Plano Molding

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Plano has been supplying outdoor enthusiasts with equipment protection and storage solutions for over 60 years. There's a four in five chance that if you own a tackle box, it was made by Plano. Plano has its own in-house injection molding for fishing tackle boxes, tool boxes and carrying cases for a number of outdoor activities, selling its products under the Plano, Frabill, Tenzing, Caboodles, and Creative Options brand names. These iconic brands, combined with industry experience, values and product quality, provide an unmatched portfolio of products for the outdoor industry.

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"Real-time planning and scheduling insights with Mattec allows us to respond to our customers faster."

Tom Dimick, director of manufacturing | Plano Molding
Company Facts
  • Location: Mendota and Sandwich, Illinois
  • Industry: Injection Molding Manufacturer
  • Web site:

  • A plan to replace the traditional paper and pencil-based approach to collecting performance data on the shop floor led Plano to consider a new manufacturing execution system to automate and optimize production processes and performance.


  • Drove bottom-line growth with real-time shop floor insights.
  • Achieved $700,000 savings in scrap improvements.
  • Enabled real-time look at production performance: OEE, scrap, uptime/downtime, cycle times.
  • Inspired new continuous improvement initiatives and teams.
  • Better planning and scheduling led to improved customer experience.

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Business Situation
Plano products are manufactured out of its Mendota and Sandwich facilities located in Illinois with its sites totaling 41 production lines. A plan to replace the traditional paper and pencil-based approach to collecting performance data on the shop floor led Plano to consider a new manufacturing execution system (MES) to automate and optimize production processes and performance. For more than 30 years, Epicor Mattec has provided Plano with a comprehensive set of MES capabilities for production scheduling, machine operation and maintenance, quality management, and real-time analytics to monitor machines and analyze machine-related data such as overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), run rates, scrap, yield, and more. 

Mattec captures data directly from machines and operators, and delivers real-time production metrics and real-time operations analytics in an easy-to-digest visual manner. Manufacturers like Plano use the system to improve on-time delivery, quality, reduce scrap and boost product throughput, helping to deliver the right product, at the right time, at the right cost. 

Getting a Handle on Plant Analytics
With Mattec, Plano can look at critical efficiency measurements, such as OEE and scrap rates, by shift, day, week, or month. Real-time production and process monitoring from Mattec helps Plano eliminate inefficiencies, like reducing scrap and unplanned downtime while also improving cycle efficiencies, so they can work more profitably. In addition, Mattec inspired the development of various continuous improvement teams and initiatives inside the company. 

"Mattec played a significant role in achieving over $700,000 worth of scrap improvement savings year-to-date, year-over-year," says Tom Dimick, director of manufacturing, Plano. In regards to scrap, it was important for Plano to establish "molded costs" (versus fixed costs) so they could evaluate scrap cost savings by very high and very low value products. "Plano is a custom molding shop that manufacturers a variety of products that are made up of parts which vary in value. 

We've been able to take the focus off looking at the percentage of scrap improvements and more towards evaluating the part's dollar value. Mattec allows us to track this information." Looking at scrap charts shows which machines are having issues with the molds; while scrap tables shows which part number has the highest scrap cost. "This information allows our team to focus on the highest-value areas and products that we need to get under control. Focusing on a percentage doesn't mean the highest dollar value." 

Machine availability and uptime has improved drastically as well. "Mattec allows us to dive into which machines and molds are having problems, giving us real-time feedback on what's happening in our plants," adds Dimick. 

Solving Problems Before They Occur
Using Mattec, Plano has become more proactive in anticipating and solving production problems before they occur. Examples of this are the real-time displays of the Top 5 OEE Machines, Bottom 5 OEE Machines, Top 5 Cycle-Efficient Machines, Top 5 Scrap Reasons, and more that are present on their plant floors. This information has a huge impact on scheduling and allows Plano to quickly determine which machines can run a particular job, which machine is most efficient for the job, and, with real-time tracking, the reasons for job delays. "Our team uses the Mattec system more than any other system we have in the company. The shop floor  insights that Mattec provides helps our team drive bottom-line growth." 

Improved Planning and Scheduling
Better planning and scheduling has also enabled Plano to significantly improve its responsiveness to customers and customer satisfaction, especially with their big-box retail clients such as Wal-Mart and Bass Pro Shop. With Mattec, Plano can click-and-drag the production schedule, change the schedule instantly based on new requirements, or watch the schedule update and adjust automatically based on actual machine speeds, production counts, equipment status, conditions or job specifications. 

"Real-time planning and scheduling insights with Mattec allows us to respond to our customers faster," adds Dimick. "This is especially critical for rush orders so when the scheduling department gets an urgent order they can instantly communicate with plant floor managers and receive optimal plans based on machine efficiencies, production line availability, materials forecasting, and other critical factors to schedule the job." 

"Mattec brings real-time data into our meetings that we never had before. Now with Mattec, we can't say 'I think or I feel'-it's true, raw data about how our plants are performing, day-by-day or yearby- year. Mattec also provides production performance reports that we can quickly and easily share with our frontline leadership. There are so many ways to use the system. We've even put kaizen events together around a specific tool or part number," concludes Dimick. With real-time shop floor insights, Mattec enables Plano to take immediate action, focus improvement efforts, and drive bottom-line results. 

About Epicor
Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industries. With more than 45 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise, and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional, and global businesses demand. For more information, visit

Epicor solutions are designed around the unique operational needs of manufacturers and are available in the cloud or on premises. Customers can better manage complexity and focus on core growth activities.

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