Who is Tamarack Products?
Tamarack Products was founded in 1969 and is a leading global manufacturer of specialized equipment used in the packaging, label, and business form industries. Recognized worldwide for providing high-quality machinery, Tamarack designs and manufactures systems for inline film/window patching, RFID inlay insertion systems, web finishing equipment, and other applications.
With 33 employees today and revenues approaching 10 million, the company attributes its success and high customer satisfaction to providing exceptional service with responsiveness to customer needs, customized solutions, and high-quality, precision equipment. Tamarack Products ensures that their customers’ equipment is up and running to their specifications with on-site installation, training, and service.
For this job shop, being competitive is about maximizing output without adding to headcount. While many shops struggle to maintain the status quo and grow through the industry’s turmoil, Tamarack’s production capacity has increased. That’s an even more impressive feat, considering the company has had an average headcount of 33 employees for several years.
Tamarack had already been working with JobBOSS² and knew they needed to increase machine utilization to gain more shop floor efficiency and production—especially given the industry’s economic conditions. Naturally, they thought, Alora made sense due to its integration with the JobBOSS² enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution from ECI Software Solutions. Tamarack also recently purchased two new machines and wanted to see how well the equipment was being utilized. Alora would be able to provide the detail by machine at a job, order, or operator level given the integration of data between the machines and JobBOSS².
“I know when the machine shop finished every part, and I know about the utilization of each machine going into each part. That’s essential to our profitability and being able to provide accurate estimates on similar jobs going forward.”
Stephanie Felber, comptroller at Tamarack Products, and the team at ECI led Tamarack through a six-month implementation process. ECI’s team set up Alora, transitioned the machines and operators to the software, tested the system’s communications capabilities, made sure the system was running smoothly, and trained Tamarack’s operators. The company plans to set up monitors at each station. For now, the Shop Manager reports the utilization data to the team on a weekly basis.
“By Alora showing the utilization on a timely basis by machine and the average for the week, we can address it. That’s really important when we have multiple travelers for a machine that could be running 24/7 if we had the manpower.”
In talking to Stephanie and her team, it’s clear there are different processes going on at once in this busy shop. Often, the resolution is to pull the part out, reset the machine, put everything back in and do another process on the parts going through production. There may still be some downtime, but well-timed switchovers improve process efficiency and machine utilization. Tamarack can track real-time machine utilization and downtime and explain the reason for the increase or decrease on a weekly basis.
“To date, we’ve had a 10% increase in machine utilization overall, and we know that Alora can help us to continue to further increase our efficiency,” Stephanie proudly reports.
Change is challenging, especially for experienced machine operators who have been doing things the same way for 10 years, but JobBOSS²/Alora is giving Tamarack’s team the opportunity and the insights to make those necessary improvements. It’s about empowering the company’s machine operators to look at the data and proactively find solutions. From Stephanie’s perspective, “It’s about creating those ‘a-ha’ moments!”
Now that the team is becoming proficient with the software, and data is being stored historically, the software should prompt the production manager to give specific guidance in terms of sequencing. As Stephanie puts it, “Put this part over here and start this part over there, because this part is taking two hours and that part takes 15 minutes. So, you start the two-hour job, then go over to the 15-minute job.
“This is leadership in action, solving the machine sequence puzzle, and JobBOSS²/Alora helps us to piece it together in a way that we wouldn’t be able to without it.”
“Alora along with JobBOSS² can show us what we need to do, when we need to do it, and how quickly we can do it.”