Steen Hansen, CEOIn the course of his numerous visits to various factories around the globe, Bossard America’s CEO, Steen Hansen noticed a common dilemma affecting the manufacturing industry. “While the factories do have a grasp on their manufacturing processes, they seem to be lacking control down the supply chain,” he says. He discerned a setback in C-parts management—accounts for less than 2 percent of the overall cost— that often contributes to production inefficiencies and ineffectiveness, incurring delays and additional costs in high volume manufacturing. With a focus on optimizing high volume modern manufacturing using the power of data and artificial intelligence (AI), Bossard Group provides a set of Smart Factory Logistics systems that, through proper fastener utilization, reduce overall total cost of ownership (TCO), boost productivity, and gain unparalleled efficiency.
“Despite having a cool design as a prototype, high volume manufacturing can end up with costly assembly solutions. That’s where we come in, as early as the designing process,” states Hansen. With individual customer designs that can require as many as 40 to 60 different suppliers and thousands of parts sourced worldwide, working on the rationalization of the supply chain upstream and simplifying the design and the final assembly process can have a huge impact. Bossard thoroughly investigates the entire production process and helps design the most efficient assembly lines—with a key focus on fasteners— for a faster time to market (TTM). The company then leverages its logistics services to install weight scale systems throughout the factory together data intelligence using their software to help improve the manufacturing efficiencies. Bossard initially establishes parameters for automated reorder points based on the weights in the bins, which reflect an exact number of pieces remaining. This allows Bossard’s customers to operate with leaner inventory levels without the need to physically take an inventory and place orders. “We help clients with measuring manufacturing parts consumption, and ensure that they have the right parts at the right time,” says Hansen. Bossard’s AI-powered Smart Factory Logistics systems allow organizations to carry smaller inventories by tracking accurate information regarding supplies in real-time, in turn, elevates the efficiency.
In the spirit of Industry 4.0, this technology also provides insight into how much material is being consumed within a specific window of time at an individual workstation. It also helps the manufacturing unit cut costs by ensuring that the factory does not face any downtime due to unavailability of the supplies.
We help clients measure consumption, and ensure that they have the right parts at the right time
Hansen provides examples of two customers deriving positive results from the solution. The first is of a factory that ran out of fasteners and led to a production line being down. That situation provided reason to install Bossard’s Smart Factory Logistics system and allowed the client to monitor their inventory and accurately measure requirements on a daily basis and predict which parts would run out and when based on actual physical inventory. Through the solution, Bossard streamlined their entire supply chain resulting in a manufacturing process with no more downtime. In the second case, the company helped one of their clients properly design a bolted joint. Given the precision in Bossard’s designing, the number of fasteners required from the prototyping to the final product for the client was cut in half, and it also helped to reduce the assembly time. Bossard reached a milestone in 2017 by enabling all of their SmartBins with wireless capability, which currently allows their clients to place the weight scales throughout the entire factory. Another recent development is their SmartLabel, an electronic label that allows an operator to simply press a button for replenishment directly from the warehouse. “We can connect to all ERP and MRP systems and produce EDI files and other media the manufacturer wants to use,” Hansen adds. The electronic labels also have the capability to connect with third-party suppliers into an environment so that customers can not only buy products but also manage every part used in the factory and provide consumption data to all the departments that need it, including logistics, procurement, and the financial departments.