Fastenal Manufacturing is a diverse and constantly expanding business. Now with 8 manufacturing facilities across multiple continents, the company has experienced dramatic growth in their machining capabilities, transitioning from a simple job shop environment with low production quantities to a large-scale global operation with thousands of different jobs and high-volumes of production.
This growth has made it increasingly necessary to embrace data-driven strategy and digital technology to enhance understanding of machine utilization, primary downtime reasons, quality issues, to optimize manufacturing efficiency and implement process improvements.
Fastenal needed real-time visibility into how well a high variety of jobs were coming along to ensure efficiency, quality, and on-time delivery. Managers required the ability to collect and understand increasingly impactful downtime/setup procedures (as previous manual tracking efforts were time-consuming and prone to errors) and make proactive vs. reactive improvements. Difficult to aggregate, structure, and analyze data from numerous machine types, shop-floor systems, and multiple manufacturing locations that were currently isolated into silos to provide true production transparency and create actionable insights.
Fastenal partnered with an AWS Partner MachineMetrics to gain greater understanding of its own production and embark on their digital manufacturing transformation. Empowered by the AWS virtual private multi-tenant cloud, MachineMetrics was installed at Fastenal Manufacturing facilities to collect data from all shop floor assets. Real-time dashboards mounted on the shop floor displayed how jobs were coming along, including automatically recommending ways to optimize performance. Tablets mounted at the machine tool allowed for operators to track jobs, setups, and add human context to machine downtime. Automated text and email notifications alerted shop floor workers of pending problems including maintenance events that were able to reduce the number of unplanned and costly outages.
Leveraging the scalability, flexibility, reliability, security, and cost effectiveness of AWS, MachineMetrics open API’s allowed for data aggregation across all of Fastenal's shop-wide systems, the ability to build custom applications, dashboards, and analytics that provided the right data to the right person at the right time.