We were hired by a manufacturing/engineering company to help them with a number of issues with regard to their products, product management, and management of their technology.
The initial needs were to help them create the human-machine interface (or central controller or HMI) that drives the user experience for, and controls, one of their major revenue-driving products. We also needed to optimize their control strategy, meaning which users are allowed, under what circumstances, and the security requirements needed, for all features and functions inside that product.
They also asked to provide all of the technical documentation for our work along with training, management and testing.
They were in the process of switching vendors and needed help managing the work and workflow. There was a lot to deal with.
When we had a chance to assess the situation, we realized the mission would be to help them modify their core software product and their peripheral controls software, including the central controller, and create new action profiles in the core software product.
What we also found along the way were they lacked documentation for their core software product, their HMI software, and their product management processes.
We also found:
- A lack of a sound back up system,
- A lack of strong inventory control,
- A lack of true measurement of their machining times, which was causing client delays,
- A lack of a facility security strategy,
- A lack of a unified networking solution, and
- A lack of security controls for their intellectual property.
While things appeared to be working smoothly from the outside, it was far from the case. There was a lot of inefficiency in many of their processes.
After the ROI Assessment, we started to put a Roadmap in place.
We started by establishing new processes for their core product that involved planning R&D features and the implementation and testing of those new features.
We did the same for their peripheral controls software, but also added a clickable mockup and delivered a new experience design.
We disentangled much of the code for their core software product so that each module was understood separately that was then architected into a better process for loading and running profiles.
We designed and recommended a new backup system; implementing a portion of it with buy-in from leadership.
We implemented new software for their inventory to allow them to manage the process better. Their system manages more than 5,000 SKUs with an inventory valued at more than $6MM.
We created a method and system to pool the production data from the manufacturing machines that allowed for production reports to fully understand machining times.
We implemented new protocols for their cloud-managed distributed wireless network that works with a new firewall.
And we firmed up their security controls by whitelisting and blacklisting information, and produced a complete role-based access control solution to their IP and other important documents.
When we got to the end of our work, we created a substantial amount of positive change.
We created repeatable, easy-to-execute, and documented processes and standards where there were none prior, reducing select time-to-diagnose maintenance issues by 90% and reduced overall maintenance effort to 1/5th of the time it used to take.
We reduced code review; and related processes reduced errors in code by 12%, and reduced time-to-deliver edits to a third of what they had been previously.
We doubled the efficiency of their peripheral controls software.
And we improved performance of the core control product by 36% when running the new profiles;
And we helped reduce the cost of the device using this software by $2MM per build!! Giving significant company savings in labor in particular.
We consolidated more than 300,000 pages of technical documents and drawings; reduced manual retention and backups activities to 1/10th of what they were and automated processes that produced immediate savings of over 400 man-hours, which equals 10 weeks of work.
We established a sound and robust security environment for the entire company per their overall risk profile.
When the processes were put into place, we converted 100% of key personnel and 80% of non-key personnel to security solutions within the first 3 months.
The new networking solution reduced their intrusion rate by 200% and created a system to capture and quarantine threats that now captures more than 500 attempts per month.
The new inventory system that we helped establish reduced errors by a 5x factor and solved issues that caused the delay in a $500K payment, which was already delayed by 6 months, with negative effects on the company’s cash flow.
The new production management procedures improved production rates by over 12%, reduced inefficiencies to 1/3 of previous levels and brought machine downtime down by more than 25%.
This project was quite an undertaking and we made solid progress with their product management. Following a clear ROI Assessment and putting a solid Roadmap into place to correct the issues, our client realized a lot of gain, saved a significant amount of money, and enjoyed a more secure and efficient company.
If you’d like to learn more about our proprietary method for controlling costs, risks and integrations with your engineering projects and technology, reach out to schedule a quick 20-minute call to see if it makes sense for us to explore working with each other.
You can reach us via the contact form on our website.
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