Component Manufacturer Drives Productivity by 37% with QAD Redzone
Create a culture of continuous improvement at a family-owned firm, engaging workers in improving processes and product quality.
Deployed the QAD Redzone Connected Workforce Solution and leveraged company-provided coaching to increase worker engagement and boost productivity.
Achieved a 37% increase in productivity in 90 days on an HVAC refrigeration product focus line
Enabled the business to significantly increase production throughput
Attracted and developed a new generation of leaders to drive the business forward
Drove daily throughput by 68%, bringing two additional hours of partial production back online across two shifts.
Created positive staff engagement and competition around improving processes
Future Proofing the Business with Digital Processes
Coil Specialist, Inc., is a family-owned business located in Gilmer, Texas, that manufactures heat transfer, tube, and fin coils for the HVAC, refrigeration, and pool industries. As the company sought to expand, its leaders realized that they needed to improve visibility into operations and engage the workforce in improving processes. Prior to Redzone, Coil Specialist relied on its operators to track all of its production data which required a lot of time and left them without real-time visibility into what was happening on the shop floor.
In addition, competition is tight for area workers in Gilmer. Coil Specialist competes with distribution warehouse operations and service industries for local frontline talent. If the company could digitize key operational processes, it could provide a better work experience that could attract and retain staff, developing more leaders locally. Currently, Coil Specialist has a workforce of 67 frontline employees, but is seeking to grow to around 100 to meet customer demand. The company operates two primary value streams and production lines for its diverse heat transfer products.
“We’ve created a sustainable business to the point that we’re investing in our local economy and labor pool to train workers so that they can learn about our industry and how to operate our technology,” said Vice President, Operations and Sales James Averett. “By doing so, we can develop leaders for generations to come.”
Why Coil Specialist Decided to Adopt Redzone
Averett and Operations Manager Brian Pasquier began searching for a digital solution that would help the company boost OEE and throughput. Pasquier received a positive endorsement of the QAD Redzone Connected Workforce Solution from a trusted customer and began researching the solution, reading marketing materials, and watching customer testimonials on YouTube.
“I like the way QAD Redzone allows you to look inside your business, because that was something we were desperately looking for,” said Pasquier.
The two executives also valued the fact that QAD Redzone helps create a culture of continuous improvement where frontline workers suggest and drive operational changes. “We are on a lean manufacturing journey, which emphasizes having self-directed, employed work teams, and QAD Redzone fit perfectly with that,” said Pasquier.
Coil Specialist was using a set of proven processes to manage its factory. However, its leaders wanted the company to become a more nimble and adaptive industry player.
“The old way of tracking manufacturing processes and quality is having some sort of statistical process control methodology in place. But our company needed a way to share real-time progress with everyone working on the floor. Are we accomplishing our goals for the hour, the day, the week, and the month?” said Pasquier. “And if not, what do we need to do so? And so, the thing that really excited us about QAD Redzone was the level of transparency it helped create into our business and the levers that it gave us to improve performance.”
Averett concurs: “As we visited with the QAD Redzone team, we quickly saw that the software could help us move in the direction we wanted to go in and solve a lot of issues that we saw on the horizon. By investing in technology now, we could eliminate the stress of keeping up with our numbers, so that we can continue to grow and develop leaders to help with other aspects of our business.”
Driving Productivity with a 90-Day Sprint
QAD Redzone works with all of its customers to achieve five measurable Lean journey goals during a 90-day sprint. These goals include:
Creating a visual factory which includes overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) measurements that are visible to all employees, across the factory, and in real time
Coaching production staff and supervisors to adopt Lean production techniques and use collaborative problem-solving skills
Improving OEE by at least 12 points by the end of day 90 and reaching 14 points by 2023
Achieving cost savings of $500K for smaller factories and $1M+ for larger factories, as verified by companies’ finance functions
Sustaining all goals made in the first 90 days and improving upon them in the months and years afterwards
Coil Specialist implemented QAD Redzone and worked with coaches to adopt new processes, beginning with its HVAC refrigeration focus line. QAD Redzone is a cloud-based platform that collects real-time data from connected devices, including production status, product quality, and material waste. The data is then made available to teams via overhead TVs, iPads and smartphones. Teams can use QAD Redzone on their phones to closely monitor production conditions and share strategies for solving problems.
“One of the things that is unique about QAD Redzone is that you work with different experts on specific modules, like productivity and compliance,” said Pasquier.
I’ve been involved with other initiatives, such as ERP or MRP rollouts, where you work with a consultant who is spread so thin that they can’t really help you maximize new software capabilities. QAD Redzone does a really good job of having different experts engage with you to launch and sustain their platform
Brian Pasquier | Operations Manager, Coil Specialist, Inc.
QAD Redzone coaches work directly with teams, one-on-one and in groups, to adopt new processes, practice key scenarios, and strategize how to overcome obstacles. Team members were pushed out of their comfort zone, by being encouraged to speak up in daily huddles. Although many were hesitant at first, they realized this was their opportunity to share their ideas to improve operations.
“We shared with our teams that QAD Redzone would enable them to work smarter, not harder,” said Pasquier. “We wanted to let our frontline teams know that we were 100% serious about creating a culture where they could share their daily struggles with production. Then, we’d work together to put action items in place, and they’d be benefitted by new processes.”
Achieving Significant Business Results in a 90-Day Sprint
After working with QAD Redzone for 90 days, Coil Specialist achieved the following results:
37% productivity uplift: Coil Specialist was able to achieve a 37% productivity boost on a key focus line, its HVAC refrigeration production line. “We’re able to take pictures and share information with each other to quickly troubleshoot issues,” said Jesse Meis, an expander.
Gaining greater participation from staff: QAD Redzone has given frontline teams the data and tools they need to succeed. As a result, “team members that didn’t speak up before are now speaking, participating, and championing activities,” said Pasquier. “Seeing our team members come out of their shell is encouraging to me, because I don’t have the answers for everything that they experience day to day.”
“Since we’ve gotten QAD Redzone, it’s a lot easier to communicate and get things done,” says Jeffrey Davis, an expander for the company.
Inspiring, friendly, fun competition among teams: Davis and Meis have taken ownership of their manufacturing cell – renaming it “J&J expansion” on the leaderboard, and coined the catchphrase “Loyal to the Coil.” Meis said he values the ability to see the duo’s performance on overhead TVs and receive high-fives for outstanding work.
Making it easy to take action: QAD Redzone is a highly visual platform that flashes green, yellow, and red, making it easy to understand whether key production processes are on track or not, hour by hour.
James AverettVice President of Operations and Sales, Coil Specialist, Inc.
“QAD Redzone provides visual cues for people, so they can suggest ideas and bring them to their department lead or value stream leader. Then, the next hour or day, they can see the impact of that.”
“We’ve struggled for years with completing action items. So, when you see an idea turn into an action item, it’s a beautiful thing.”
Davis agrees. “We’re getting a lot more problems solved now than ever before, which is great.”
Reducing stress on leadership: Pasquier said that QAD Redzone has helped him become a better leader.
It’s a lot easier for me to coach and inspire now, because I’m not the one trying to create visual images of what the issues are. Our teams are able to see them, and they’re already involved in creating solutions.
Brian Pasquier | Operations Manager, Coil Specialist, Inc.
Encouraging leaders and teams to celebrate: QAD Redzone encourages teams to celebrate and provides the tools to do so. Leaders can use the solution to send a digital high-five or good catch to employees for offering great ideas. “It’s really about catching somebody doing something right and then shouting it to the masses because that makes them feel good,” said Pasquier. “That makes our frontline workers realize that they do add value and are valuable members of our production team.”
Creating a culture that benefits workers: Coil Specialist teams receive bonuses when production targets are met. Now, with QAD Redzone, workers can monitor targets in real time to understand their progress towards achieving payouts. “This creates a culture that attracts new talent and encourages existing teams to continue improving processes,” said Averett.
Pushing Production Improvements Further
QAD Redzone has multiple modules beyond productivity: teams can also tackle compliance, reliability, and learning to increase operational effectiveness further.
“We’re looking at how we can take this solution and use it to its full potential, so the newest hire and most seasoned employee are helping to move our business forward,” said Pasquier.
Coil Specialist plans to tackle compliance next: adopting paper-free processes and obtaining real-time data on product quality that frontline workers can use to improve processes.
Beyond that, the company’s leaders plan to use QAD Redzone to grow the business. “By increasing our throughput in the HVAC refrigeration part of our business, it’s going to allow us to say yes to more customer business. Our business model is very deliberate. We only want to commit to new business if we can build the products and keep lead times low. QAD Redzone is going to enable us to accomplish that goal,” concludes Pasquier.