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.