A Single Source of Truth

Imagine a plant floor setting where shop floor information systems are unevenly deployed throughout multiple plants, six distribution centers and are kept ‘organized’ with manually-updated bulletin boards. Sound familiar? How many of you in the manufacturing industry can relate to this type of scenario? How many of you wish you could better standardize and automate in this kind of situation, but aren’t sure where to start?

This is the exact situation Dell customer Treehouse Foods was in when it decided to institute a single source of truth. What does that mean? Treehouse Foods’ lofty goal was to greatly increase efficiency with standardization and automation, specifically addressing quality-related data behind key operational metrics, schedule attainment and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).  To do this, Treehouse wanted to leverage the data running through SAP and other systems to ultimately drive operational improvements on the plant floor.  This is where the single source of truth comes in. Treehouse needed to build an accurate, standardized and near real-time look at plant performance metrics.

Treehouse turned to Dell’s SAP team to scope and implement SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (MII) 12.2 as the means to link manufacturing processes with business operations. This ongoing project currently has six plants live and has resulted in replacing the physical bulletin boards with five major, automatically-updated screens in each plant showing key metrics, a plant scorecard, a plant snapshot, a line scorecard and a line snapshot. Treehouse is now able to have personnel meetings using timely, trusted data – a single source of truth – that leads to clear actions that drive better improvements. 

This week, Treehouse Foods is sharing its story at the SAP Manufacturing Industry CVN forum in Chicago, which brings manufacturers together to explore and discuss innovative operations solutions. Another Dell customer, Sulzer Metco, will also be at the event to share how they have improved information accessibility, order delivery and real-time shop floor visibility using SAP MII.  This project focused on developing an MES system which linked back to the SAP ECC system and custom SQL database. The Sulzer and Dell teams integrated shop floor data leveraging SAP MII with the current SAP ECC environment. The system allows shop floor users to run jobs against the orders downloaded from ECC, perform confirmations, record downtime events, perform goods receipts/issue and OEE reporting.

Ron Bordonaro, Sourcing and Process Engineering Manager for Sulzer Metco, shares that “with this implementation, we consolidated several interfaces into a single interface that captures far more real-time data than we were able to capture before. This will help us further improve our processes.”

A single interface.  Single scorecard.  A single source of truth. This is the foundation on which everyone within a manufacturing organization, from the line worker to the CEO, can have data-driven discussions around how to best improve the core metrics on the shop floor. 

For more information on Dell’s SAP practice, please see Technology for the Shop Floor or contact Jay Monahan, Dell’s Global Shop Floor Lead, at jay_monahan@dell.com.

Follow me at @kirstenatdell.  

About the Author: Kirsten Billhardt