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FLEXO Magazine : February 2011
Technologies & Techniques Converting’s Cloud You Can Manage Your Print / Packaging Production line via Wireless Devices & Apps By Tim Daisy higher interest rates for “online” savings accounts as long as all transactions occur electronically and without a teller. The same expectations consumers have for accessing information and performing transactions remotely also drive the same individuals to run their business lives in a similar fashion. For example, staying on top of accounts receivable and payable information, changing the priority of a job in the production schedule, monitoring the performance of a piece of equipment on the shop floor in real time, are activities available in leading edge management information systems (MIS.) The management information system, or enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, is the lifeblood of most con- verters. MIS supports estimation, job planning, die manage- ment, inventory, shop floor data collection, and accounting among a myriad other modules and functionality. Just about all employees access or input data into the MIS at least once a day and the ability to allow this interaction through wired and unwired devices is increasingly important for quick cycle times and low costs. ROI Of mobileMIS The ROI of an MIS is through the automation or semi-au- tomation of most business processes, resulting in increased employee productivity and decreased cycle times of adminis- trative and manufacturing processes. Moving data consump- tion and software interaction outside of the four walls of a converting plant magnifies these savings. Even moving transactions away from a stationary computer increases these savings. One of the most straight forward ways to capitalize on mobileMIS is to al- low access to business measurements anytime or anywhere. Business man- agement has evolved to the point where the winners have access to, and act on, key performance indicators (KPIs) 24 hours a day. The losers, well, they go out of business. For a direct sales operation, KPIs include total sales by salesperson by period, projected sales per person per period, the conversion rate of estimates to orders, and order profitability by salesperson. All businesses can stand to monitor customers by contributed revenue, out- standing debtors, and on-time shipping performance, to name a few. The key to mobileMIS is to access KPIs, anywhere and through any device; from any internet browser, from any smart phone, from the home, from the airport, and from the golf course. PROduCtIOn PROduCtIvIty A more advanced application of mobileMIS requires a data connection to production equipment and workflows. Any production manager will tell you that he or she always knows what jobs are running where, what equipment is down, what equipment is running behind schedule, and which employees are in the plant or out. And they will also tell you that, when they are in a meeting or away from the plant, they feel discon- nected from production. The technology to electronically query production equipment has been in the marketplace for well over 30 years and with the advent of networks and the internet, this data now has a fast track to anywhere and any device in the world. mobileMIS in the production world can provide a real-time view into job and equipment status. This view is only limited by the electronic machine interface installed on the production equipment. Figure 2 shows an example of information available via a browser showing equipment status and speed, job counts, time to go, queue of work, production speed and the operation sta- tus of the equipment. mobileMIS is just that – mobile! Fig- ure 3 shows production information in an iPad browser. Mobile production in- formation provides an opportunity to not only stay on top of production – manag- ing equipment and employee availabil- ity, for example – but to manage larger departments with fewer managers and supervisors which can impact the over- all success of the organization. MateRIal HandlIng The “mobile” in mobileMIS is not lim- ited to accessing real-time data on the go. The technology can also be used to perform MIS transactions away from a tethered computer. Material handling and logistics has always been at the forefront of mobility, simply because of the nature of the processes. For more than 15 years, United Parcel Service has used some form of mobile tracking for the delivery of packages. Initially, the mobile devices were stand alone and not real time. Data was loaded into the hand-held unit at the sorting facility and transactions of deliveries (or failed de- liveries) were not updated from the unit until it was placed in a docking station at the end of the day. Today, the transac- www.flexography.org feBruArY 2011 FLeXO 39 Make every second count. You need to see this incredibly rapid changeover to believe it. It’s the ultimate in workflow acceleration, driving higher margins and slashing waste. Short run flexo now makes sense. It’s efficient. It’s profitable. Go to markandy.com/secondscount w ww.markandy.com FLX_Feb11_mech.indd 39 2/16/11 8:51 AM
Sustainable Winter 2011