logo classic packaging

Production System

What Problems Does
The Production System Solve?

A myriad of data must be tracked in regards to the production processes at Classic Packaging. For example, the specific roll numbers and amounts consumed must be tracked to allow for traceability of issues. Further, the setup and run time on each machine, as well as the amount of scrap produced during a job, must be tracked to fully calculate the cost of that job as well as the efficiency of each machine operator. These are just a few examples of key reporting functionality that requires comprehensive information about production. Without this, knowledge regarding profitability, traceability, and work staff, performance is unacceptably limited.

Now came high-level questions that needed to be answered, such as:

  • Why did a job take longer than usual?
  • Has our amount of scrapped material gone up or down, and why?
  • How can we decrease set up time for a particular job?
  • If we encounter an issue with a material that affects the quality of jobs completed or in progress, how can we quickly identify the jobs that used that material?

The first step in providing accurate answers to questions such as these was to collect and organize the data in a usable way. Therefore, an automated production system was needed to pave the way for a subsequent reporting system that would help the team understand when, how, and why issues arise. It was also crucial in providing pertinent information to aid in top-level decision making and improve overall efficiency and quality control.

Product Summary

The Production System allows supervisors and operators to record and view the inputs, outputs, and details of each production step to easily manage vast amounts of data.

video coming soon screenshot

Project Goals

To allow allocations from three possible sources:

  • Machine
  • Start and stop time for setup and run
  • Operators involved
  • All raw material and work in progress that is consumed, scrapped, or returned to stock
  • Work in progress and finished goods produced
  • Raw material, work in progress, and finished goods that are rejected
  • Problems encountered
classic packaging system screenshot

What Prompted the Start of the Production System?

Classic Packaging had previously implemented a rudimentary Production System, but the data produced by this system was unusable. Since the existing data structure could not meet the needs of the company, a new solution was needed. We build a full-featured Production System so that the production data could be recorded in a way that could be used to enable reporting functionality (see Reporting System below), as well as to add checks for potential problems at each step of the production process to improve quality assurance and decrease waste.

System Build

At each stage of a job step, multiple logic checks are performed to detect any potential problems. (In fact, we recently received a request for one more logic check upon job step completion: to list any rolls that were allocated to the step but not consumed during it, and require the supervisor to explain why such rolls were not consumed.)

One of the greatest challenges in building the Production System was to create the logic for the many rules of expected operator behavior but to allow the flexibility for the supervisor to break almost all of them.

In addition, as the rules for lamination, printing press, and bagging steps substantially differed, another challenge was to keep the codebase streamlined. Further, it was impossible for Classic Packaging to anticipate all the potential production scenarios that could occur, as production was not previously being tracked in such a way. Thus, not all system specifications were outlined in detail from the project outset. This presented another challenge to keeping the codebase clean, which meant that the developers did a fair amount of refactoring periodically.

There were further complexities in interacting with the legacy database. For example, bagging material (e.g., wickets, zippers, carton liners, hangers, etc.) is stored in one database table, but their specifications are recorded in another table and are at times ambiguous and determined upon consumption. Some wicket types are not in the legacy database at all. Thus, rules for the calculation of carton quantities were quite complex and highlighted the necessity of a custom Production System.

System Feature

classic packaging system screenshot
  • Logic Checks on the Production Floor: The operator scans their badge at a machine to initiate the setup for a job step. Many logic checks are performed upon setup to determine if a step is ready to be performed. For example, this logic check requires supervisor override, as the allocated material purchase order has not yet been received:
classic packaging system screenshot
      • Streamlined Job Setup and Completion Indicators: The operator can then indicate when setup is complete and they are ready to run the job step. When the job step is complete, they can indicate this by clicking the Complete button. During each of these phases, differing actions are available, so as to model an acceptable production flow.
      • Ensure that the Correct Materials are Supplied and Logged: During the run of a job step, the operator can consume rolls that were allocated by scanning their barcode. They can also consume unallocated material with a supervisor override.
classic packaging system screenshot
      • Record Step Completion Details: When rolls are produced, the operator can scan them into the Production System and enter their weight or footage as reported by the machine. Operators can also denote the pallet number the produced rolls were placed upon.
      • Material Rejection: If an operator encounters an issue with a material, he or she can reject consumed or produced rolls.
classic packaging system screenshot
classic packaging system screenshot
      • Data Organized for Reporting Needs: The rich data that is recorded in the Production System paves the way for a wide variety of essential reporting functionality (see Reporting System, below)ing a job step run, the operator can also record issues they encounter. They may choose from a set of different types of issues that apply to that type of job step, as well as provide notes to describe the issue in more detail.
      • Pallet Management: On the Pallet Management page, rolls can be moved from one pallet to another, removed from a pallet, or added to a pallet. Pallet changes are only saved when the worker saves all their changes:

Continue reading the Classic Packaging case study with the Scheduling System page »