EMI Down Under

Bruce Moy, a director and chief engineer at G. James Australia Pty. Ltd, is a big fan of Manufacturing Operations Center (MOC), an enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) product introduced last October by Oracle Corp., Redwood Shores, Calif.

Bruce Moy, G. James Australia Pty Ltd
Bruce Moy, G. James Australia Pty Ltd
MOC offers “exactly what we wanted,” says Moy. “It spreads itself across shop floor control right up to high level ERP (enterprise resource planning) level management,” he notes, adding that the extensive data manipulation capabilities offered by the product were a big selling point for G. James, a Brisbane, Australia-based glass and aluminum products manufacturer.

As the first Oracle customer to go live with MOC in a pilot operation last September, G. James is not yet using the product to its full capability, pending delivery of some components as part of a rollout of Oracle’s E-Business Suite R12 ERP system. But already, MOC is “starting to make a difference to our bottom line,” says Moy.

Get a clue

In the pilot, G. James is using MOC to monitor more than a dozen individual computer numerical control (CNC) milling machines, wire cutting machines and spark erosion discharge machines in a division that makes aluminum extrusion die toolage. These machines previously had little external communication, says Moy. “Given that they were turning over about a half million dollars a month, we thought it was time that we put something in there that gave us a clue as to what they were doing,” he quips.

In the early going, the company has not yet implemented MOC shop floor connectors to link the software system directly to the machines’ control systems. Instead, operators currently enter data on machine operations into spreadsheets, which is downloaded into the MOC package. But the resulting information presented on out-of-the-box MOC dashboards has already enabled supervisors to more efficiently schedule resources, producing a 5 percent improvement in productivity, says Moy.

High expectations

As the Oracle E-Business Suite rollout progresses, Moy expects that by the end of 2010, four out of G. James’ five divisions will have MOC running as a shop-floor reporting tool with links to the ERP system. The broadest scope will come at a division that operates a fully automatic glass cutting and processing shop. “They’re looking at MOC for product tracking, getting some job costing information on processing through their various machines, and also linking back to their order entry system so that they get accurate and reliable delivery information for customers,” Moy relates.

In the end, Moy has high expectations for MOC’s impact on the G. James business. The justification for the purchase was based on expectations of a 10 percent improvement to the bottom line. That projection hinged on savings related to reduced data entry, data errors and manual data manipulation requirements alone, he says, due to MOC’s ability to report real shop floor conditions directly into the management systems. But based on what he’s seen so far, Moy observes, “I really think that 10 percent figure is terribly conservative.”

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