Time is money, and never more so than in the case of a factory that has to run at peak efficiency 24 hours a day seven days a week to keep up with product orders. If manufacturing operations come to a halt, it costs the company millions.
The Business Issue:
A very large, well known global electronics manufacturing company has built its multi-billion dollar business on high volume sales based on fast delivery of its products. To sustain its market leadership position, the company's factories have to run at peak efficiency to meet sales-driven production quotas every day.
To ensure the high-volume throughput their business demands, the company's manufacturing floors are fully automated to maximize worker productivity and streamline production. Their main factory facility builds 4 complete systems every minute. Each of these systems retails for an average cost of $10,000 USD, which means the factory is responsible for $40,000 USD in revenue every minute, or approximately $2.4 million per hour. Anything that slows down – or worse, shuts down – the factory floor causes a ripple effect that can have a catastrophic impact on the company's bottom line.
A failure in one of the factory floor's automated systems brought manufacturing operations to complete halt. After hours of searching and troubleshooting, the IT teams determined that the root cause of the problem was a server that had crashed at 2:30 a.m., causing messages to the main production application to back-up until its capacity was exceeded and the application shut down.
Because the factory floor systems were not being monitored and managed end-to-end in real time, no one was alerted to the potentially disastrous failure. As a result, the problem wasn't even discovered for several hours. It then took the IT staff 3 hours to find and fix the problem in their large, complex, integrated application infrastructure, during which time the factory floor was out of operation.
The net impact to the company's bottom line, in lost product revenue alone, was over $7 million in that one day.
The Technology Solution:
The company implemented Nastel's AutoPilot suite of application performance management and transaction management software to monitor the operation of their automated factory floor systems. In a matter a days they were able to bring all of the key manufacturing automation applications and the infrastructure systems that support them under the control of AutoPilot's consolidated dashboard.
But more important, AutoPilot let them identify all of the servers and other possible failure points along the critical path of their manufacturing process control systems, and apply a set of policies and business rules to instantly detect if any one of them exhibits conditions that could indicate a pending performance degradation or failure. AutoPilot then automatically issues alerts to the key IT staff so they can take corrective action to fix the problem before manufacturing operations are affected.
Since implementing AutoPilot, the company's factory floor has not experienced any more extended periods of downtime due to problems with its automated manufacturing systems. And their CIO sleeps much better at night.