Customer Spotlight: David Packard Company

DPC chooses Datanomix production monitoring as a key building block in architecting future company growth and improves shop utilization as a short term solution prior to expanding their facility

Located in Oxford, Massachusetts, David Packard Company (DPC) is a full service machining facility with over 30 years of experience in CNC milling and turning of metal parts in a 50,000 square foot facility. DPC has deep relationships with a wide variety of customers in medical, defense, firearms, fiber optics, telecommunications and commercial applications. If you have the good fortune to attend a baseball game this season, you will likely be sitting in a seat with components made by DPC. In 2020, DPC was tapped to support the building of thousands of parts for defibrillators and ventilators. In order to keep up with demand the company manages 2 fully staffed shifts with some unattended run time overnight.

2020 presented new challenges for DPC as the pandemic put pressure on component suppliers to meet unforeseen demands from their customers. Tom Vinal, operations manager at DPC, commented on the company’s recent growth saying, “2020 was a record year for the company with 20% growth on topline, more than tripling previous years.” Vinal attributes the success to a spike in demand from their medical customers who were scrambling to meet demand for medical equipment in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. “While some customers were faced with shutdowns, others could not produce enough to meet new demand from the government. Packard was well positioned, with a diverse set of customers and industries driving growth through the turbulence, coming out even stronger on the other side,” commented Vinal.

Matt Dipietro, president and owner of DPC sees new tailwinds in the market and is now architecting a game plan for growth, giving careful consideration to creative dimensions including physical plant expansion and potential acquisition strategies. They’ve filed plans with the town to expand the existing facility, but the approval process takes time. Not having any more floor space for new machine capacity, they need to find ways to get more out of the existing factory. Foundational in his thinking is the strategic integration of technology to drive new levels of productivity, efficiency and leverage across the existing operators and capital resources. Dipietro commented, “I know we can unlock 20% of additional capacity from our existing base to fill the influx of new business coming in while we put plans in place to expand our facilities. We need to change the way we think about running the business and how we integrate technology into our management philosophy. It’s no longer optional.”

Tom Vinal (Left) and Matt Dipietro (Right) discuss factory plan using Datanomix in their daily meeting

During a visit to one of their partners J&W Swiss, Matt and Tom were given an introduction to the Datanomix Software broadcasting production scores on TVs around the factory floor. Owner Jim Langlois spent 30 minutes demonstrating the power of the Datanomix software and the TV Mode broadcasting system to both Matt and Tom. They asked for an introduction to the Datanomix team and the first meeting happened very quickly. In total, it lasted about 34 minutes. The Packard team saw the demo of the software and Dipietro asked 3 simple questions, “How much is it? What does it take to install? When can we have it?”  

The factory installation took a few hours to complete. Mostly network connectivity and setting controller IP addresses for data access. DPC had full access to live production data the next morning through their Datanomix interface. TV monitors were mounted on the factory walls and in the cafeteria. Whether people were working or on break, they know exactly where each job was on the floor and how it was performing compared to expected benchmarks. After an hour of training the team was off and running. 

Reflecting upon where the factory was before the use of Datanomix software, the business leaders highlighted some stark differences in information flow, speed of root cause analysis, true KPI measurement and overall productivity of not only the operators, but also the entire leadership team. Dipietro sees “a combined 15% increase in factory output after implementing the Datanomix software.” Their observations include:

Cell reporting gives an overview of job performance in that work cell on a daily basis. As demand increases at DPC, increasing production scores correlates to faster customer delivery cycles and higher predictability.
  • Factory Visualization and Notification System: The “giant” information disconnect between the factory floor and the offices which are on separate floors was completely eliminated because every member of the company now has the factory visualized using Datanomix on their monitors and smart devices. Two of the three machine experts residing on the second floor are now responding to a machine down situation in seconds when in the past, it could take a few hours. The lost productivity due to downtime was significant. 

  • Production Intelligence Reporting: Datanomix software “replaces 15 different report running exercises” that Matt, Tom and Ray (Supervisor)  run on a weekly basis with a single application. No more assembling data – the answers are available in the morning coffee cup report and at a glance in TV Mode on the floor. Hours of time are recovered by having this product always-on, always-knowing key statistics.

    • “The actual shop KPI’s like set-up time, tool breakage stats, first part complete times, and exact cycle times are readily available to everyone in production, collected over time, trackable and most importantly, actionable.” 

    • Hours spent chasing down problems have been eliminated because Datanomix closely tracks alarms and lengthy waiting times, alerting Ray that intervention is required if the job is going to stay on target. 

    • “Probably the most important statistic for DPC is cycle time reporting.” Knowing the exact cycle time on a job allows Matt and his team to be very precise in quoting jobs and completion dates to customers. This predictive delivery forecasting capability alone improved factory floor efficiency by an order of magnitude.   

    • Morning coffee cup reports are delivered to the staff at 6:00 am each day. Matt and the team use the report to huddle on corrective action plans and go right to work building alignment across the organization.  People who would not normally get involved in problem solving are actively helping others on the production floor achieve greater results. The system has driven new levels of unity amongst the operators.

  • Shift in the management model to predictive intervention to keep jobs on track in the factory. Dipietro “We can see emerging patterns in the Datanomix information that indicates to us that a job is in jeopardy and we now proactively address it instead of waiting for things to happen and have the operator notify or ask for help, senior machinists on the floor are working with others to help them keep their jobs locked on delivery dates and quality goals.”

Production intelligence is now at the core of Packard’s management philosophy. With Datanomix they see the entire operation visualized in a single place with actual data from the machines processed, tabulated and displayed across the company in real time. The principals have seen a shift in the operating culture to one where patterns of performance are recognized and operationalized by the staff in a results driven and measurable way. Real-time data processing has paved the path forward for the David Packard Company to continue their growth so when they fill their expanded space, they know they’ll be performing up to expected standards and with a production management approach that maximizes efficiency of machines, people, and jobs.

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