Panel Builder System Integrator

November 29, 2018

Through the use of IIoT to connect wireless pushbuttons in the field to ERP inventory and order management, Jergens Industrial Supply is transforming its business for the digital future of industry.

Jergens Industrial Supply (JIS) is a leading industrial distribution company founded in 1960 that presents itself as Ohio’s largest distributor of industrial products. JIS, which represents more than 300 of the top manufacturers of industrial supply products in the U.S., believes it is not just a company that sells product to customers, but a “partner in productivity.”

JIS generates about 30 percent of the business conducted by its parent company Jergens Inc., a manufacturer of standard tooling components, fasteners, hoist rings, vises and other work holding equipment.

Like many distributors, JIS found itself needing to reinvent its value proposition in the midst of many disruptive forces. These forces included increased competition from industrial supply behemoths with vast order volume and buying power, as well as the need to cater to a more empowered customer base with many buying options. Meanwhile, as Baby Boomers head off to retirement, JIS has had to also redefine its value proposition for a new generation of Millennial buyers with high expectations for an online customer experience.

In keeping with its commitment to add value to processes and reduce waste, JIS set out to offer a frictionless inventory management solution for today’s real-time, always-on manufacturing enterprise. This process began with the deployment of an AutoCrib vending machine system about seven years ago. The machines, which feature integrated barcode scanning, are stocked with up to 5,000 inventory items at a price point previously agreed upon with the customer. Personnel receive a unique pin code and “order” the parts they need for a job by scanning a barcode. Established parameters govern dispensing; for example, workers are given access to one set of gloves every 24 hours.

In 2015, realizing the opportunity to convert these vending machines into “smart machines,” JIS approached MindHarbor for help integrating its vending systems with its Epicor Prophet 21 enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Once this integration was complete, the two companies began studying the early Internet of Things (IoT) Dash Buttons from Amazon. From there, a plan to engineer a solution to support a simple, on-premise product resupply using WiFi-enabled IoT buttons—known as JIS Express buttons—was born.

Here’s how the system works: At 3 a.m., JIS vending machines place replenishment orders, which are then automatically logged, invoiced and staged with labels and delivery tickets for drivers. The JIS Express buttons, which are affixed to racks or shelving on or next to equipment or drawers, are installed onsite and connected to an on-premise wireless network and the JIS ERP system. The buttons are customized with a distributor’s name and/or the name of a frequently ordered product. Pushing a button triggers an order. One push equals one item at a pre-configured reorder quantity, and a confirmation email is sent to a pre-approved order manager. These confirmation orders include a link to the customer control portal—a secure webpage accessible by smartphone, tablet or PC. The order notification alerts track all buttons pushed in a 24-hour period. The order manager can review, edit and/or approve items ordered in the past 24 hours.

The system batches all items at 3 p.m. every day so orders are built and reviewed daily by the customer. Confirmed orders go directly from the customer portal into Prophet 21 for review and approval and are then either shipped to the customer for replenishment or delivered by the distribution team.

Metrics that matter

With 115 vending machines in the field now integrated into this system, JIS has experienced 30 percent improved productivity, allowing the company to grow without having to increase its headcount. In addition, drivers now cover more ground on any given day when they manually restock machines on their routes, since now all they need to focus on is fulfillment following order directions via an iPad.

JIS has also seen a significant reduction in customer service effort and costs since product costs are now negotiated up front, eliminating the need to quote items for replenishment and manage orders.

Since JIS launched its JIS Express buttons in October 2017, demand has been substantial. The company has been doubling the number of buttons deployed in the field—as well as the number of orders received and corresponding sales volume—every two months.

The buttons have proved to be an exceptional entry-level offering for smaller customers with lower inventory volumes. Additionally, the solution provides a replenishment method to manage and maintain oversized items that are too large to fit into vending machines. The JIS Express buttons cost only $10 to $15 each, as opposed to the vending machines that can run from $10,000 to $50,000.

Additional benefits

Because tool cribs can be a massive inventory black hole—leading to products being lost, horded, misused or simply not used—inventory waste consists not only of the cost of carrying excess inventory, but also the costs to finance, store and handle the inventory.

With JIS Express, JIS brings the concept of just-in-time inventory to a whole new pushbutton level. Effectively, the inventory is consigned yet available only steps away, so manufacturers are billed for inventory as it is dispensed.

This project demonstrates how the digital disruption can bring benefits and efficiencies to the manufacturing floor and the back office simultaneously. Every time a JIS Express button is pushed, it collectively represents hundreds and millions of dollars saved from the perspective of:

  • Manufacturing floor workers—reduced walk time and “talk time” to get the tools and materials needed. Improved safety via quick, easy access to all requisite equipment and supplies (e.g., safety glasses, hard hats, etc.).
  • Manufacturing back-office personnel—reduced time and effort in contracting and purchase order processing, and improved inventory management visibility, traceability and accountability.
  • JIS customer service personnel—reduced time and effort in contracting, order entry and fulfillment.

With its JIS Express buttons, JIS has been able to reach a whole new customer demographic and box out competitors by giving customers a reason to continue giving JIS their business: a smart and easy-to-adopt, just-in-time inventory management solution that offers ultimate convenience and can scale as they grow.

The company’s innovation and growth in its JIS division has also brought another big benefit to the company as a whole—a buffer from fierce economic realities. The company has been paying an additional 20 percent for steel since the tariffs took effect and has had to raise its prices to cover this increase. Jergens anticipates customers will likely push back against further increases, so the growth of JIS via its innovative inventory management solutions provides a solid business strategy to offset these business realities.

As Industry 4.0 continues to have widespread impact in manufacturing, examples of innovative use cases like this one will go from novel to normal. By connecting people, processes, data and things in an intelligent and strategic manner, organizations can streamline shop floor activities for greater efficiency, agility and customer-centricity.

Read the full article here:

https://www.automationworld.com/article/topics/industrial-internet-things/revolutionizing-just-time-inventory-management-iiot

PB 25 Phoenix ControlCabinet 400

Phoenix Contact will provide you with support as your reliable partner in the optimization of your processes in control cabinet manufacturing.

Phoenix Contact provides you with holistic solutions in a cooperative partnership, based on their products, services, and experience. Digital data is used consistently, processes optimized, and time saved. The PROJECT complete planning and marking software supports your entire control cabinet manufacturing process. The program provides you with an intuitive user interface that enables you to individually plan, automatically check, and order terminal strips.

Thanks to optimized interfaces, you can easily integrate data from common CAE systems. This enables you to save significant amounts of time in the overall engineering process. Read More


 Like many cyclical industries, mining is reviving, driven by steady global economic growth and an increasing demand for materials to support new technologies like electric vehicles, renewable energy and mobile devices. Despite the optimism, the industry still faces major operational challenges including process efficiencies, cost control, worker health and safety, and skills gaps. To address these challenges, Rockwell Automation introduced The Connected Mine, leveraging the latest enabling and digital technologies.

Utilizing advanced analytics, The Connected Mine helps mining companies collect and aggregate data to gain end-to-end visibility into their operations and make informed business decisions to improve mining operations.

Read More

Latest Articles

  • Prev
  With the growth of e-Commerce, comes major changes in global retail and logistics. ...
This June the Pepperl+Fuchs road tour made its way through Ontario and Quebec, visiting several ...
  What do NBA sportsmen like the world champions from Toronto, The Raptors, and the ...
  In this issue of Industry Insights with Owen I had the privilege of asking ...
  The threats that make enclosure thermal management necessary to begin with reach the ...
   Protecting the consumer and the manufacturer's brand are the key aspects of ...
Safety used to be treated somewhat as an afterthought, in that it was added as a separate system ...
  Over the last two and a half centuries, industry has embraced change and transformation. ...
 To support IT professionals in developing a strategy to deploy IT at the edge, Schneider ...

PB 25 Rittal MarineWaves 400For almost a half a century Canal Marine & Industrial of St Catharines, Ontario has provided electrical design, engineering and services around the clock to the merchant marine, naval and coastguard fleets in Canada and the rest of the World. In recent years, Canal has become a leader in the design and supply of marine hybrid power and propulsion systems. These systems utilize alternative methods for supporting propulsion and the vessel’s electrical power plant, so that fuel consumption and emissions are reduced.

Great Lakes Towing of Cleveland, Ohio (popularly called “The Towing Company”) operates the largest and most experienced U.S.-flag tugboat fleet. The Towing Company is a significant marine operations link in North America’s U.S. Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway marine transportation network, the fourth seacoast of the United States, an operating area that extends over 8,300 miles of shoreline, encompassing a water surface area of roughly 100,000 square miles. Read More

HARTING Electronics: Circular Connectors – A Round Thing

Circular Connectors 400

Jonas Diekmann, Technical Editor at HARTING Electronics

The metric system of units was introduced for the first time in 1793 during the French Revolution and is used even today in almost all countries worldwide. The metric round plug connectors are also based on this system of units and are a known standard in raw industrial applications. In various diameters and codes, they are a reliable connection for the three lifelines of industrial applications. Data, signals and performance are essential for drive, control and communication. The typical round appearance with the thread for screwing in is a success story up to the present. But classics often also still reveal unexpected potential. With its new PushPull Locking and Com-Lock HARTING is making two round guild models ready for the future.

Metric round plug connectors are some of the most widespread interfaces worldwide, when it comes to cabling for machines, industrial plant and devices under demanding conditions of use.

Read More

Rockwell SleemanTen years ago, tourists looking for a taste of the local life in Southern Canada may have asked for one of the region’s best wines. Today, it’s all about craft beer.

From entrepreneurial newcomers to large-scale producers, brewers in Canada are cashing in on the thirst for craft beer. The number of microbreweries – ­producing less than 25,000 cases of 24 – has more than doubled in the last seven years.

The explosion in craft beer popularity had one company – Sleeman Breweries – bursting at its production seams. The third-largest brewer in Canada, Sleeman brews and distributes popular beers from lagers to pale ales.

 Read More

 

Coming Soon: The new EPLAN Pro Panel, Version 2.8, Virtual control cabinet engineering – fully matured

The new EPLAN Pro Panel, Version 2.8 is making its first big appearance at the SPS IPC Drives. The software for virtual 3D control cabinet engineering is characterised by its expanded flexibility, surprising users with a brand new 4K-capable user interface. It’s also causing decision-makers to sit up and take notice: during live, joint presentations in Nuremberg, EPLAN and Rittal will be introducing a whole series of innovations in the context of control cabinet engineering.

These include complementary software solutions for engineering and preplanning operations, innovative system technology for housings, power distribution and climate-control systems, automation technologies, and digital assistance systems for integrated automation of manufacturing processes. EPLAN and Rittal are thereby positioning themselves as solutions providers offering integrated solutions for optimising processes in control cabinet engineering: combined machine/hardware and software solutions, product-accompanying data and comprehensive on-site process integration services for customers.

Read More: < ...

Product News

  • Prev
IEC 60079-14 requires that ‘Ex d’ installations in explosion-hazardous areas ...
Modern 5-axis and multi-tasking machines as well as high-precision machining centers for ...
Pfannenberg, Inc., a leading global manufacturer of thermal management and signaling technologies, ...
Emerson expands the innovative Greenlee Shear 30T with seven new die sets and a new bare kit ...
Balluff’s newest precision laser sensors guarantee precise positioning of small parts, as ...
Endress+Hauser is offering two universal, device configuration tablet PCs that provide especially ...
The "Internet of Things" for industrial applications (IIoT) allows greater visibility and access to ...
The newly released ENI58PL series incremental rotary encoder from Pepperl+Fuchs offers incredible ...
The Drives & Motion Division of Yaskawa America, Inc. is pleased to expand the Single Phase ...
  Bender Inc has launched a new line of isolated power panels for healthcare facilities. ...
Kerrwil Publications

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2019 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil