John Cotton Group is a leading supplier of duvets and pillows to a wide range of retail outlets. At the Mirfield Plant, the company produce up to 125,000 duvets and 290, 000 pillows per week.
The company had used a purpose built manufacturing system to manage all shop floor activities for many years when managers came to recognise that it was no longer able to keep up with software and hardware technology changes. This presented a significant business risk and a new system was therefore needed to support shop floor operations.
The requirement was for the new software to be off-the-shelf and deliver everything that the legacy software could: manage short production runs and many product variations (raw material, sizes and weights, packing specifications), interface with existing machines and systems as well as with SAP. Finally, the new manufacturing operations management software had to be future proof and offer opportunities to consolidate other legacy manufacturing applications.
John Cotton Group engaged in a competitive vendor selection process. The manufacturer selected Lighthouse MES software for its ability to meet its requirements and flexibility to match the business process.
A pilot of Shopfloor-Online MES was implemented by our team within a few weeks, running alongside the legacy system. Lighthouse Systems focused on delivering a system that would fit the needs of the operators and consulted users in refining interfaces and reports. The system went live with no need to run both systems parallel as all involved were confident it was ready and fit for purpose.
Shopfloor-Online MES has introduced many benefits to the plant; it downloads work orders for scheduling production runs and communicates material requisition to stores in line with the production plan needs. Operators are provided with a bill of materials and key specifications.
The MES software captures downtime events from the PLCs and records spoilage, prompts operators to do regular quality checks and collects quality measurements. It also produces all reports for operators, managers and customers. SKU and pallets are identified with serialised bar-code labels and at the end of each production run, the MES automatically uploads accurate production and spoilage figures back to SAP.
John Cotton is a leading manufacturer of pillows, duvets and mattress protectors. The John Cotton Group of companies includes the Slumberdown and Snuggledown brands as well as a nonwovens division, which is the UK’s leading supplier of thermally and mechanically bonded high loft nonwoven products.
“We are looking at ways to improve the plant’s performance and Shopfloor-Online will play a central role in helping us to achieve greater efficiencies.”
Chris Earl, Group IT Manager