Throughput up and real-time information
visibility sharper at Malnove
About the company
Malnove is family-owned folding carton packaging company founded 70 years ago. It delivers complete packaging services from design to production and shipping, specializing in custom work.
Clients include a host of widely known consumer brands in the food-based business such as Hostess, Cliff Bars, Kind, and See’s Candies. With origins in Omaha, Nebraska, the company now operates additional production facilities in Florida and Utah, from which it serves all of North America.
Any modern packaging company that seeks a competitive advantage needs to streamline its operations and achieve efficiencies. It needs to collect the right data to drive nimble responsiveness and strategic decisions. Staying at the innovative edge of technology also is a must. Malnove, a long-time eProductivity Software client, was already leveraging the advantages of eProductivity Software Radius®, the leading MIS system for folding carton enterprises, to significant success.
After 70 years in business, Malnove was going strong with its high-profile clients in the food-based sector and had expanded operations to three states. Last year, the company decided to continue its modernization and centralize its data-collection capacity. Among other things, the management team needed fullplant visibility on the entire operation.
To reach its goal, the company chose eProductivity Software Auto-Count® 4D (AC4D) shop floor data collection technology. Ace Santiago, IT Systems Analyst at Malnove and the lead team member for implementing the system, notes, “Auto- Count 4D fit the bill for us. Our management wanted real-time data for all machines on the floor, including the presses.
We wanted more detailed reports for associates and managers that are easier to read and decipher so that our teams can research any issue that might arise.” AC4D, a shop-floor production intelligence platform, automatically collects accurate, up-to-the-minute production data, including counts, press status, speed, and other critical information from running equipment.
Integrating directly into the Radius MIS/ERP system, AC4D provides the critical data that allows managers to improve production processes, decrease waste and downtime, increase output, and optimize estimating and production.
At Malnove, managers were looking for better performance dashboards and plant-view visibility. And, they wanted press and sheeter operators to have access to those dashboards in order to track their productivity.
“Additionally, we did our research and really liked how user-friendly AC4D is to learn and operate, and how easily we could train our operators to use it,” says Santiago. “Visually, AC4D is a very clean system that makes it more intuitive to use. It’s a very innovative platform that’s visually cleaner.”
Less waste, more efficiency, better morale
Improved data collection is already underway in the two Malnove plants that have installed AC4D. The third one will come on board in early 2021. Malnove is currently capturing data such as the number of sheets that pass through the presses and the number of cartons that run through the system. Now, those plants can accurately calculate and report on production times.
The company has a better understanding of down periods when production slows, and senior managers get a more nuanced view of productivity thanks to AC4D’s ability to calculate average equipment speeds across the plants’ printing, finishing, and gluing operations.
Malnove’s leaders can look up information easily through a browser that generates full-plant visibility on every machine on the floor.
The ability to see what’s happening in each plant using AC4D gives a new level of data access that helps the company make smarter, informed decisions. “Managers are very happy,” Santiago says.
“The system is easy to use and decipher, and it’s accessible remotely.” Since implementation, Malnove has seen many improvements. “We have visibility of real-time production, which has been greatly improved,” according to Santiago.
“We like the real-time aspect of how Auto-Count delivers information to us.” “We know the downtimes on the machines; we understand why and how long they’re down for,” he adds.
“We are scheduling jobs more efficiently. When we do experience downtime, we can drill down to investigate why so many repairs are needed, for example, and figure out how to fix the situation.”
Efficiency is improving, and throughput is increasing. “We can improve production throughputs because we have the knowledge,” explains Santiago.
“We’ve improved our inventory accuracy, and critically, we have better information on our waste. The ability to track waste is key for us, and we pinpoint it a lot better.” Prior to installing AC4D, operators had no idea what they had accomplished at the end of their shifts.
The advanced shop floor data collection system “shows them how productive they’ve been. It not only pushes them to meet their targets, but if they feel they won the day, it’s a real morale booster,” reports Santiago
"We’ve improved our inventory accuracy, and critically, we have better “ information on our waste."Ace Santiago IT Systems Analyst, Malnove
Smooth installation despite pandemic challenges
With the software running at Malnove’s Utah plants, the company is looking forward to a fuller implementation. Currently, 70% of the work at Malnove’s Jacksonville, Florida, plant runs through AC4D, and that will go up to 100% in late 2020.
In early 2021, Malnove will begin implementing AC4D at its third plant in Omaha, Nebraska. Santiago reports the installations have gone very smoothly, an impressive and notable achievement given the pandemic requirements for remote training and installation.
eProductivity Software support teams trained him on the software for a month before training started for teams through the installation process. Santiago himself has trained about 80+ equipment operators at all three plants to use AC4D. “eProductivity Software usually sends representatives and technicians, but this time everything was done remotely, and with minimal contact. We always ask for on-site support. Doing it this way was nervewracking, and we really didn’t think it would go smoothly, but we were able to fire up an entire plant in two weeks,” Santiago says.
“The support we received from eProductivity Software to make that happen was excellent. The experience was so positive, with no disconnect. Our answers were always answered quickly and efficiently,” he adds. “This has been amazing.”