Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Getting Started with Inspections

With the release of version 10.7 of the Realtrac Performance ERP system, Realtrac has included some new features that support capturing inspection time and information from your shop floor. The Realtrac development team has worked closely with a group of our customers in identifying their needs, and helping them implement this new feature into their organizations. We’re going to examine one Realtrac user's approach in implementing this new feature on their shop floor. The goal of this exercise is to familiarize our readers with this new feature; one customers method of integrating this system with their existing processes.

These new Realtrac features allow a user to define employees that are allowed to perform inspections. Optionally, you can also assign specific work stations which are more likely to be used to perform inspections. With these features set up, your inspection employees will be able to log in and perform First Piece(s), Final Piece(s), In Process, Sort and Receive inspections.

One Realtrac user routinely performs First Piece inspections, (especially after SETUP operations and inspections were done), and attempts to capture and delineate the costs associated with them.

When estimating a piece that will require any inspection steps, one generic inspection router line is put on the estimate. In this line, an attempt is made to roughly estimate how much total time will be involved with the various inspection steps and parts of production. If the estimate is won, and the estimate is converted into a job, the intention is not to log in to this router line but, instead, to log in to the actual router operation that is being inspected. The user, however, will want to capture the expected costs associated with the various inspection steps required for their customer. Additionally, by creating a separate router line at the estimation stage, they are ensuring the costs of the inspection are captured in the quote they are presenting to a customer, thus they won’t be losing money on the resulting job.

Meanwhile, shop floor employees are trained that on the go forward, all SETUP operations will require a first piece inspection before continuing with subsequent router operations. As the employee finishes up the SETUP, they fetch an employee that has been set up as an Inspector within the Realtrac system. When our inspector employee logs in to the SETUP router operation, Realtrac notices that the employee is an inspector, and asks them if they are logging in normally, or for an inspection.

Figure 1 - New interface options when an Inspector logs in to a router operation.

The employee logs in telling Realtrac they are completing a First Piece Inspection. Let’s take a look at what the Shop Floor screen will look like after our inspector employee has logged in.

Figure 2 - Inspection employee logged in to operation.

If we take a look at Figure 2, we see that our employee Matt Fuerst has been logged in to Operation 50 for 23 minutes this session on the “ASSY1” Work Station (and 7 hours, 44 minutes in total). They have gone over and asked Ed Davis, an Inspector, to log in to OP 50 and perform a First Piece inspection. Note that Ed Davis’ name is written out in yellow, meaning that employee is logged in as an inspector (Ed is logged in with at “INSP 2” station). By keeping this in mind, it’s quick and easy to see, even across your shop floor, how many inspections are currently ongoing.

The Realtrac user in question has their Inspection employee log in, confirm that the SETUP is complete, and log the number of good (and potentially scrap) pieces from the operation. At this point, the next operation (very likely a RUN operation) is ready for our employees to log in and run their pieces.

What happens if, after the fact, you need to confirm that an inspection happened for operation 50 for this job? Let’s pull open the updated Work Session review screen, and check out our work sessions. When I search for job 15J1527, operation 50, we find our work sessions:

Figure 3 - Work Session Review Screen

In the first row of Figure 3, we see that our inspector Ed Davis logged in to OP 50 as an inspector, completed a First Piece inspection (“First_pc” in the last column) and they flagged that 1 good piece was complete. Using the new Work Session review screen, we’re able to quickly confirm that our required inspections have taken place.

In addition to the Work Session review interface, all of the Realtrac costing reports have been improved to break out the costs of inspection operations.

Figure 4 - Sample Job Cost Summary report with Inspection Costs

As shown in Figure 4, there are 2 rows of costing information for operation 50, and 3 rows of costing information for operation 60. We see that the First Piece inspection for operation 50 cost us $19.64, the First Piece inspection for operation 60 cost us $84.03, and the final piece inspection for operation 60 cost us $92.32. (The normal run operations for OP 50 and 60 exist on their own lines as per normal).

Circling back to our users idea of including estimated inspection costs on their original estimate (in the form of a router line capturing all expected inspection time and costs), our user plans to use these updated costing reports to compare the actual inspection time and costs against the estimates router line. This way they can ensure expected costs are lining up with actuality, and refine their estimation processes in future estimates and quotes.

This is just one approach to the new inspections features present in Realtrac. Many organizations already have inspection processes in place that may change your approach in terms of integrating Realtrac with your inspection. The great news is this new feature is included in Realtrac for all to use; included in our base package, no additional modules or costs will be incurred. Please test out these new features, and let us know what you think!

Please reach out to your account manager if you want to discuss how the new inspections features may work in your organization. As always, thanks to our existing customers for continuing to let us know what features you need to win the business race. And welcome to all the future Realtrac Performance ERP customers that took the time to read our missive.

Realtrac + Carbinite prepare to set Land Speed records

“You can Streamline your business with Carbinite and Realtrac.”

Such was the beginning connection with Carbinite Metal Coatings when they visited the headquarters of Realtrac and Delta Gear recently. The Realtrac and Delta staff were amazed to see Carbinite's streamliner, the “Carbiliner” and learned more about this amazing prototype and its racing future. 

Carbinite’s Rob Freyvogel had been searching for a shop management solution for almost a year. The two companies realized, that together, they have a winning combination. 

Indianapolis, IN – December 2015 - Rob Freyvogel, founder and president of Carbinite Metal Coatings in Renfrew PA, has a two-fold dream. His first dream is to provide a superior service to his customers by having a superior work place for his employees. His second dream, his passion actually, is to push the limits of human innovation in motorsports. 

Freyvogel founded Carbinite Metal Coatings in his garage in December of 1997. Designing workholding fixtures as a mechanical engineer, he saw a need for a niche application that he named Carbinite. Freyvogel states, “Carbinite is a hard textured metal surface coating that can decrease wear or increase grip on a wide variety of tools and fixtures.” The company quickly outgrew the family garage, and currently employs 12 workers. “Treating our employees and customers well is essential. We value the skill each employee brings to our shop, and want to share our success with them. We place a high priority on making sure our customers get the service they need quickly and at a fair price.”

Carbinite LSR (Land Speed Racing) is a side venture with a volunteer crew led by Freyvogel and funded primarily by Carbinite Metal Coatings. Over the last 5 years, Freyvogel and the crew designed and built the Carbinite LSR Streamliner (lovingly referred to as the Carbiliner) to set the Wheel-Driven Record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah. The current Wheel-Driven record is 458 MPH. The Carbiliner crew’s goal is to crush that record by running 500+ MPH. Unfortunately the weather is not as passionate as the team; rain has caused the cancellation of the record-setting events for the last two years.

Carbinite Carbiliner LSR Streamliner

The slogan for Carbinite LSR is “To Serve. To Learn. To Inspire.” During the LSR offseason, the Carbiliner visits local high schools, tech schools, colleges, and industry shows. Freyvogel presents the project, its innovations, and its development from conception to fruition. The students have the opportunity to ask questions, sit in the car, and have their pictures taken. “Part of the mission of Carbinite LSR includes educating young people. We want to inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, and manufacturing,” states Freyvogel.  

The Carbiliner is definitely a conversation-starter, and is what sparked the relationship between Realtrac Performance ERP and Carbinite. The Carbiliner was exhibited as part of the education outreach at the 2014 Smartforce Student Summit, held in conjunction with the International Manufacturing Technology Show. Both Realtrac and Carbinite exhibited at IMTS as well. 

Bob Sakuta, Owner of Realtrac, visited the Carbiliner and was interested in the history and goals of the project. Andy Hixon, Operations Manager at Carbinite, was interested in Realtrac. He states, “We had been searching for a shop management solution for almost a year. Most were either beyond our budget or were too cumbersome and had too many features we would never use. We needed to implement a system without much disruption to our shop floor. The software also had to analyze our unique data since our shop is not a typical machine shop.” Both parties were sufficiently impressed, and, within a few hours of meeting, Realtrac and Carbinite were officially partnered. 

Carbinite has been extremely happy with the ease of Realtrac’s implementation. “Our administrative staff found Realtrac simple to set up. It was obvious how it all worked together,” states Freyvogel. “Our shop floor employees were trained and using Realtrac in just a few hours. Within a week, Realtrac started analyzing the profitability of our jobs. Everyone at Realtrac wants us to succeed, and has been extremely helpful and knowledgeable. Realtrac is helping us to see where our shop is doing well, and where it is not efficient or profitable. We now can decide where we need to change our shop to make it a better workplace for our employees. Realtrac Performance ERP gives us a streamlined manufacturing workplace, which means better service for our customers. It’s a win-win situation.” 

Andy Hixon of Carbinite came up with the slogan, “You can Streamline your business with Carbinite and Realtrac” to describe the connection between Carbinite, the Carbiliner, and Realtrac. The Carbiliner’s design is streamlined, Realtrac can help streamline your shop floor, and Carbinite’s Metal Coating process can help streamline your machining processes.

Realtrac and Carbinite, along with the Carbiliner, will share a booth at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) show, held December 10-12 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

Carbiliner             www.carbinitelsr.com
Carbinite              www.carbinite.com
Delta Gear           www.delta-gear.com

Realtrac                www.realtrac.com

Service your clients, make production decisions in 5 seconds or less

Realtrac features an extremely powerful jobs dashboard that provides real-time information on production and customer orders.  The Realtrac dashboard allows the user to quickly identify problem jobs and easily drill-down (filter) information by up to 27 fields. These fields include: customer, drawing number, part number, job number, due date, PO number, current operation (location) etc.  Color coded data (red, green) highlights any problematic issues including jobs and operations behind schedule.

The dashboard includes a yellow row for data entry located at the top of the form which is used to filter information.  For example, if you type a customer name (or part of a customer name), our dynamic searching process will immediately narrow the dashboard results to only that customer.  You can also filter on multiple fields, i.e. jobs by customer PO# that are due this week, jobs currently in shipping (to prompt an invoice to your customer), jobs at outside subcontracting, etc.  The dashboard also includes the ability to search on closed jobs.  The historical information allows you to view the profitability and routing of previous jobs to help improve manufacturing.

Jobs Dashboard

The Jobs Dashboard is a comprehensive scrollable list of information. Another great time saving feature is the preview function.  When you hover the mouse pointer over the job number in the dashboard, a yellow preview window will appear providing full information on that job!

The Jobs Dashboard is incredibly flexible, allowing you to display information in any order with the ability to exclude any field desired.


The Jobs Dashboard screen, which is unique to Realtrac, is an invaluable tool in providing you real time information about the status of your jobs without your having to get up and walk through the shop, saving you time and money.