Hanging Up the Hot Stamp: A Success Story
This article is the first in a series of customer case studies, highlighting the challenges they faced and how Barcom helped them automate manual processes and improve operational efficiency.
Our first is a manufacturer of water meters for commercial and residential markets. The company was seeking to resolve an on-going issue associated with the wrong product being delivered to customers.
The organization initially self-diagnosed the problem, and identified the cause as the capability of their labeling process on the assembly line. They determined that they needed to replace their legacy system and begin researching a new digital ID label printing process to replace their hot-stamp label imprint machine. In order to meet their current workflow capacity, the new system needed to have a cycle time of 4 seconds for each label to match their current label printing times.
Barcom was one of three suppliers that were brought into the review and provide recommended solutions. The first-two companies focused on delivering digitized product ID labeling and meeting the company’s required 4-second cycle time. Barcom chose a different route and requested permission to research, observe, listen, and evaluate the entire process from assembly to shipping before making a recommendation. The request was granted.
During the review phase, Barcom observed several possible culprits in the company’s product line assembly and shipping processes. These included:
- Batches of faceplates were being printed with product ID numbers associated with valve size (e.g., ¾”, 1″). These faceplates were later applied to the valves during assembly.
- From time to time, valve assemblies were mislabeled with the wrong faceplate or put in the wrong bin. This resulted in order mis-picks.
- The four-second cycle-time requirement did not include the time spent each day cleaning the hot-stamp machine (about 2 hours).
Solution and Results
Barcom provided a simple but effective solution recommendation that included the following:
- Turn the product ID into a barcode.
- Laser-etch the barcode into the plastic valve at the point of assembly (this would take milliseconds to perform).
- Incorporate a barcode assigned to each work order that would carry over into their order management system.
- At the point of valve assembly, a worker could scan the barcode on the work order. The same barcode would be printed on the valve to associate the valve directly to the work order.
- Place orders into boxes directly off the assembly line.
- Users could process transactions (look up work orders, scan barcodes, print order labels, etc.) with Honeywell mobile computers, hand scanners and mobile printers.
The Barcom recommendations resulted in 100% error-free shipments going out the door, along with several hundred-thousand dollars a year in material and labor savings associated with operating and maintaining hot-stamp machines and correcting mis-shipments.
Finding more efficient ways to operate is our business! Contact Barcom today to learn more about this customer success story and see how we can help.
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