PFM Helps Manufacturer Achieve Better Lead Times

Graphicast, Inc., a single-source provider of precision metal parts for commercial and industrial product OEMs, had traditionally managed shop floor production using finite scheduling in their existing ERP.

Though the system initially helped Graphicast get a better handle on production scheduling, the custom manufacturer soon began to struggle with an increasingly chaotic production process and longer lead times.

In 2008, Graphicast installed a drum buffer rope system that helped cut those longer lead times in half, a successful reduction until early 2017, when a sudden influx of orders for immediate shipment disrupted shop floor production.

Despite adding overtime to boost capacity, Graphicast faced a serious demand and delivery dilemma.

Recovering from the Production Blues

Graphicast made the switch to Protected Flow Manufacturing™ (PFM) in April 2017, and the results were immediate.

Despite still having more orders than capacity, Graphicast went from shipping four weeks late to one week late in only a few months using PFM’s Threat-Level Prioritization to gain better visibility into job delays and address the root causes.

Today, Graphicast continues to improve lead times by using PFM’s Predictor and Flow Analysis features to see how future expedited order requests will impact overall production, including:

  • How much excess capacity they’ll need to maintain to be able to drop expedited orders in and out of sequence without disrupting other jobs
  • Where gaps in casting and machining capacity will open up and allow jobs to be pulled into production sooner

With PFM, we were fully prepared to meet new customer deliveries. Rather than being overwhelmed, we are utilizing systematic priorities enabling us to make better decisions in a truly dynamic environment.
Val Zanchuk
Graphicast, Inc.