One of the UK’s largest independent stamping and presswork specialists offers a case study of what’s possible thanks to advances in data monitoring.
Data has always played an extremely important role for manufacturers. What has changed, however, is how quickly that data can be gathered, collated and presented.
That speed, coupled with live monitoring, enables the reaction time of engineers to increase and smarter decisions to ultimately be made by supervisors or managers.
However, the constant demand for greater efficiency, operation optimisation and increased uptime makes it crucial that manufacturers become ever more proactive towards their data and connectivity.
Brandauer is a precision stamper and toolmaker, with an annual turnover of around £8m – almost 80% of which comes from exports.
The Birmingham-based business is a founding member of the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN) cluster group, one of the UK’s leading manufacturing collectives.
Comprised of eight sub-contract specialists and an engineering design agency, each member is a small or medium-sized company and, for the most part, are all based in and around the Midlands.
The Manufacturer recently sat down with Brandauer’s CEO, Rowan Crozier, to learn how data monitoring had made a positive contribution to the business.
Crozier explained: “Three years ago we invested in a new IT system, but rather than make that the starting point, we went right back to basics.
“We mapped out our entire business process, answering questions such as: what the business looked like at that point, what we wanted it to look like, what our customers were asking for, where is the market demand heading, and so forth. Then we dropped in the new system on top of that, matched to our specific requirements.
“Now, key team members can remotely view our entire operation and see which of our 45 presses are running, which aren’t, what the output of each is at any point, in real time. That’s exactly what the business needed.”
He continued: “Additionally, we can forensically analyse every run and determine whether it’s profitable or not. If not, we can question why, where the variance is, e.g. is it running too slow or with too much scrap? we can interrogate all the data to determine exactly what’s gone wrong and how we can continuously improve…”
That level of granular detail has enabled Brandauer to drill down into the profitability of everything it does, uncovering where the business was generating revenue and where opportunities were being missed.
Crozier noted: “Brandauer had been great at collecting data, had been doing it for years. In fact, when I arrived, I couldn’t believe how much data the business had, it’s just that a lot of the data had not been reviewed and questioned.”
“Now, we still collect it, but only focus on the data that will deliver positive impact to us and our customers and suppliers – data capture that we can change at any time depending on the needs of the supply chain.
“That flexibility has proven to be key for us. It was a very painful project to go through, but Brandauer is so much better off for having done it.”
That’s not the end of the story, Crozier added. Brandauer will continue to invest in digital technology and data analytics to further strengthen its operation and competitiveness.
He concluded: “I challenge anybody to get a project of this scale right first time. It’s a matter of reflecting on what you’ve done, what went well, what went badly and what do we need to invest in next. It’s a constant cycle.”
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