StePac Shifts to Real-Time Production Management Using Matics
- Achieving greater production efficiency
- Eliminating manual processes that result in human errors and mistakes in favor of an automated, real-time objective solution that provides full visibility of all production resources on the floor.
- Creating efficient maintenance and setup routines to reduce the amount of unproductive time spent on the floor.
- Determining the rate of production for a better understanding of the company’s cost structure.
- Increasing production agility to meet changing production demands, respond appropriately to fluctuating materials costs, and accommodate last-minute customer orders.
- Generating useful data and business analytics that can be used to guide the company’s future development.
Matics is a real-time operational intelligence system equipped with advanced analytics to identify critical production insights and help teams collaborate to accomplish actions needed here and now.
- Created a transparent production environment that increased productivity, reactivity, and employee motivation
- Implemented precise and automatic data collection to eliminate data quality issues and user error
- Enabled increased agility and real-time adjustment to the daily production planning that minimized wasted time and allowed them to accommodate last-minute requests and changing customer priorities
- Synthesized a holistic picture of factory operations to optimize operations across all levels of production
- Assisted in building gold standard metrics for manual and automated production processes
- Enabled the development of an updated pricing model to better reflect the costs of production
StePac is a leading manufacturer and supplier of high-quality fresh produce packaging. Their packaging solutions preserve the freshness of produce, reduce supply chain waste, allow produce to be stored for longer periods of time, and facilitate greater shipping and transporting distances.
Always in search of a better way to serve their customers, the company maintains two research laboratories in Israel and San Paolo, Brazil. In November 2020, StePac was acquired by Nili Capital Partners, LLC, a subsidiary of the North American company Susquehanna.
StePac Challenges Defined
- Establishing a digitized, accurate, and responsive production system
Before they began using Matics, StePac relied heavily on manual processes for their data collection and reporting needs. This took too long, produced too many inaccuracies, and resulted in information that was too outdated. The company needed a tool that would allow them to automatically track real-time production data within their facility and derive timely and actionable insights from that information. This would allow them to keep up with the blistering pace and exacting standards of the global agricultural industry.
- Outdated data collection procedures
StePac’s initial data collection process was inefficient. Information on:
- What products were produced
- How many of them were completed
- Which work order they referenced
…was all recorded with pen and paper by individual operators. This was extremely tedious and time-consuming. If work stoppages occurred, operators noted the suspected reason by hand with little additional information, making it difficult to ensure that the same problems did not repeatedly resurface.
Similarly, time-based information (such as the duration of each production and the amount of setup time expended between production rounds) was recorded based on readings from watches and clocks. This method was inherently imprecise and lacked the specificity needed to make truly useful insights.
- Need for greater responsiveness in production processes
As a major player in the agricultural packaging industry, StePac is often approached with last-minute orders from customers who need to ship produce in a hurry due to changing climate conditions. However, the time-sensitive nature of these orders required real-time data and analytics to which the company did not have access. StePac was in the market for a solution that would
allow them to extract real-time data from their equipment and make optimal adjustments to planned production schedules to fit these orders into their workflow.
- Lack of real-time data
The absence of real-time analytics on the factory floor made it difficult for StePac to initiate timely interventions and ‘win the shift’ each day. Unexpected problems often surfaced during production and usually could not be identified and resolved until several hours later, taking a considerable toll on the facility’s productivity.
The lack of production transparency inside the facility also hampered StePac’s ability to set gold standard parameters for its manual and automatic procedures. Without continual feedback from the factory’s machines, the company could not gauge the true potential of its equipment and processes or take steps to improve their performance.
- Murky business intelligence
StePac’s weekly and monthly meetings took many hours of preparation time and used incomplete and inaccurate information. The company also lacked the ability to collect and analyze production data in real-time, making it difficult to determine the true cost of production and price products accordingly.
After StePac was acquired by Nili Capital, the company decided it was time to adopt industry 4.0 technology by installing Matics in their facility. Now that our software has been implemented, workers no longer keep count of products coming off the lines manually. They no longer record information by hand at all beyond the occasional typed note on the Matics mobile platform.
At the push of a button, the whole team can now access a user-friendly dashboard providing real-time visibility into all aspects of the production process. The data is accurate at all times and continually updated over the course of each shift. This greatly increases the factory’s ability to respond intelligently to evolving conditions as production unfolds.
Matics introduced digital timekeeping to StePac’s facility, allowing the company to track the machine’s downtime to the second with no human input whatsoever. With Matics, Stepac was able to closely manage reasons behind stop events which helped them to improve their machine availability by 10 % in just a few weeks.
For instance, roll replacement was one of the most common reasons for work stoppages prior to Matics. Each stoppage lasted an average of 10 minutes. Once the plant was equipped with Matics software, proactive maintenance procedures allowed the workers to shave the average time spent conducting a roll replacement by 50%. This was just one of the many new standards set with the help of our software, allowing the company to optimize both their manual and automatic procedures.
Converting to a digitized system also increased motivation among StePac’s staff. Once workers had access to real-time production information on the floor, they quickly became more invested in the impact of their work. Thanks to real-time production data visualisation on Matics’ dynamic dashboard, individual workers’ contributions to production efforts became visible to the entire organization, and workers’ motivation and productivity immediately increased as a result.
It is now considered standard practice to use Matics’ fully connected solution to adjust the production plan during each shift. If a new and urgent customer order is received during a planned production run, StePac is able to use Matics’ real-time data to adjust the plan as needed. The software makes it easy to move jobs between machines and automatically recalibrates production parameters based on the newly allocated machine.
Further, data from the Matics system is used in the company’s regular staff meetings. Since this data is automatically collected and analyzed within the system, the reporting process has been greatly streamlined. The reports themselves have also become much more in-depth and useful. Information on everything from historical production rates to the reasons behind work stoppages can be accessed in seconds and from any location. This gives shift managers and other supervisors concrete information to use when pointing out areas for improvement and serves as an objective source of truth for the entire plant.
StePac now has access to accurate and meaningful data that decision-makers from the COO down can use to propel the company forward. This newfound production transparency has already led to significant improvements in higher-level business affairs.
Thanks to the new information revealed by Matics, StePac learned the pricing for some of their products did not accurately reflect the costs incurred to produce those items. Now, StePac’s products are sold at prices that are competitive but profitable.
Shortly after connecting the Matics system to all machines, we gained visibility of our primary production KPIs… The team became more involved in shift performance and received immediate feedback for the real-time corrective actions, which they began to initiate. Consequently, competitiveness between shifts rose, and StePac benefited directly from this, thanks to increased profitability.
Garold Zeltzer, StePac COO
As the CIO, I examined multiple systems while seeking a solution to manage and analyze our production floor. Selecting Matics was a natural choice for us thanks to the fast implementation, user-friendly interface, dynamic and flexible functionalities, and seamless integration with our existing ERP system.
Yossi Blank, CIO at StePac L.A. Ltd
Matics’ real-time data stream has revolutionized the way we run this factory. The difference between then and now is like night and day.
We are no longer stumbling in the dark.
Samar Mattar, StePac Manufacturing Excellence Engineer
The Bottom Line
StePac’s lack of access to detailed and reliable data made it difficult to achieve meaningful increases in KPIs or forecast customer needs.
Matics provided an end-to-end connected digital production solution to meet these needs, allowing the company to realize an increase of more than 10% in machine availability and also improving their production rate by an average of 10%.
StePac used our real-time software to save time, collect more accurate and detailed data, conduct in-depth analysis and reporting, meet rapidly changing customer needs, and even win further support among their workers.
Be proactive. Be productive.
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Matic’s all-in-one real-time operational intelligence system has the power and scalability you need to unearth valuable insights from the wealth of data inside your facility. Our real-time data feeds and cutting-edge prediction tools help you adjust production to suit the needs of your business in both the immediate and long-term future.
Contact us today to learn more about how our software can help you collect and analyze production data to achieve measurable improvements to your bottom line.