Systima sees quick payback on material life and location tracking software

Published
January 21, 2020 - 09:30am
Systima sees quick payback on material life and location tracking software

Article from JETCAM International s.a.r.l.

Systima Technologies Inc., Kirkland, Washington, manufactures components for the defense, space and commercial markets. The company was founded in 2008 but has quadrupled in the four years since 2015. Materials and Process Engineer Marc Staiger realized early on that the forecast growth would require them to have better material management; “At that time we had around 20 rolls on-site, which we were managing out time with Excel spreadsheets, but information was not up-to-date and was scattered across PCs across the network. Also, it involved a lot of manual work counting out-time.”

At that time Systima had recently purchased JETCAM’s Expert nesting software to drive their GFM knife cutter and OMAX waterjet and were made aware that JETCAM also had a product that could replace their spreadsheets with a more elegant, expandable solution - CrossTrack MTL. Staiger said, “The company was already happy with the JETCAM nesting product and its support, so it made sense to look at their material tracking solution.”

After an online demo the decision was made to select CrossTrack MTL and a date was scheduled for remote installation and training. CrossTrack MTL uses MS SQL Server database platform and can also use the free SQL Express version. Installation and training was performed in just a couple of hours.


At the time of installation Systima had four freezers but are in the process of adding a fifth. Staiger noted that CrossTrack MTL’s flexible location creation has allowed them a deep level of granularity for locating material; “We’ve now got stock logged down to shelf location. So, staff can go directly to a shelf and only have to look at four to five rolls on the shelf to find the right one. This is a considerable time-saver. Previously we were easily spending one to two hours a day looking for rolls across the different locations.”

The ability to sort stock by expiry and location proved immediately beneficial, with Staiger citing that the savings in this area alone being huge; “Before there was easily at least one roll or even a batch per month that could be at risk of being expired. This meant either scrapping a roll worth $5,000 or going through the expense and tying up the resources of having it recertified. With CrossTrack MTL we can organize by expiry and operate on a First In, First Out (FIFO) basis. The software will have paid for itself within a couple of months in material savings alone.”

Staiger appreciated the visual elements within the tabular data that CrossTrack provides; “I really like the percentage status bars that are shown within the grids that display information such as roll length or out-time. These visuals really help you to digest the information easier.”

Another useful feature for Staiger has been document linking, where documents can be linked to a given material roll, batch, assembly or kit; “This has been useful in keeping all of the receiving information tied to material lots, and has been helpful with interfacing with quality control, pulling up Certificate of Conformity information on the shop floor, etc.”

Systima regularly uses CrossTrack MTL’s built-in reports engine, which allows users to create complex queries against the database and export the results; “This has been really useful as we can easily export it to Excel. It’s helped us with working out volumes, projected usage, etc,” Staiger said. A traceability report for a single roll or kit can also be generated within a couple of mouse clicks.

Support through U.S. distributor NestOne has been excellent, with Staiger being pleased the few times that he’s needed to use it; “Technical support is awesome. We always get a prompt response whenever we have a question.”

Staff have also taken advantage of JETCAM’s "University" - an online video tutorial system comprising of hundreds of short videos covering all products. Since implementation staff have watched nearly 400 videos, allowing them to get answers to common questions at any time.

Although Systima currently uses CrossTrack MTL independently of its JETCAM Expert nesting implementation, Systima has the option of upgrading to a more integrated solution that will provide nest scheduling, automatically select the best roll to cut when a nest is scheduled and track location and life down to ply level. Mobile apps are also available for iOS and Android devices.

The company has seen significant growth in the last few years, with the number of rolls held in stock now over 150 and a second facility opening nearby. Staiger concluded; “CrossTrack’s flexibility and expandability will make it even more pivotal for us to maintain control over our material and helping with planning, purchasing and quality.”

Highlights:

  • System paid for itself in 1-2 months in material savings alone
  • Saving 1-2 hours per day on roll location management
  • Flexible location setup allows for tracking down to shelf location
  • Sorting by roll expiry allows for FIFO usage
  • Can associate documents with rolls, batches, assemblies and kits
  • Upgrade path to full integrated nesting, scheduling and life tracking to ply level
  • Remotely installed and trained
  • Excellent technical support
  • Online videos aid learning

Related Glossary Terms

  • quality assurance ( quality control)

    quality assurance ( quality control)

    Terms denoting a formal program for monitoring product quality. The denotations are the same, but QC typically connotes a more traditional postmachining inspection system, while QA implies a more comprehensive approach, with emphasis on “total quality,” broad quality principles, statistical process control and other statistical methods.

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