Agri-Cover, Inc. manufactures and sells accessories for pickup and agricultural equipment. Agri-Cover sells their auto products primarily to dealers. They typically have at least several days’ worth of orders in the manufacturing queue that they process on a FIFO basis—and typically ship out within a week. However, they also sell direct to customers. These direct orders need to ship same-day.

Sequencing of orders is very important, as there are 4 manufacturing work cells that produce sub-assemblies for each order. These 4 sub assemblies need to complete orders in the same sequence so that the completed sub-assemblies can move down the main conveyer belt to the final assembly area at the same time.

Processing new same-day orders is challenging, because the order must be sequenced properly in each work cell: some work cells may be farther ahead or farther behind than the other work cells.

Agri-Cover wanted to move to a paperless dispatch shop floor control system for communicating order information on the shop floor. Agri-Cover also makes use of computer-controlled equipment, particularly saws. They wanted to have a more accurate and more efficient way of sending cut instructions to the saws.

Additionally, Agri-Cover wanted better real-time feedback on manufacturing status and progress--including both large displays on the shop floor and web-based dashboards for managers.

Solution Highlights
  1. OpsStream was set up running in a customer-hosted environment. OpsStream picks up manufacturing orders from GP, and waits until these orders have been released in GP.
  2. The released manufacturing orders then move through an OpsStream process that routes them to the correct manufacturing line, and ultimately the correct work cells.
  3. Sequencing is carefully maintained, such that if same-day orders are released, these are inserted at the highest possible position in the queue. The highest possible position depends on the type of orders ahead of the new order, and on the specific status of each work cell. For example, if work cell #2 is working 5 orders ahead of the other work cells, the highest possible position would be position 6.
  4. FIFO sequencing is maintained for each type of order.
  5. OpsStream screens are used directly at each work cell, and allow a simple touch-screen interface to display the orders to be worked on, with a button to indicate that work on an order has been completed and another button to retrieve more information about the order.
  6. At some work cells OpsStream directly generates bar code labels in an integrated fashion (without the use of external systems).
  7. OpsStream directly transmits cut instruction data to the computer controlled saws, and manages sequencing in the same way as other work cells. The saw automatically notifies OpsStream that work on orders have been complete as the cuts are made. No human intervention is needed in getting data do or from the saws.
  8. Dashboard screens show the number of manufacturing orders in each work cell in real-time. Other dashboard screens show critical statistical information, such as production capacity utilization for the upcoming days.
  9. A flag can be set on selected items indicating that additional quality control steps are required. The OpsStream process automatically walks the users through the additional steps as needed, and collects the required data.
  10. OpsStream also picks up sales orders from GP, and manages a shipping process. OpsStream accurately communicates to shipping users the queue of orders that need to ship today, and clearly identifies when all orders have been shipped for the day.
  11. OpsStream provides a number of reports. Additionally, Agricover staff designs SSRS reports against the OpsStream data.
  12. OpsStream is also used to manage customer service inquiries / replacement part orders.
  13. OpsStream is also used to coordinate Manufacturing Change Notices and all the related communications.

Additional future uses discussed include: coordination of Engineering Change Notices, powering a customer portal, various HR process and documentation needs, integration with various additional machines including a “pick to light” picking system, attaching quality control photos / videos to manufacturing orders, and more.