Graphicast, Inc. is a leading industrial manufacturer of high-quality zinc alloy castings. Located in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, Graphicast offers inspiration for manufacturers who want to leverage technology to shorten lead times and better serve their customers.
In 2017, Graphicast implemented Protected Flow Manufacturing™ (PFM) by LillyWorks, a software developer with 55+ years of innovation in the manufacturing industry. According to Graphicast president Val Zanchuck, PFM has helped the company accelerate throughput, shorten lead times and expedite more orders than before.
Plant throughput has accelerated at Graphicast – all without adding significantly to its plant, equipment and labor resources
“Our success with Protected Flow Manufacturing is that it put everything in the right order; to get in and out as fast as possible,” said Mr. Zanchuck. He explained that information in the PFM system has empowered Graphicast to more intelligently schedule jobs. As a result, plant throughput has accelerated at Graphicast – all without adding significantly to its plant, equipment and labor resources.
In fact, Graphicast has witnessed a drastic reduction in the number of late orders leaving the plant since using Protected Flow Manufacturing.
“We started out with the jobs being four weeks late. Right now, the jobs are within a week,” said Mr. Zanchuck. “It’s a very consistent, continual flow with no wasted time at all. We can actually see the system improving!” enthused Mr. Zanchuck.
With its order backlog virtually eliminated, Graphicast has turned its focus to ever-shorter lead times
With its order backlog virtually eliminated, Graphicast has turned its focus to ever-shorter lead times.
“Now that we’re getting out of being late, we’re getting into shorter lead times. Can we operate more efficiently? How much excess capacity do we want to maintain?” Mr. Zanchuck.
The answers to these questions are important. Many customers are willing to pay more to get their orders filled in less time. With Protected Flow Manufacturing, Graphicast has become well-positioned to earn more in exchange for providing its customers with expedited service.
Protected Flow Manufacturing’s Predictor tool ensures that other jobs in the queue are not negatively impacted by expedites. Graphicast uses the Predictor to easily determine if and when the company may be able to process new requests for expedited orders.
“Using the Predictor, we can very easily say, ‘Yeah, we’ve got the capacity to add that in’,” explained Mr. Zanchuck. “If the customer asks, ‘Can you pull my job in four weeks?’ we can test it. The Predictor can tell us if we’re disrupting the rest of the system.”
A time buffer is built-in to protect all open jobs in the Protected Flow Manufacturing system. For that reason, it’s often possible to drop new jobs into the queue without disruption. Graphicast uses the Predictor to see if a prospective expedite can be absorbed by the buffers of all affected orders or causes them to be late. Graphicast can often find ways to help their customers and earn the higher premiums associated with processing expedited orders. “When we tell the customer that we can have their job in three weeks [instead of four], they’re usually happy about that,” said Mr. Zanchuck.
About Protected Flow Manufacturing™ (PFM)
Protected Flow Manufacturing™ (PFM) is a revolutionary new Manufacturing Execution and Planning System. PFM is aimed specifically at the crucial area of “production execution”. Unlike traditional production scheduling, which attempts to create a plan against which to execute on the shop floor, PFM instead continuously and in real-time displays the most current and best production priorities on the shop floor. Following PFM priorities, manufacturers minimize wait times, maximize flow, and dramatically improve customer service levels. PFM is easy to use, fast to implement, and works with any ERP system. With PFM, our customers quickly realize the benefits of truly being able to protect their commitments by delivering on-time, in less time, every time. Learn more at www.protectedflowmanufacturing.com/overview.
Are you having trouble fulfilling orders in a timely manner? Do you want to shorten lead times? Do you wish that your plant could win more profitable business