“Our state-of-the-art Progress OpenEdge-based Odyssey software system is an important key to our entire operation,” explains Jim Kirsh, Chairman of Kirsh Foundry. “Odyssey was designed to address the particular needs of metalcasters, and unites all areas of our company: production, quality, management, accounting and sales, allowing us to make better decisions, faster.”
With the combination of Odyssey and Progress OpenEdge, it is now easier for Kirsh to control processes, implement repeatability and drive efficiency. “In the past, we would come up with some great ideas as to how we could improve a process. But we had no method in place that allowed us to document or communicate that process in a way that made it repeatable and consistent,” explains Paul. With Odyssey, Kirsh can now visually communicate with the shop floor staff via videos and images versus just an email, shop card or conversation. This visual form of communication is far easier for people to interpret—it is a faster form of communication—and it reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings and subsequent errors.
“With Odyssey the product standards are now in place, documented, easy-to-read and easy-to-follow. This is particularly important for new employees. By optimizing our ability to communicate, we have streamlined our processes, ensured repeatability across our operations, increased our efficiency and productivity levels, reduced the potential for errors and consequently we have reduced our internal scrap rate by 40%,” says Paul. These capabilities have also enabled Kirsh to reduce costs and become more competitive in the marketplace.
Using Odyssey’s Shop Floor Manager module, Kirsh has been able to drive continuous improvement by significantly reducing the amount of manual data entry and paperwork previously associated with daily processes like work orders, instructions and recording production numbers. Today, Odyssey captures that information automatically in real time. Employees and managers can access relevant information they need to do their jobs via monitors in a timely fashion. The screens can easily be customized per employee, workstation or department by Kirsh’s managers.
“I am especially excited about Odyssey’s Shop Floor Manager with the Quality Viewer feature,” explains Paul. “It is so flexible that I can customize the screens for different operations, depending on their needs. Rather than giving employees a hard copy card with an image, I can now design the screens to include videos, pictures or graphics, which are far easier and faster for employees to digest. And because I can update the information in real time, the data on the shop floor is always accurate and up-to-date. This has truly enabled us to optimize information delivery, reduce the potential for errors and maximize our operations.”
“Using Odyssey, we have integrated every role in our manufacturing process in to one system, allowing us to make better decisions, faster,” says Kirsh. “We communicate information such as production schedules and individual product requirements directly to our production staff. Real-time production data is communicated directly from the shop floor to supervisors and managers. The data is easy to access by anyone at any time, helping us to keep costs down and efficiencies up.”
Odyssey has also enabled Kirsh to ensure better quality control and, in turn, reduce its costs. Paul explains: “With Odyssey’s real-time parts tracking, we have complete traceability over every casting in our operation, from the melting of the iron through the shipping of the casting. Odyssey gives us the ability to pinpoint problems and reduce scrap while keeping production flowing smoothly. With our Progress OpenEdge-based Odyssey system, we ensure quality at every step of the manufacturing process.”
For example, if a shop floor employee has a problem with a casting, he or she can immediately send an e-mail notifying the shop floor manager of the problem. Issues can be dealt with as they arise versus managers finding out about them just before shipping.
“The amazing thing about Odyssesy is that there are just so many features we can utilize to improve our business. To me the sky is pretty much the limit now,” says Paul. For example, Kirsh is now able to focus not only on maintenance management, but also on predictive maintenance management. Based on parameters Kirsh inputs into the system, Odyssey can predict when a machine will need maintenance or a new part. And the system can automatically create a work order or requisition for a part order. “This predictive analysis capability means the uptime on our machinery is improved dramatically. That is a benefit that cascades across our operations, affecting productivity and efficiency levels, scrap rates and costs.”