CASE STUDY

Rich Brilliant Willing

Rich Brilliant Willing integrated Tulip with NetSuite to increase efficiency across their value stream. By connecting digital work instructions to their ERP, RBW improved visibility and automated data collection throughout their high mix, low-volume assemblies.

Rich Brilliant Willing is a Brooklyn-based studio that designs and manufactures LED fixtures for hospitality, workplace, and residential projects. Founded in 2009 by Theo Richardson, Charles Brill, and Alexander Williams, RBW has grown from a three-person design studio into a 30+ person team with a global network of vendors, specifiers, and customers.

The studio continues to break new ground by taking an experimental approach to technology, creativity, and simplicity in lighting design.

 

Customer

RBW

Industry

Lighting

Location

Brooklyn, New York

Customer Website

The Challenge

RBW offers hundreds of unique lighting designs. All of their fixtures are manually built-to-order at their Brooklyn studio.

“Our process can be challenging. We have a lot of customization and over 1000 different SKUs. In a single day we can make over 14 different fixture types. It’s a lot of moving pieces, a lot of moving parts, and a lot to track.”

-Dave Staehle, Production Manager at RBW

In addition to product complexity, RBW also strives to achieve an aggressive 10-day lead time.

Keeping track of labor time and inventory was unwieldy, slow, and prone to error. “We used to keep a booklet of all the different UL compliance labels and had to have operators populate them themselves,” Staehle continued.

RBW needed a solution that would simplify their shop floor operations while maximizing the utility of their existing system of record, NetSuite.

The Solution

Netsuite Integration

RBW integrated their Tulip applications with their NetSuite ERP.

“We wanted to add more monitoring of data into our manufacturing process,” Director of Operations Bill Baker noted of the decision to use Tulip, “You connect Tulip to NetSuite and Tulip has the user interface, has the tools for our team to do what they need to do.”

This integration gives builders an intuitive tool for exchanging information from back-end inventory and production planning databases, and adds an additional layer of production visibility to the data they have in their ERP.

Whenever operators at RBW need to generate a new work order, Tulip automatically pulls the relevant bill of materials and creates SOPs using data stored in NetSuite.

“Tulip is superb at facilitating information, tracking information, and it feeds back into the NetSuite database,” Staehle said.

As a result, information moves much more fluidly and reliably between back-end systems and shop floor processes.

Streamlining Assembly

To simplify RBW’s high-mix, low volume assemblies, Staele built dynamic work instructions apps that guide builders through each order.

To access the digital instructions, all an operator needs to do is scan a barcode.

Tulip’s digital work instructions have improved builder efficiency.

“I can print my [work order] labels, I can print my volt/watts,” said Zach Jones, a Product Specialist at RBW. “Tulip makes it much easier. I can do it right there at my station.”

Further, Tulip’s user-friendly interface makes it much easier to train and onboard new builders. Jones continued, “We’ve had newcomers come in who’ve never seen Tulip and they’ve been able to jump right on it and use it right away.”

Rapid Iteration of the Picking Application

RBW built a picking application that pulls the bill of materials for that particular work order and guides builders through the picking process. This ensures they select the correct number of the correct parts from the warehouse.

Given that this process is constantly changing, Staehle and his coworkers are able to version applications to keep pace with evolving operations.

“We started with two stations,” he began. “That’s how we piloted it. So we made the application, rolled it out, and with feedback from the operator we were able to change it really easily.”

Takeaways

Reduced human error

Decreased cycle time

Faster, targeted training

Achieved lead-time goals

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