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MES Software Streamlines Huge Lean Project

January 1, 2019

Carlisle Brake and Friction manufactures braking products for construction, aerospace, agriculture, military, racing, mining and other on- and off-highway uses. The 101-year-old company, with annual sales of $300 million and 1600 employees, faces pressures similar to those of traditional manufacturers, including off-shore competition from companies in lower-wage regions. Compounding that is a wide manufacturing footprint that pressures product costs. For example, a plant in Tulsa, OK, provided parts to another plant in Medina, OH, for finishing, requiring transportation of parts between plants for the final steps. The need to buffer to account for transportation time increased work-in-process (WIP) inventories.

Also, various process-flow factors combined to make scheduling complex and difficult, adding to WIP inventories.

To combat all of these issues, management of Carlisle Brake and Friction sought to increase manufacturing efficiency. Ultimately, management decided to shutter the Tulsa operation and move the machinery and processes to Medina.

This huge lean project had several major sub projects: shutting down Tulsa, moving Tulsa’s equipment to Medina, and expanding the Medina plant by 158,000 sq. ft., installing new equipment and setting up the newly designed value streams. All told, Carlisle is investing $50 million over two years in this effort.

Carlisle decided to measure the entire project based on a key metric: DIFOT (Delivery In Full & On Time) and to the customer’s specific demand. This metric makes customers the centerpiece of the entire operation—nothing could stand in the way of meeting customer deliveries. All of these efforts demanded a strong manufacturing execution system (MES). Carlisle had only partially used its ERP system’s shop-floor-control capabilities, and much of the production scheduling had been managed in side systems or spreadsheets. In transitioning to a paperless factory, the company opted for Factivity’s visual manufacturing-production-tracking software.

According to James Leet Jr., project lead at Carlisle, first and foremost, Factivity brought simplified communication to the project. Customer requests for a part, quantity and delivery date are communicated to the shop floor quickly via electronic dispatch lists with no delays. In addition, Electronic Kanban cards are scanned, and replenishment Kanban orders are generated immediately, providing visibility to the flow time from Kanban scan initiation to Kanban completion on an item by item basis. It’s essentially a lean-manufacturing WIP-tracking system combined with production-time-tracking software.

Now every employee could see the jobs in queue and the material status quickly and easily.

Factivity’s MES shop-floor system includes a Documents Module or Paperless Factory that Carlisle uses to ensure that employees always have the latest procedures and specifications from which to work. In addition Factivity allows the company to account for all materials in real time, preventing over-reporting of materials consumed, which previously had resulted in inaccurate costs and erroneous inventory records.


See also: Factivity Inc.

Technologies: Management


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