RMS Company specializes in the contract manufacturing of complex, tight-tolerance medical device implants and surgical instruments related to spine fracture, reconstructive orthopedics, cardiovascular components, neurological stimulation components, drug delivery systems, and endoscopy devices. The Minneapolis, Minnesota headquarters 154,000 square foot facility focuses on the manufacture of implants and endoscopy devices. The Memphis, Tennessee 21,000 square foot facility is dedicated solely to the manufacture of orthopedic instruments. RMS manufacturing equipment includes over 300 highly sophisticated CNC (computer numerical controlled) machines organized to utilize cellular workflow principles to achieve the lowest total cost.
RMS staff realized that it was getting more and more difficult to predict the order ship date as the number of orders grew to over one thousand a month. They would have to continually notify customers of changes in ship dates.
RMS staff set out on a mission to determine the bottlenecks in their order entry and scheduling process and set goals to have firm order ship dates confirmed to the customer within 72 hours of receiving the order, thereby reducing it from the average 7 weeks it was currently taking.
Vicky Benz, RMS CFO said, “When we had a meeting to discuss what our bottlenecks were and how to improve our numbers, we had only people’s perception of what the problems were. What they seemed to remember most were the jobs that had certain exceptions or issues. We had a lot of data and reports to look at, but it was too much to even begin to analyze.
Fortunately, we used Laserfiche Workflow to control every aspect of tracking and routing our jobs through our manufacturing process. Laserfiche Workflow recorded every transaction in a SQL database. We had three years of production data sitting in SQL that had all the detailed transactions. We just did not know how to make sense of the data.”
RMS hired Hemingway Solutions (formerly Solbrekk), a local Microsoft partner and Laserfiche VAR to assist with this project. Chad Brinkman, Solbrekk SQL, and Laserfiche expert, quickly realized that SQL 2005 Reporting Services was the tool they needed to analyze the data and help determine the actual facts related to the manufacturing process.
Chad said, “I used the audit trail information stored in a couple of SQL tables in the Laserfiche SQL 2000 server, and wrote a couple of stored procedures to compile the audit trails on the SQL 2000 Server. The timing information was then calculated and stored in SQL 2005 on another server. Then I designed some SQL Reporting Services reports modeled after the business processes workflow RMS described for me. I used the business process workflow information and the timing information to create charts and graphs to help identify bottlenecks as the parts move from department to department. RMS now has the ability to display a graph showing how each department, individual, part type, and job is performed.
Vicky Benz said, “When I looked at the new reporting tool, I was completely in awe of what Chad can do and what he is able to pull out of our raw data. We now have the tools to determine our bottlenecks. We can make changes to our processes and track the results. We now are able to work on achieving our goals and objectives.