Crotty Corporation manufactures visors. It was asked by General Motors, their big customer to institute a compliance marking program to improve quality and efficiency.
Such a program would provide GM with 100% quality satisfaction, but also could benefit Crotty's own internal quality and efficiency.
Issues: huge consequences
With its large range of visors, Crotty Corporation was under huge pressure not only to manufacture visors in time, but also to pack the right visor in the right box, for the right car or it would risk losing business.
If a Crotty product was responsible for shutting down a GM assembly line, Crotty would have to pay for the lost production and may lose the contract.
A barcode driven system was put forward, one that would stand up to the harsh car-manufacturing environment.
Solution: barcodes reveal packing errors
Crotty contacted two partners: JBA international to implement an enterprise resource planning package and Business Computers Connections (BCC) to provide the data collections systems, integrating Crotty's AS/400 computer platform and JBA's ERP package.
In practise, Crotty installed tabletop scanners at the packaging stations allowing the scanning of ID labels as they come out of manufacturing.
The packaging clerk scans the customer name and part number and the software package knows which parts should and should not be in the box.
Data on the master label product description, pack size and number of products in the box is displayed on screen. If the operator scans the wrong barcode or there are too many parts in the box, an error message is issued.
Once the software verifies that the correct parts are in the box, it signals the SATO printer to print two 4"x 6" master labels for the two sides of the full box.
The SATO CL408 thermal transfer printer was chosen for its industrial performance and metal casing.
The SATO thermal transfer printer is able to withstand the grease and grime of the car manufacturing environment while providing efficiency and return on investment.
The box once labelled is then sent on its way to GM plants in the U.S. and Canada.
The new barcode driven system now handles more than 163 combinations assuring the right things end up in the right boxes at the right time.
The primary benefit is that Crotty is meeting customer needs providing 100 % quality products round the clock.
In addition, by automating their processes, Crotty has reaped internal benefits too:
- Increased efficiency - products are barcoded and scanned before entering the conveyor system, increasing tracking and controlling efficiency
- Increased productivity - products can be moved faster, easier and at a lower cost.
- Increased accuracy - eliminating data key entry errors saves the time and money required correcting them.
- Increased information - Crotty now has production numbers to update product files, vastly improving ordering and inventory control.
- Increased business - on-time, on-target deliveries reduce costs and provide the competitive edge needed to gain more business.
- Increased profitability - advanced technology such as scanning and barcoding builds a straight line to profitability