PFM Helps Manufacturer Overcome Shifting Priorities and Missed Deliveries
Founded in 1982 and located in Jeanerette, Louisiana, Streamline Industries provides high quality machining services and custom manufacturing of specialized equipment to a wide range of industries including oil & gas, chemical plants, marine, mining, agriculture and more. Streamline Industries has been a LillyWorks customer with Protected Flow Manufacturing (PFM) since March of 2020.
Streamline Industries was struggling to consistently meet their commitments for on-time deliveries. Production managers were faced with juggling multiple jobs with varying levels of urgency. Company leaders could clearly see an underlying problem - Streamline needed a better system for prioritizing and scheduling jobs.
We knew we needed to do something different, but none of the scheduling software we had ever tried offered the flexibility we wanted, until PFM.
-- Tyra Riley, General Manager, Streamline Industries
Streamline Industries uses JobBOSS for most of their core ERP functions. After investing significant time and resources trying to get that system’s scheduling features to work, Project Manager Derek Segura concluded that it simply couldn’t meet their needs. “The existing system just didn’t fit the way our company operates,” he said. General Manager Tyra Riley agreed, “In a shop like ours, things are constantly changing. Jobs come up on short notice and priorities can change frequently. In our old system, it took an act of Congress to move the schedule around the way we needed to.” The lack of a flexible scheduling function was creating some very real problems for the company. Production Managers struggled to make do with a mix of spreadsheets and human recollection, but that wasn’t enough. “We often missed our delivery dates,” Tyra explained, “and we were constantly struggling to figure out what the immediate priorities on the shop floor should be. Urgent jobs were getting delayed, while lower-priority jobs were getting done that could have waited. We knew we needed to do things differently, but none of the scheduling software we had ever tried offered the flexibility we wanted.”
Protected Flow Manufacturing: A New Paradigm
That’s when Streamline discovered LillyWorks PFM. Tyra came across an article about PFM in Modern Machine Shop magazine. “The article described how PFM works very differently than most traditional scheduling tools,” she said. PFM offered a new way of thinking about job scheduling, creating greater agility for companies facing rapidly shifting demands. “We were intrigued by the idea of real-time prioritization,” said Tyra, “and we felt that it could serve our shop floor needs much better than a product that simply places job on the calendar.”
We were intrigued by the idea of the real-time prioritization capabilities in Protected Flow Manufacturing.
--Tyra Riley, General Manager
The company arranged to see a demo of PFM, but they weren’t sold on the product right away. Company leaders at Streamline were reluctant to invest money in something they were unsure of, but PFM’s subscription model and low up-front costs enabled the company to try it out as a proof-of-concept. LillyWorks worked with stakeholders at Streamline to help them get to know the software more thoroughly, and to understand exactly how it could solve Streamline’s business problem. Eventually, that gave them the confidence to move forward with PFM as a permanent solution to their scheduling problem.
We have come to trust that if we do what PFM tells us to do then we are going to be in good shape
– Derek Segura, Project Manager
THE RESULTS: Streamline Industries has seen a dramatic improvement in on-time delivery performance. From a monthly low of less than 70% on-time before PFM, the company has achieved 100% on-time deliveries for the last two months and has exceeded 95% for four of the past five months. With PFM’s Predictor, Streamline’s production managers can simulate hundreds of work orders in a matter of minutes, predict potential bottlenecks, and take action to avert problems before they turn into major issues. According to Derek Segura, the results have been outstanding: “our team has been wanting something like PFM for a long time. Our production scheduler, in particular, was tired of just winging it. We fought with on-time delivery for most of last year. Now we’re exactly where we want to be, operating much more efficiently and consistently getting jobs out the door on-time.”
We have confidence in the numbers we see in PFM regarding when the customer is going to get their parts. – Derek Segura, Project Manager
PFM has also improved the company’s ability to negotiate realistic delivery dates. General Manager Tyra Riley explains: “With PFM I can verify that we can meet that delivery date before we accept the purchase order. It helps me negotiate a realistic delivery date up front.”
The team also can answer customers’ inquiries with greater confidence. They have come to trust the numbers they get from PFM and are able to provide accurate information about orders. “Before PFM, ” said Derek, “if a customer called asking when they were going to get their parts, it felt a bit like shooting from the hip. Now, we have confidence in the numbers we see in PFM.” As a manager, Tyra Riley is enjoying improved visibility into the production process. “When my production manager is not available, I like being able to look at the priorities for any resource and to make sure that they are on the right track, working on the right job.”
Continuous Improvement: A Perfect Fit Gets Even Better
After a full year using LillyWorks PFM for production scheduling, the team at Streamline has come to greatly appreciate the value of the PFM approach. Despite some initial reluctance to trust the soware’s recommendations, they’ve gained confidence in the data because they’ve seen the results first-hand. Streamline’s journey won’t end there, though. The company plans to continue fine-tuning PFM to further improve their efficiency and effectiveness. “LillyWorks has helped us to adjust the configuration to the point where it felt like PFM was made just for our company,” Derek explained. Throughout the process, Streamline has developed a strong collaborative relationship with LillyWorks. Tyra describes her experience with the partnership: “LillyWorks has been open to listening and to helping us customize PFM to meet our needs. I’ve never had that experience with any other software company.” Derek echoed those sentiments: “I don’t know that we could have done it without the support from LillyWorks. It was second to none.”