Midland Glass Supplies Ltd (MGS) is an established sealed unit manufacturer supplying high quality products to an expanding and loyal customer base throughout the Midlands and the north of England
This year MGS made a substantial investment in new premises in Mansfield, installing state of the art Bystronic machinery to increase production capacity and accommodate in-house toughening with an EFCO furnace.
Software was a key element of the expansion plan.
Integrated software solutions specialist Jotika was chosen from a number of possible vendors to implement a system that would cope with the increase in volume, and to provide the experience needed to get the best results out of the new investment.
MGS was impressed with Jotika's reputation for customer service, and felt confident that with the experience of their proprietary Gtrak software, Jotika was the right company to help maximise the new site’s potential.
Jotika did not disappoint, and has worked closely with MGS to put into operation advanced glass handling and tracking systems, with some very positive results.
John Gold explains the initial stages:
"First, we introduced our advanced labelling system, which uses lean manufacturing techniques, removing avoidable processes such as reading text on labels. The use of colour symbols, flashes and edge labelling helps operators to sort jobs at a glance, without having to read detailed order references.
MGS has installed innovative overhead carousels that feed two Bystronic robot lines continuously from both a spacer bender and saw. Gtrak allows both lines to be loaded by barcode in real time, rather than being restricted by predetermined sequencing. This flexibility eliminates sorting issues and allows urgent orders and remakes to be inserted at any point in the production process.
Jotika also managed the introduction of a barcode tracking system, from design and supply of equipment, right through to cabling and installation.
In the sales office, Jotika has also installed a 42-inch plasma screen, displaying their real time Production Monitoring System to highlight key areas of production where bottlenecks can occur. This was a major breakthrough in improving customer service levels. Managing delivery lead times more efficiently and providing customers with accurate delivery dates and early warning if requested dates are not achievable has made a big difference in supplier/customer relations.
MGS Finance Manager Tracie Smith is delighted with the software:
"It is one of the best decisions we have made. Gtrak 3 has certainly delivered for us everything they said it would; plus Jotika's experience and advice has been invaluable in getting the new factory up and running."
Development is ongoing; Jotika will soon be introducing more sophisticated optimising strategies such as OptimiserX, to improve glass processing efficiency even further.
For instance, Jotika is seeking to further improve workflow, and to reduce the number of discrete batches generated by unforeseen changes in product mix. In particular, the decision to use cut spacer bar on decorative units and bent spacer bar for standard production had to be addressed, by creating separate sub batches at cutting.
The effect of different spacer types will be addressed within OptimiserX, to reduce the impact on glass and spacer waste, as well as control labour costs. The two Bystronic robot sealing lines have different specialisms, so workflow is organised to optimise line capacity.
At every stage Jotika have invested time, especially on the shop floor, to understand the needs of MGS, providing practical solutions that really work and achieve results.