Information please: Automated reporting paves the way to productivity

September 1st, 2017 / By: / Feature

Software systems are the key to increasing company efficiency and productivity. Having information online gives everyone access to the same information in real time.

In addition to reviewing in-house monthly profit and loss statements, The Dize Co., an awnings fabricator in Winston Salem, N.C., monitors information gathered by an independent, web-based company.

“I can go online and see what we installed the week before and what we have in the pipeline for the next four to six weeks,” president/CEO Fred Burke says of Awning Tracker. “It has made us much more efficient, but also made everybody here knowledgeable of where we are with a road map. Previously, the paper was managing the process, and now the people are managing the process. Everybody has access.

“Dize has been doing what it does for 104 years,” he continues. “What we need to do is take the knowledge we have and make it more efficient. What we are trying to do from a competitive standpoint is shorten our lead times from getting a contract to when we deliver and install.”

Additionally, the company’s awning division meets every Friday morning for a business review.

“We used to be reactive. Now we are trying to be more proactive—planning and prioritizing four to five weeks out,” Burke says.

“We have a variety of reports that provide guidance for everyone from knitting operators to our dye house and finishing to shipping,” says Patrick Hickey, president of Minnesota Knitting Mills in St. Paul. “Some are self-monitored by the department, and composite reports are reviewed by our director of operations and CFO. That’s not to say this won’t be an area for future improvement as we further develop an encompassing ERP [enterprise resource planning] system.”

“We do production reports giving the status of where everything is, and there are reports on the time and costs of every job. There are a couple people involved in making sure all that information is in the reports,” says William Morse, vice president of Ohio Awning & Manufacturing Co. in Cleveland. “People in charge of different departments are responsible for making sure the information is accurate and getting reported.”

Tecsew Ltd., which designs and manufactures marine covers and upholstery, uses 123 Insight Ltd.’s material requirements planning (MRP) software to get reports automatically.

“With the MRP software, we can generate any report conceivable,” says John Bland, managing director of the Gosport, Hampshire, U.K.-based Tecsew. “We also still use an Excel production spreadsheet that certain staff prefer to monitor progress.”

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