity and efficiency gains together with the reduction of material inventory, we estimate that the investment returns £10 for every £1 we spend on our monthly MESTEC subscription.”