Protected Flow Manufacturing (PFM) Benefits Saturn Industries

We recently spoke with Rory Lee, Vice President of Operations and Business Develop Manager with Saturn Industries, Inc. Rory, who has been with Saturn since 1997, talked about his company’s experiences before and after implementing Protected Flow Manufacturing™ (PFM) by LillyWorks.

This is Part 2 of a 3-part series, you can read Part 1 here: Saturn Industries Gets Acquainted with Protected Flow Manufacturing™

Q: What’s happened since you began using Protected Flow Manufacturing™ (PFM)?

Since we’ve started using PFM, our on-time delivery has improved dramatically. The need to have meetings or discussions about late orders and backlogs has gone away. We really don’t have the need to print reports. It’s taken all of that out of the equation for us, which is very nice.

We could run reports if we wanted to, but we chose a different route. Because PFM is web based we use smart TV monitors with Internet access and make them available throughout the shop. The staff on the floor can go to their department and access their work. They can look at the list based upon each area of the shop. So the need to print reports has been eliminated. That’s been nice too!

Q: Do you rely less on printed reports than before?

One of the things we’ve found through the years: if you print one report at 8:00 in the morning, by 2:00 in the afternoon most of that information has been changed. That’s because new orders come in and certain orders go out. That was part of the problem with the old system of FIFO. It didn’t get us to where we needed to be.

Q: What has been the effect of Protected Flow Manufacturing™ (PFM) on your on-time delivery?

As a whole shop, we were averaging on-time delivery between 50 to 60% every month, as long as I can remember. It took time to get rid of the backlog. In the first couple months using PFM, our concentration was to just get rid of the backlog of late orders. Now, since February, 2018 we’ve run four months in a row where we’ve been 90% or better on-time with all of the orders coming through the door. That’s a dramatic turnaround!

Q: Are there benefits for customer service?

From a customer service standpoint – with respect to telephone calls from customers looking for late orders – the number of inbound calls has dropped off dramatically. So, from a sales standpoint it’s great. We’re meeting our commitments to our customers.

Q: How about the shop floor?

From the shop floor side of things, PFM has given the shop the ability to manage their own work. Before, it was always a juggling act. Someone from management would come out to the floor and say, ‘No, don’t do that job, do this one’. It’s taken a little bit of pressure off the shop. It’s been a win-win all around.

About Saturn Industries

Saturn Industries has been the leader in the design and fabrication of EDM (Electrical Discharge Machining) electrodes and tooling since 1959. Saturn offers its customers a full range of the finest Isomolded and Extruded graphite products. Saturn is dedicated to the aerospace, automotive, glass, medical, molding and power generation industries. In addition to its manufacturing capabilities, Saturn also offers an extensive range of industrial tooling, accessories, and consulting services.

About Protected Flow Manufacturing™ (PFM)

Protected Flow Manufacturing™ (PFM) is a revolutionary new Manufacturing Execution and Planning System. Aimed specifically at the crucial area of “production execution”, Protected Flow Manufacturing™ continually directs production priorities to minimize wait time and maximize on-time delivery using data fed from a customer’s existing ERP system that customers can act on. Learn more at www.protectedflowmanufacturing.com.

If you’re frustrated by having to tell customers you’re going to be late, watch this 7 min video:    How this production scheduling approach is bringing manufacturing back