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Sistema is an iconic New Zealand based company that manufactures, markets and distributes stackable food-safe plastic kitchen storage containers. From humble beginnings in 1982, the company has grown to become a world-leading brand that exports to over 100 countries worldwide and counts its customers in the millions

A recognized innovator in the field of plastics manufacturing, the company operates from a new state-of-the-art production facility in Auckland that’s packed with automation and robotics technologies.

The challenge

To ensure its products remain internationally competitive, Sistema wants to maximize production output and quality in the most cost-effective way possible.

“Using the system has enabled us to run more machines with the same number of staff and move from a 24/7 to a 24/5 shift pattern without compromising output.”

Ten years ago, the company implemented Epicor Advanced MES (Mattec) to manage its production and assembly processes. Handling everything from scheduling to the monitoring of 10 assembly lines, Advanced MES collects and analyses data directly from equipment and operators on the shop floor to provide an up-to-the-minute view of machine and production availability.

“Without Advanced MES, our shop floor wouldn’t know what to make, or when to make it,” confirms Greg. “Using the system has enabled us to run more machines with the same number of staff and move from a 24/7 to a 24/5 shift pattern without compromising output.”

 “Integrating Epicor Kinetic with Advanced MES would allow us to connect our planning, scheduling and quality data with shop floor realities in one unified system. This would enable us to work smarter and further optimize operational efficiency.”

Maximizing manufacturing outcomes

Sistema’s pioneering production facility features a variety of automation technologies that include including robotics and vision recognition systems. Integrating Epicor Kinetic and Advanced MES has delivered real-time access to machine and quality data that can be imported into the ERP system to better plan schedules and resources.

“The ability to pull data into a seamless bi-directional information environment means we can now plan more effectively and identify efficiency opportunities that go beyond those generated by automation alone—for example, improved job scheduling, better cycling of things like color changes, and minimizing downtimes between jobs,” explains Greg.

“We’ve also integrated our warehouse management system (WMS) with Epicor Kinetic—today our WMS knows the location of everything, while Epicor Kinetic reconciles stock in and out of the WMS.”

Tight integration and real-time feedback between the Epicor Kinetic, MES and other systems has been enabled by an Epicor REST API that delivers a holistic view of the entire operation—delivering the real-time insights Sistema needs to pinpoint critical issues, reduce waste, and improve quality and customer service.

“Without the two systems, we wouldn’t be able to run an effective operation. Everyone in the business can see the same data and easily review and discuss findings. It also helps us to target the top exception issues and focus effort where it’s needed the most,” continues Greg.

“For example, we can now highlight to the shop floor if we’ve got a job running but haven’t done an inspection plan for it—helping production supervisors to stay on top of things while adding depth and dimension to the production data delivered to operators via touch screens on the shop floor.”

Future-proofing operations for enhanced performance

Having successfully leveraged an integrated ERP and MES platform to streamline production and generate additional efficiencies, Sistema is about to embark on a series of additional connectivity initiatives that will enable truly smart manufacturing.

“Next we plan to harness the two systems to generate predictive analytics that will tell us what will go wrong, when, and why. This will enable us to initiate a maintenance avoidance strategy that ensures our production never misses a beat,” explains Greg.

To enable these granular insights, the firm is initiating sensors on all its machines and pulling this data into Epicor and extending its quality assurance into Epicor Kinetic/Advanced MES too. Finally, a project is underway to deliver video work instructions direct to the shop floor using Epicor Kinetic, Epicor ECM and the Epicor REST API.

Business intelligence that drives growth

Delivering a real-time digitalized close loop between business systems and the plant floor that’s essential for improving operational effectiveness and responsiveness is just one of the gains that’s resulted from the integration of Epicor Kinetic and Advanced MES.

"Everything comes back to Epicor Kinetic, which gives us an enterprise-wide view of business operations and costs that supports better, more informed decision making."

The availability of unified business intelligence from across the organization is helping to make the company fit, fast and flexible for future market growth.

“We now have a single source of truth and one source of data that’s vital for our finance and operational teams, rather than multiple systems containing parts of the story. Everything comes back to Epicor Kinetic, which gives us an enterprise-wide view of business operations and costs that supports better, more informed decision making,” says Greg.

“Not only can we better utilize shop floor data to better plan to meet customer demand and seamlessly automate multiple processes to drive down costs, we’re also able to improve efficiency across our business operations and, in the future, predict what the future will look like.”

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Overview

  • Location: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Specialist Industry: Plastics and Rubber Manufacturing
  • Website: www.sistemaplastics.com

Challenges

  • Consolidating ERP/MRP and numerous other data sources for analysis.
  • Enhancing production metrics to uncover production and supply chain inefficiencies.

Benefits

  • Automated data and reporting throughout the business.
  • Provided a systematic, proactive method of data analysis.
  • Dashboards are easily created inhouse for operations and executives.
  • Growth is 20% year on year, and Sistema have increased OEE to 85% with a goal of increasing that to 90% in the next year.
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