At this point it makes sense to illustrate what platforms do by giving examples of how they’re used in real manufacturing operations.
In this section, we’ll review three ways manufacturers use Tulip. Each case study was selected because it highlights a particular facet of platform functionality.
Shop floor management app at Nautique Boat Company
Process Visibility At Nautique
Nautique boat company is a leading manufacturer of high-end motorboats based in Orlando, Florida.
Nautique made the decision to use a manufacturing platform because they lacked the data necessary to drive continuous improvement. While the process improvement team regularly conducted time studies, the variety of parts, processes, and people made it impossible to collect data efficiently and comprehensively. According to one of Nautique’s process engineers, “The manual collection of information really wasn’t providing enough data for us to make data-driven decisions.”
As a result, Nautique sought a platform to help automate data collection.
Using Tulip, a senior process engineer built applications to track which operator did what on the upholstery line, and when. The application automatically collected step and cycle time, and gave the team complete visibility into a 400 operator factory.
Now, the platform automatically collects and displays data on easy-to-read dashboards, making it easier to identify opportunities for process improvements.
Further, Nautique uses the data they collect on operator performance to hone training programs.
All in all, Nautique used a platform to achieve a 30% reduction in cycle time and a 7% increase in production. Together, that’s over $500,000 in projected annual savings.
For Nautique, a platform was a means of gathering the data that mattered to them while connecting workers to their workflows.
Connected Workforce at Staymobile
Many organizations struggle to communicate with a distributed workforce. The scattering of workers across locations and geographies can result in inconsistent procedures, incomplete data, and unmanageable amounts of paper.
This was the situation Staymobile found themselves in when they began searching for a platform solution.
Staymobile is a national, INC 500 provider of computer, Chromebook, and mobile device repair and service solutions.
As a national organization with a geographically distributed workforce, Staymobile struggled to standardize work across locations. Paper-based work instructions were difficult to follow, and made it difficult for engineers to verify technician compliance. Often, multiple versions of the same work instruction were in use at different locations, leading to inconsistently executed procedures and avoidable mistakes. Further, paper-based processes made it impossible to collect data that gave them visibility into their operations on a national level.
Using Tulip, Staymobile built digital work instruction applications that engineers could adapt to the unique needs of every location. At the same time, each of these applications automatically collected process data, enabling Staymobile to stay agile and make adjustments as necessary.
“The flexibility and ease of use of work instructions have been a game changer for us,” began Rob Lennox, EVP of Staymobile.
Each application is integrated with Staymobile’s ERP, making inventory tracking and processing planning simple. Because these applications are delivered through the cloud, they let Staymobile centralize their data collection. “The Tulip apps are designed for collecting this data. It’s almost completely geared toward what engineers need from an output perspective for actionable KPIs.”
Because they chose a flexible platform over a single-use case solution, Staymobile is building new applications to drive ongoing initiatives.
“We’ve been using Tulip for five months now, and we’re on a daily basis finding ways to improve, enhance, and deploy new things into our organization,” said Lennox.
The organization is already planning Audit applications to replace a paper book, as well as custom applications configured for specific site visits.
Gaining full process visibility at Taza Chocolate
Connected Factory with Taza
Most manufacturing processes are a tightly choreographed collaboration between humans and machines.
Without good data, it can be hard to determine which are responsible for inefficiencies. This is especially true when industrial machines are decades old and can’t connect to the internet. When scaling up, it can be unclear whether there’s unused capacity, or whether it’s necessary to buy new machines.
This was the challenge facing Taza Chocolate, a bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer based in Somerville, Massachusetts, when they received a large order from a national wholesaler.
Taza opted for a platform approach. First, Taza installed IIoT sensors on their analog machines. They then connected these sensors to Tulip applications, enabling them to measure RPM, cycle time, engine speed, temperature, and humidity throughout their operations. This data was used to visualize machine uptime and downtime in real time, and to identify the root cause of bottlenecks.
As a result, Taza was able to increase the number of pieces they produced per shift by 15%, while increasing uptime. All the better, they were able to meet rising demand for their product without purchasing new machinery.