Thank you to our partners at WEB-CAB for sharing this article with Planit Canada.
In this period of crisis, some members of our production team have had to be absent due to the virus, but thanks to the tools offered by WEB-CAB’s Production Assistant, we could easily replace them by slotting in non-experienced employees from other departments to contribute to different production steps and, therefore, avoid delays in delivering our orders.
-Martin Paquette, Sales Director at Cuisines Ambiance
Businesses rarely enjoy a steady and consistent volume. Add a global pandemic, and you’ve got even more uncertainty. Much of the cabinet making industry has fortunately seen a continuously strong demand – even while other industries are suffering due to lockdown restrictions.
To meet this growing demand, more equipment investments are being made to increase productivity, which works… but only up to a certain point. Faster feed rates and throughput on machines are only part of the solution. As individual machines become more efficient, planning and coordinating work becomes more and more critical. This is where a manufacturing execution system (MES) helps manage the complexity on the shop floor, maximizing those machinery investments by optimizing the workflow.
So how does that work in the real world? How can MES software optimize workflow?
The best way to answer this question is with a real-world example, which is probably familiar to anyone building cabinets. We start with processing the parts, where machines are particularly good at generating high volumes very quickly. From there, those parts may take multiple paths, only to come together later during the assembly process. Coordinating what happens between those events is critical to the overall workflow.
After cutting, banding, and boring, case parts must be organized (sorted) by cabinet for the assembly process. This sorting process can be highly automated using MES. More importantly, case part sorting can be synchronized with subassembly processing. Doors and drawers are being made in subassembly areas that feed the assembly process, and these need to be coordinated with the cases.
Our goal is not simply to build lots of boxes through the case clamp. The moment the cases emerge, we need to have doors and drawers ready to complete each product, in the exact order needed. Who hasn’t seen the logjam effect of boxes pouring out of the clamp, but piling up waiting for doors?
MES will not only assist with sorting case parts, doors, drawer parts, face frames, but it will also coordinate those multiple paths so that everything comes together at the right time and place.
Today we have the software that can optimize workflow at a fraction of the cost of just one CNC machine. Now imagine it can do all that while making it easy for inexperienced staff from other departments to jump in and easily follow along with the instructions on the screen. Not only is this possible, but we have a proven track record of successful implementations in record time.