McWane Ductile Cast Iron Pipe Company is a national producer of ductile iron pipe, fittings, valves and hydrants. They are recognized as one of the country’s most experienced manufacturers and suppliers for their modern facilities and latest engineering techniques. General plant manager and senior vice president Dale Schmelzle describes McWane Ductile as no longer the plant of the past, but a data-driven foundry. McWane Ductile is able to meet customer needs throughout the Mid-Atlantic and New England states, as well as Canada, recently celebrating 150 years of operation and quality customer service.
From previous experience with dashboards and business intelligence software, McWane Ductile realized that they needed to have key metrics at their fingertips, using only one system to show the vital signs of their operations in a user-friendly way. McWane Ductile was sharing data with controls engineers and machine console operators, but they wanted a plant digital dashboard to bring together business systems with their plant production data. McWane Ductile desired a solution that would deliver the benefits of knowledge management to employees at all levels.
“iDashboards is a true rapid application design tool. McWane Ductile aggregates technical data into digital dashboards to see performance. Each scorecard tells everyone how they are doing for that hour, day and week.”
After experimenting and researching numerous dashboard software options, McWane Ductile discovered that iDashboards was the best fit for their needs. With fast implementation time, McWane Ductile created their first dashboard within a week and was able to take advantage of every possible opportunity. By pulling data from their SQL and Excel databases, McWane Ductile is able to monitor operations such as plant production count, quality control and chemistry formula usage with iDashboards Enterprise Suite. McWane Ductile also uses Wall Displays to present individual and team dashboards on LCDs in their lunch-room and other major operations buildings.
The management team at McWane Ductile now use dashboards on a daily basis, tracking important KPIs such as plant work orders, plant production and daily material cost. Since implementation, the understanding of operation costs has improved greatly. In the past, $1 million to $3 million had been lost in scrap material. iDashboards has allowed McWane Ductile to easily identify and correct these losses. Last year, they had a scrap rate of 4.62, and this year, it is 3.82, an improvement of 0.8, which is a significant amount when talking about tonnage.
McWane Ductile also uses dashboards in the creation of production area scorecards, giving managers and plant employees the ability to know exactly where they stand. All of the visibility iDashboards has provided allows McWane Ductile to fulfill their knowledge management principles, enabling every employee to view their individual and overall plant-wide performance, company goals and productivity. Now employees are able to compare their results versus goals on the LCD screen dashboards, encouraging healthy competition between teams. Data are now available to executives in real time as opposed to a monthly report, giving meaning to their data and getting everyone on board.