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Real-Time Insights and Automation: Revolutionizing a Non-Profit's Print Center

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About the Client


A large non-profit, which reaches over 180 countries and territories, sought assistance with enhancing visibility within their Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain instance. This organization runs a 185,000 sq ft print center, utilizing a range of large industrial machines to produce thousands of printed materials daily in around 100 languages and many formats. These materials support their global operations and are distributed to seventeen million members worldwide.

Challenges


Inefficient manual processes
The organization lacked integration between their plant floor machinery and Microsoft Dynamics ERP system, creating a handful of manual processes for employees. Due to the labor-intensive operation of these processes, they only captured machine and job performance data for product runs sporadically, about every four months. This infrequent monitoring led to increased machine errors, more frequent breakdowns, and higher material wastage due to lack of consistent data collection. Consequently, this resulted in significant losses in terms of both time and costs associated with labor and machinery.


Real-time reporting challenges
The absence of robust technical processes and connections resulted in limited visibility into real-time reporting of print jobs. Consequently, monitoring the daily output of jobs in real time was unfeasible. This shortfall in real-time data and operational insight diminished the understanding of daily production floor performance, leading to operational inefficiencies involving both human and machine resources. Such inefficiencies further contributed to poor inventory planning, resulting in over-stocking of some items and shortages of others.

Solution


Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain was implemented for their print division. This is currently the largest Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain implementation globally, managing worldwide manufacturing, supply chain, retail, and eCommerce operations. The Finance and Supply Chain team at JourneyTEAM has led and worked on this extensive implementation and continues to provide ongoing support to meet the unique needs of this customer.

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Impact


Streamlining operations through automation
In collaboration with JourneyTEAM this non-profit integrated and programed their plant floor machinery into their existing Microsoft Dynamics ERP system. This capability now enables the organization to automatically capture machine performance metrics throughout the printing process. The machines on the print floor are configured to automatically report to the ERP system when a job starts and ends, the amount of waste produced, and the production metrics for each specific job. This automation has led to approximately 20% improvement in overall production time and significant cost savings, as employees no longer need to manually gather this information after each job. Additionally, the automated system enhances machine maintenance by identifying potential issues in real-time, which was previously done quarterly through manual checks, allowing for better management and maintenance of equipment, all while saving costs.


Modernizing operations through data
JourneyTEAM partnered with the non-profit to develop an application that would complete the unified solution between Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chian, Dynamics Print, and the production floor. This approach enabled a consistent data collection model through one integrated system. Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) gather data, while Human-Machine Interfaces (HMIs) collect inputs from machine operators. Data from both PLCs and HMIs are then transmitted to F&SC and Dynamics Print via various Azure resources, providing real-time information accessible directly on the printing floor. Displayed on a large screen within the facility, teams can instantly see the operational status of each machine—whether it is down, lagging, or ahead of schedule—and respond accordingly.


This system revolutionizes how they monitor production. They can now track, for each job, the number of printed items, distinguish between acceptable products and defects, and use this data for performance enhancement analyses. This insight is crucial for identifying issues such as job interruptions, maintenance needs, correct job input, or other operational necessities like ink replenishment.


The organization has established key performance indicators (KPIs) around their machinery to pinpoint areas needing improvement, thereby enhancing machine performance and productivity. The integrated data feeds into the ERP system, enriching the planning cycle for raw materials and resource allocation for both human and machine needs. This data is also invaluable for addressing audit inquiries concerning material usage and production waste. By leveraging this information, they can better understand their costs, machine time, material usage, and more, significantly aiding in cost estimation and budgeting processes.

At JourneyTEAM we strive to effectively use technology to create a positive, lasting impact on the world and this project accomplishes that.


- Dan Brown, Finance and Supply Chain Practice Director at JourneyTEAM

Finance and Supply Chain Experts


The Finance and Supply Chain practice at JourneyTEAM are experts on ERP and all associated business processes. They are just a call away and can provide decades of expert advice and support for your operations. No matter the industry or business size, JourneyTEAM’s Finance and Supply Chain team members will help you find the right solution for your growing business. Contact a representative today with any questions.

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