Are you restricted by the limitations of your ERP system? Do you have production, inventory, quality or data-tracking issues that are keeping you from performing at your highest potential?
One of our customers, REPCO® located in Salina Kansas, recently improved their processes and saved approximately 800 hours per year while improving accuracy of inventory and increased responsiveness to their customer’s requests.
REPCO® excels in the business of providing milling and baking industries with ideas, services, and products, and the company is constantly looking for ways to improve. They supply the industry with standard-setting flour oxidation, maturing services, mineral pre-mixes, micro-ingredient dispensing systems, and on-site field servicing. Additionally, they specialize in designing dough conditioners and improvers using the latest enzyme and emulsifier technologies. They also specialize in nutritional premix solutions for your beverage and functional food vitamin and mineral needs, and offer complete analytical laboratory services that include:
- ISO certified 17025 for flour samples (various constituents)
- full vitamin assays of cereal grain products
- expedited sample testing
- latest equipment to ensure accurate results
- chlorine dispensing system for the introduction of chlorine gas into flour
- engineering design services
We were invited to offer our MES services to help REPCO® streamline some processes in their facility.
The main areas they wanted to focus on were:
- feeder inventory
- hand written documentation of batch recipes
- inventory levels
- data tracking
REPCO® was using an industry-standard batching and material tracking software. Within the batching system, pre-programmed recipes were stored and the material tracking software, using the recipe information, assigned the appropriate material to the feeders. Many of the recipes were pre-programmed and were easy to run. However, recipes were not easy to build on-the-fly, so new or different recipes were typically manually controlled.
Another challenge with the existing batching system was a requirement by the system to assign values to all of the fifteen feeders, even when they were not used in that recipe.
Additionally, some recipes required hand-adds of ingredients or multiple ingredients in one feeder and their existing system was not capable of handling this process.
As a result, the accumulation of these challenges led to the following:
- constant inventory reconciliation
- excessive manual documentation and data re-entry
- time-consuming data retrieval
(If you don’t understand the batching process, the best way to think of it is to picture your kitchen counter lined up with fifteen canisters containing a different ingredient. You decide to make cookies, and your recipe tells the canisters how much of each of the ingredients to put into the mixer.)
Kasa’s Konnection team (engineers who understand PLCs, ERP and MES to create software and interfaces to streamline manufacturing processes) was able to develop a new batching system interface that allows the plant operators to:
- monitor and view the whole plant floor with one screen instead of six
- see exact amounts of each ingredient feeder at any time
- correct any errors in inventory immediately upon recognition
- track inventory levels minute by minute
- have complete flexibility to run batches out of one feeder
- reduce the number of steps (clicks) between screens to get to data
- any feeder can dose any ingredient
REPCO® processes were streamlined and they were able to:
- eliminate hand-written documentation
- add new formulas without any re-programming
- receive work order data, which also includes the recipes, from the ERP system
- send data from batching and MES system to ERP system to more closely manage inventory
Today, the Supervisor enters jobs into the system and Production is able to see it in real time. They know as soon as it’s keyed in to the system what recipes to run, what material is needed, how much is available, the amount that is needed and the batch size. Production now has a much earlier visual of what is needed BEFORE starting a batch process.
A batch delivery dashboard now gives them more visibility into what is going on. Previously, it took a lot of clicks and drilling down into the system to get that information and detail. Now, REPCO® is assured they are feeding the right amounts of ingredients.
Konnection software tracks and ensures every ingredient is accounted for before allowing a “good” entry in status column of ingredients, and they no longer have to jump back and forth between screens of two systems.
REPCO® General Manager, Justin Hartman states, “I couldn’t ask for a better team to work with than the one at Konnection. They met the agreed-upon deadlines, followed up quickly on questions and most importantly delivered a finished product that has saved a tremendous amount of time across our organization by automating a number of our processes.”
Ultimately, Konnection was able to save REPCO® approximately sixteen hours a week of manual tracking and documentation, while improving the accuracy of their inventory.
Sometimes we provide complete automation and integration (Kasa Controls & Automation), and other times we redevelop and enhance your existing automation with MES, ERP integration (accept data from ERP system and provide data to ERP system), historical process reports, predictive analysis, etc. Kasa Controls & Automation has been providing expertise to a variety of industries for the past forty years. Recently, we have added a focused team of software and database engineers (Konnection) who provide expertise in combining automation and information which result in improving processes and a manufacturer’s bottom line.