November 26, 2020

User Story – From Production live monitoring to batch performance tracking with ERP integration – in just 2 months!


One of our new customers, Star Brands, proved that an empowered team with courage for innovation can make anything possible – implementing the Blackbird system in the factory, analyzing downtime using 70 stop causes in various categories on 2 lines, integrating batch information with their existing ERP system and further data utilization using Power BI. All of these achievements were accomplished in just 2 months.

Star Brands is a leading manufacturer of high-quality laundry and household cleaning products and has a strong presence in Europe. The production site is in UK with several high-speed production lines for liquids, powders and pastes with the flexibility to fill small or large production runs. 

As production demand increased, Star Brands encountered the challenge to optimize its production facility to meet growing market demand. The team in Star Brands had been collecting shop floor data for several years but needed more simple data collection and a more comprehensive method of compilation and analysis.

After extensive desktop research, the team discovered the Factbird. As the Blackbird solution can be installed without visits from experts, and the installation does not require any modification on existing facility, it was easy for them to make the decision to start trying the solution. 

After a few days, during which Star Brands liaised with Blackbird to set up reason codes, the team received the hardware package and installed the Factbird on a pilot production line. The data from the lines was available online immediately and live production counts could be followed on any browser. 

“The installation was quick and straightforward. It was impressive that we could get the live data immediately” says Chris Hutton, Engineering Manager at Star Brands.

Once the live production flow was visualized in the cloud, they immediately started to probe the extent and causes of downtime. There were more than 70 stop causes, grouped into asset and labour categories to analyze downtime of their machines. It was remarkably easy for line leaders to register stop causes: all downtime appears in a list and causes can be selected from a simple hierarchy. 

Once entered, downtime analysis and OEE performance were immediately available, with live data constantly and automatically adding to the operational metrics.  Although very useful, the Star Brands team wanted to feed batch information automatically from the existing ERP system to ensure correct line speeds were used in OEE calculations.

 
“We are very impressed with the capability of the Blackbird solution, and the way in which some initial obstacles were overcome quickly and creatively” says Dean O’Loughlin, Continuous Improvement Manager at Star Brands. 

From day one, Star Brands could use the data to improve its production.  The team wanted to do more, and they all look forward to developing the system to an even greater extent to enhance continuous improvement initiatives.

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