J&W Swiss Machine has embraced the future of using production intelligence to dramatically increase performance on the factory floor, gain awareness of activity, and have critical access to data that unlock efficiency and, more importantly, growth opportunities.
When we first met with Jim and Wayne, we realized they are a great example of a leading shop because they think differently regarding data. They lead their company focused on leveraging data to improve every single part of their business and think strategically about the company’s expansion. It has resulted in a partnership with us and the deployment of the Datanomix Platform across their North Grosvenordale, CT facility.
J&W Swiss Machine was established in 2013, providing a wide range of precision-machined parts serving the aerospace, medical and commercial manufacturing markets. Owners Jim and Wayne have over four decades of experience with Swiss-style turning machines and are well known for their ability to produce high quality difficult to machine parts.
They pride themselves on innovation in manufacturing and always taking in and solving the more challenging machining problems. Consistency and efficiency are the keys to winning—being able to hit a dimension or tolerance over thousands of parts is about controlling the fine details of the process.
We had a chance to interview Jim and Wayne at their shop, and we now understand what makes them a top-tier manufacturing company in Northeast Connecticut.
What are your biggest challenges and opportunities on the production floor and in your business?
As a 24-hour Swiss turning shop, it is all about efficiency. That means everything from how we procure our materials, set up our jobs, run our machines, and prepare our shipments. If we can be very efficient in every aspect of our business, it helps us win more work consistently.
How does technology factor into your plans for growing your business?
Technology is critical to us because we are focused on efficiency. Not every technology out there delivers on the promise to increase efficiency, but many do. In the last year alone, we’ve invested in production monitoring, record keeping, and better Internet/wifi in our shop to support new technologies.
By coupling our efficiency goals to what the machine data tell us about the performance of running jobs, the KPIs become highly directed. We needed our machines to give us real-time and accurate information on dozens of different production dimensions, allowing us to be predictable to our customers and prescriptive on how and where we direct our staff.
What drew you to the Datanomix product?
I’ve been in the industry for over 25 years and believe in using data to improve our processes. When we saw this product and how much it knew about our jobs, we knew this tool could help us. I’ve had systems in the past that could tell efficiency, things like utilization, when the machine is on/off, but this system is much more intelligent than that— it has benchmarks for each job around cycle time, utilization, parts/hr— it knows our jobs as well as we do. I also liked that the Datanomix system does not require anything from our operators. The data we are getting helps our operators focus more on running their machines rather than taking them away from running their machines. The Datanomix scoring system for production is a laser guidance system where we spend our time improving outcomes.
What were your biggest takeaways and improvements in the first few months of using Datanomix?
Consistency and predictability in performance. We know exactly where each job stands and why. The scores motivate the team to hit our production targets, and we use the data to do morning reviews of performance as well as troubleshoot jobs that aren’t performing where they should be.
How does Datanomix fit into your daily routine?
The morning starts with the daily digest e-mails that make me aware of what happened overnight and what jobs might need special attention today. In the shop, we have two giant TVs that always run Datanomix’s TV Mode. One is on the production floor, and the other is in the shipping area. It lets us see exactly how jobs are doing from anywhere in the building. We are very focused on ensuring we produce to our target cycle times, so we hit our part counts at the end of the day. The production scores and the additional metrics let me see where we’re running ahead or behind and where to focus attention in the here and now. We no longer wait to count parts at the end of the day to know if it’s been a good or bad day.
What advice would you give to other shop owners evaluating the idea of pulling data from the production floor to help run their business?
We have had owners of other shops come in and see what we have on the TVs, and they want to know what it is and how it knows so much about our jobs. I would tell people they should embrace data; there’s no harm in understanding your data better, and with that data, you are on the road to improvement. There is no doubt this is the way of the future, and if you don’t understand the data and another shop, you will have a hard time competing.
Datanomix Delivers ROI
Since installing Datanomix, J&W Swiss has seen a 13% increase in conformance to target cycle times, which it estimates has improved its on-time delivery by 1.5 days on average, and its overall factory throughput has increased by 15%. The company has increased customer satisfaction and unlocked available capacity to bring in more business on its existing equipment.