Mitotec Precision is a nationally-recognized manufacturer of precision-turned components. Founded in 1963, the Wisconsin-based company has 20 machines and almost 80 employees. It serves a number of industries and OEM markets, including medical devices, defense and military, firearm and sighting systems, hydraulics, industrial equipment, and more.
Mitotec, which is ISO9001-2015 certified, has always been committed to adopting new technologies and engaging in continuous improvement—but needed better data to do so.
Like most manufacturers, Mitotec felt constrained by its labor and operational resources.
“We needed to better understand the costs associated with our valuable resources, so we could utilize our people and capital equipment more fully,” says Clinton Pouille, General Manager.
Believing that “data helps you do more with what you have,” the manufacturer initially mounted a big board in the factory to track hourly job progress relative to goals. However, not only was its accuracy questionable, it didn’t provide the detail needed to make improvements.
That led Mitotec to search for a factory operating system that would collect and analyze machine activity digitally. Their number one priority: it had to be simple to implement and use.
Following an extensive search, Mitotec chose Amper.
“Amper offered us what we needed: great features with easy justification,” says Poullie. “We determined that if we could save one hour a month with better utilization, the purchase would justify itself.”
Another plus: Amper integrates easily with all machine types—a must, since Mitotec’s mix of old and new equipment ranges from a 1989 SAS-16 from Tornos to brand new Eurotech Trofeos.
Before committing, Mitotec took advantage of Amper’s free trial offer, placing Amper sensors on two machines—a move Pouille encourages other manufacturers to make.
Impressed by their initial findings, the company placed sensors on their five most critical machines, but—realizing that “critical” was a moving target—concluded it needed to monitor every piece of equipment.
In addition, they took the time to fully train their operators on the system, encouraging buy-in.
And—in an effort to hit Fourtounis’ lofty goal of improving utilization by 50%--management committed to a continuous improvement process that entailed identifying their top three reasons for downtime every quarter and building CI projects around them.
When data revealed the factory’s unproductive hours and associated costs, it was, says Bob Fourtounis, Mitotec's Operations Manager, “quite the eye-opener.” However, because the data pinpointed where and why downtime was occurring, they were able to remedy the issues through CI initiatives.
As a result, Mitotec:
Best of all, Mitotec could now leverage data to make and justify business decisions—whether investing in training, offering new hires a signing bonus, or purchasing a new machine.
"Before Amper, our biggest issue was helping Finance and HR justify hiring and purchase costs,” says Pouille. “Now, it makes sense.”
And when they hit that goal of 50% improvement, “it justified our celebration, too.”
Saving $1.4 Million in Less than a Year
Mitotec’s commitment to making data-driven improvements has translated to significant savings. During their first 11 months using Amper, the manufacturer was able to:
Taken together, the manufacturer is saving more than $1,400,000 per year.
“It’s not just one thing that really helped us, it’s a lot of different things that we worked on,” says Pouille. “And it’s going to be ever-flowing, because we’ve got to keep making improvements.”