As a leading supplier of high-quality galvanized steel ventilation ducts, Prolifik has built a solid reputation among building designers, contractors, and construction companies.
But reliability and performance are only a part of the equation. Like all manufacturers, the company is on a never-ending quest to become even more innovative, lean, and efficient.
In today’s competitive business environment, manufacturers who can offset volatile production costs with internal efficiencies have a clear advantage. And suppliers like Prolifik understand that remaining cost-competitive means optimizing processes.
The company’s Owner, Jean-Rock Lacroix explained that a difference of just one cent can often be the reason behind winning or losing a sale, so unplanned downtime can have dire consequences. A stoppage of just 2 to 3 minutes on a production line with a cycle time of 4 seconds can equal thousands of dollars in lost volume.
“Ours is a high-volume product with small profit margins,” said Lacroix. “Maximizing production line efficiency is crucial to remaining competitive. We produce millions of components a year, so saving one second amounts to a lot of time and money over a million pieces.”
To compound the problem, manually tracking performance becomes extremely difficult in such a fast-moving manufacturing environment. Progress is nearly impossible to achieve without technological intervention to help identify where improvement efforts are needed and how to optimize existing resources.
"With Worximity’s support, we’re more efficient and have more capacity to produce, and as a result, we’re able to offer more to our customers."
Like a growing number of manufacturers, Prolifik found the answer in Industry 4.0 with Worximity’s OEE tracking software. In addition to monitoring overall equipment effectiveness, Worximity accelerates the analysis, and interpretation of production data and ranks critical issues according to the greatest impact on the bottom line. This allows customers to quickly identify where to focus improvement efforts.
Director of Continuous Improvement, Veronic Chenier explained that while Prolifik wasn’t necessarily looking for a solution, they were intrigued by the opportunities Worximity presented. And so, the solution was installed on select production lines identified as having bottlenecks and those that contributed the most to revenue.
Change can be a challenge for any company and success usually hinges on a complete buy-in, from the board room to the shop floor. At Prolifik, implementation was nothing short of a collaborative effort.
“When we introduced the solution to our production team, I remember an operator saying: You're doing this because you want to monitor us from your desk. That's when you recognize the importance of getting your people to understand the impact the tool can have and the need to include them in its implementation. Failure to do this creates friction because there’s the usual resistance to change.”
In the first few weeks following installation, data revealed that inefficiency was not directly related to underperforming operators. Rather, most shortfalls could be traced to improper machine adjustments, breakdowns, raw material defects, and internal processes such as training and communication.
In addition, Chenier explained that the ability to provide workers with SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) and then allow them to track production via Worximity’s real-time monitoring dashboard paid off almost immediately. Operators soon realized that the software was improving their working conditions, quality of life, and performance. They quickly embraced the solution and that was critical to Prolifik’s success.
“The people who were the most reluctant at the time are now the people who manage the software internally. Because they were so involved in the implementation and improvements, they’ve become invested and have taken ownership. It was a collective effort for collective results.”
With Worximity’s help, Prolifik uncovered the root cause of underperformance helping them to optimize everything from their training program to capacity and labor hours.
“I had fought long and hard telling management that we lacked capacity,” said Chenier. “I wanted to add an evening shift but, after implementing Worximity, I realized that it wasn't capacity that was lacking, it was the availability of our machines.”
In one situation, Chenier discovered that a specific production line was down 40% of the time. After making the necessary adjustments, stoppages were reduced and throughput increased. Once production targets were met, Chenier was able to voluntarily shut down the machine and reassign the operator to another production line, essentially gaining half of a resource.
“A half-resource for me is major, it's an additional 20 hours a week of manufacturing, that results in a finished product for sales. That’s what being connected to Worximity’s software allows you to achieve.”
In the first few weeks of implementing the solution on a single production line, Prolifik experienced a 7% efficiency gain that ended up paying for the software.
Within a year, connected production lines saw a 15% improvement in availability, increasing overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) by 20%. All of this helped the company to achieve substantial growth.
“With Worximity’s support, we’re more efficient and have more capacity to produce, and as a result, we’re able to offer more to our customers.”
Needless to say, Chenier highly recommends that manufacturers, regardless of size, take a long look at Worximity.
“We’re a small company of 75 employees, proving that anyone can connect their business. You just need to put things into perspective, allocate the right resources, and proceed gradually. You don't have to connect all your lines at once and you don’t need a director of improvement or a big supporting infrastructure to get results.”
Most importantly, Chenier says that manufacturers should view Worximity as an investment, not an expense. And as with any investments should be prepared to take action. “Companies need to ask themselves what the cost of not implementing a system like this is, especially in the age of Industry 4.0. If you do it, and you have good data, at the right time, that you can act on, you're going to make money, you're going to see results, that’s what Worximity did for us here at Prolifik.”