Steps to Ensure a “4.0” Install

A modern box plant depends heavily on its conveying system to enhance the efficiency of its operations. That's why it's so important, when it comes time for the installation of a new conveyor system, that the work is completed properly and on time. It's all about minimizing downtime and boosting your plant's throughput.

C&M Conveyor takes several critical steps to assure our customers' installations run smoothly via a "4.0" installation. The customers are part of the procedure, so it's important we engage them so they can participate in the process, which can be divided into four stages as follows.

Sales/Quoting

During the sales/quoting process, we make our customers a part of the process by engaging them at all levels of the company. This allows C&M to understand the existing machine details and specific intricacies of an existing plant by liaising at the local plant level, and also to understand the customer's higher level throughput philosophy by communicating at the corporate engineering level. By analyzing this information with the customer, C&M can produce a system design specifically tailored to meet the project requirements.

Every project receives a formal handover review as the ownership of the projects moves from the sales team to the operations team. Each project receives a project manager who becomes the single point of contact post sale, responsible then for design through installation and commissioning. He manages the project scope and schedule and resolves any issues up front with the customer. This ensures that all of our customers' needs are met, any project "surprises" are dealt with quickly and fairly, and that all of our projects are delivered successfully.

Design

Ensuring a smooth installation starts during the design process. The project engineering team works closely with the project manager to finalize the system design. The team starts on the engineering as soon as a project is sold, and proactively manages the communication with our customers to finalize any outstanding design details. By completing this process quickly after sale, we ensure that our project lead times are short, meeting the needs of the corrugated industry. Taking these steps allows C&M to minimize risk so that all our projects are delivered successfully.

At C&M Conveyor, we implement six sigma quality principles in our product design to ensure repeatable manufacturing process and increased manufacturing throughput. Feedback is garnered from all parts of the company and through the project delivery process, on top of customer feedback, to ensure we are continuously improving. A standardized product line allows us to focus our engineering on the truly project-specific special items that individual customers need to be successful.

Manufacturing

C&M has invested significantly in manufacturing process over the last 18 months. We now employ a state of the art ERP system to manage product through our production facility, allowing the manufacturing team to focus on ensuring quality and eliminating waste in our manufacturing processes. We have also invested significantly in a new laser and press brake. The flexibility of these machines allows C&M to design out errors in our products as well as increase manufacturing throughput. Finally, C&M is committed to combining our two production facilities into one, a construction project that will be complete in 2015. C&M will earn increased manufacturing efficiency through a streamlined manufacturing layout and having all manufacturing taking place on one site. By delivering on continuous improvement, C&M will continue to reduce lead times, control manufacturing schedules, and delivery projects successfully and on time.

Installation

C&M's installation support starts before the team arrives on site. Internally the engineering team formally reviews the project scope and schedule with our installation team. Project specifics are reviewed, particular focus is given to our customers' controls philosophies, project layout details, and installation sequencing regarding machine movement. Our project managers and installation technicians hold pre-installation meetings typically 30 days before start-up with our customers.

Our site team then manages the installation per installation schedule, communicating progress with our customers. Built into our schedules are risk management steps such as taking an inventory of equipment before the job starts, no site exit within 24 hours of a PLC change, and management of issues through a punch list. The final step in our installation process is a formal customer sign-off before we leave the site to ensure that the project has been delivered successfully.

In summary, our in-house installation team works closely with the customer and becomes part of its team. When that happens, planning pays off. When the customer says, "My shift starts at 6 a.m. Monday morning," we make sure the new conveyor system is running by 6 a.m. Monday morning--which is just what the doctor ordered: a "4.0" installation.