The Shopfloor Blog

Breaking the Mold in Manufacturing

Posted by Saul Lustgarten on Mar 8, 2018 12:09:43 PM


Today is International Women’s Day, a great occasion to celebrate women’s contributions to manufacturing, but also to take a step back and measure how our industry fares on gender equality. According to Deloitte, even though women totaled about 47 percent of the US labor force in 2016, they are only 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce. The good news is that things seem to be improving. For example, the number of women that would encourage their daughter or female family member to pursue a career in manufacturing increased 18% between 2015 and 2017 to 42%. However, at Tulip we believe that there is always room for improvement.

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Tags: Tulip, Manufacturing

Women in Manufacturing Event

Posted by Angie Lin on Feb 28, 2018 10:01:14 AM

March is Women’s History Month! To honor it, we’re partnering with the Women in Manufacturing organization, the New England Rosie The Riveter Chapter, and IDC to host a panel on March 21st, the National Rosie The Riveter Day. Join us in conversation with some of the women leading the way, discussing the role of women in manufacturing and how to increase diversity in the industry.

As always, there will be free refreshments along with the opportunity to network with other manufacturing leaders in the region.

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Tags: Manufacturing, Meetup

Manufacturing Resources in Massachusetts

Posted by Saul Lustgarten on Feb 23, 2018 6:11:45 PM


This month's Boston Manufacturing Meetup was our most succesful yet. Despite a snowy weather, we had a great turnover of manufacturing leaders from all over Massachusetts show up to learn about the resources available for them in the commonwealth. 

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Tags: Manufacturing, Meetup

10 Ways Digital Work Instructions Help You Achieve Your Business Goals

Posted by Saul Lustgarten on Feb 11, 2018 11:26:22 AM

The best reason to go digital in manufacturing is to achieve a business goal. Doing it for the sake of going paperless, digital or being innovative are worthy goals, but on their own, will not get your digital transformation very far and could backfire. True - paper savings from going digital can be considerable. But on their own, they will not move the needle. So, what kind of business goals can you accomplish with manufacturing apps? Below we go over some of the business objectives we’ve seen our customers meet.

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Tags: Digital Work Instructions, Manufacturing Apps, Digital Transformation, Manufacturing

What We Talk About When We Talk About Manufacturing Apps

Posted by Saul Lustgarten on Jan 8, 2018 5:53:00 PM

The Manufacturing Industry seems to be taken ablaze with Manufacturing Apps — you can’t seem to strike a conversation with manufacturing thought leaders, industry analysts or attend industry events without talking about their potential.

Being pioneers of this technology, at Tulip we’re ecstatic to see this. However, we’re getting to the point were Manufacturing Apps means different things to different people.

So, what ARE manufacturing apps? Here is one way we like to define them:

“Manufacturing Apps turn industrial workflows into instrumented, data collecting, digital processes that integrate operator, machine, and sensor data to achieve business goals.”

Yes, we know, that’s a mouthful. The best way to understand the definition is to compare how you would do things before and after using Manufacturing Apps. Some examples are:

Before— Process Engineers use a clipboard and stopwatch to measure an operator’s performance. An individual’s data isn’t accessible beyond a couple of days, unless the process engineer types it on a spreadsheet that is easily accessible by everyone. The process is time-consuming, and the data is always lagging behind the operations.

After — With Manufacturing Apps, every step on your workflows generates data that is captured as defined by those closest to your operations. Process and Quality engineers can use the data to improve workflows, line supervisors can use the data to provide targeted feedback to operators, and upper management can use the data to have a real-time picture of the shop-floor.

Before — Operators use paper-based work instructions. These instructions are not easy to follow, delay the operator’s work and don’t help them improve their performance. Furthermore, keeping track of different versions and finding the most recent one is usually a challenge. This leads to the low use of work instructions which in turn leads to higher defect rates.

After — Operators use Manufacturing Apps to create interactive work instructions. These instructions are digital and connect with the tools operators use on their assembly process. These guided assembly apps help operators do a better job, be more productive and make fewer mistakes, so they use them constantly and happily. Operators can provide feedback and improvement ideas for the instructions in real time, and the app can be instantly updated to turn tribal knowledge into standard operating procedure.

Before — You have different data silos for data from machines, operators, sensors and other systems. Some of the data lives in paper; other resides in excel, SQL databases or some third party system. Most data isn’t captured or gets lost. Having a clear, real-time picture of what is going on is challenging, if not impossible.

After — You can integrate all your data sources into a single, holistic view of your process, production line or factory in real-time. The data can be easily analyzed and visualized through an analytics engine and ‘dashboarding’ capability. Furthermore, it can easily be shared with all stakeholders as needed.

Before — Training buddies train new hires and hand hold them for a period during which you have no real visibility on their progress. Every time a new product or process is introduced, you have to re-train everyone, which slows things down. Keeping track of which person has done which training or which person has a particular skill is challenging.

After — You can create Training Manufacturing Apps for new hires to train themselves. You can see their progress as they work through the training apps and have visibility on their skills. When you introduce new process, tools or products to the assembly line, you can deploy new training modules and have operators continue learning on the job.

Before — You have legacy machines and perhaps some newer more advanced ones, but they can’t talk with you or each other quickly. Clunky interfaces make them prone to mistakes. Someone has to check the machines regularly to see if they are working. The changeover and startup process is ripe with human errors.

After — You can connect your machines to your Apps and make them interact with each other. You can calculate OEE as best suits your business needs, automatically and in real time. You can build manufacturing apps to act as an interface for legacy machines and create apps to help your team perform changeover and maintenance more efficiently. Furthermore, you can leverage the Industrial IoT by connecting your tools, sensors and machines to your apps.

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These are but a few examples of all the ways in which Manufacturing Apps change the way manufacturing is run. Hopefully, you now have a better sense of what Manufacturing Apps are and how they can change the way you run your operations.

Using Tulip’s Manufacturing App Platform, you can build these apps yourself through a drag and drop, visual programming interface. This means you don’t need to know how to code or rely on third parties to develop the apps for you!

On a next post, we’ll dive into specific use cases and their impact on the bottom-line. Stay Tuned.

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Tags: Manufacturing Apps, Digital Transformation, Manufacturing

Five New Year’s Resolutions for Manufacturing in 2018

Posted by Saul Lustgarten on Jan 1, 2018 5:50:00 PM

We all have personal resolutions for the new year. “Get organized,” “Lose weight,” “Spend more time with family and friends” and “Learn a new hobby” are among the most common ones. But as the new year begins, it is equally important to set professional resolutions as well. As you think about your professional goals for this year, below we share some of the ones we at Tulip are committed to helping you achieve in 2018.

Embrace Lean Manufacturing

Academia has documented the benefits of Lean Manufacturing exhaustively. Furthermore, Lean organizations have consistently beat competitors and dominated their markets. However, many companies still don’t practice continuous improvement. This phenomenon might be for a variety of reasons, from cultural backlash to lack of proper lean implementation tools. As you enter 2018, consider how you could make your organization be Lean and don’t forget that, as Jamie Flinchbaugh says, “Lean is both an organizational journey, and a personal one.”

Collect data and use it to improve your operations

According to McKinsey, “In manufacturing, operations managers can use advanced analytics to take a deep dive into historical process data, identify patterns and relationships among discrete process steps and inputs, and then optimize the factors that prove to have the greatest effect on yield.” And yet, some of the most valuable data on the shop floor, such as that generated by legacy machines or human operators, is not being adequately captured by manufacturers. And when it is, it is being collected manually for tracking purposes, not as a basis for improving operations. If your process engineers are still gathering data manually, using excel to analyze it and e-mail to share it, you are likely not getting as much value of your data as you could. What will you do in 2018 so you can extract more value from your data?

Invest in your team’s professional development

Deloitte found out that 69% of Manufacturing Executives believe their workforce lacks problem-solving skills, 67% think they don’t have the necessary technical training and 70% feel they lack technology and computer skills. And according to the same executives, the most effective skill development strategy is internal employee training. Even if your industry is highly automated, people are still the most valuable “computer” on your shop floor. As the demand for skilled workers increases, manufacturers that invest more in their workforce are poised to gain a competitive advantage. How will you invest in your team’s talent development this year?

Increase the Diversity of your Workforce

Diversity should be an end in itself, but it is also a means to an expanded talent pool. It goes beyond race and gender, to include ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, physical abilities, and more. And yet, despite the projected 2Mtalent shortage in manufacturing over the coming decade, diversity remains lacking. Manufacturing is still predominantly dominated by white males and women represent less than a third of the entire workforce. The fact that 80% of manufacturers still approach diversity in an ad hoc manner, without a clear strategy, explains part of the status quo. Therefore, manufacturing leaders that embrace diversity as part of their culture and strategy have an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. What can you do in 2018 to increase the diversity within your organization?

Adopt Emerging Technologies

Just like steam unleashed the first Industrial Revolution, some emerging technologies are driving forward the so-called Industry 4.0 revolution. Beyond the hype, enabling technologies are driving real value. Manufacturing Apps, leveraging IIoT and real-time Analytics, are an example of this. Using Manufacturing Apps New Balance was able to cut by half the time to market of a new product, Merck reduced 92% the training time of new hires, and Jabil increased production Yield by 10%. Furthermore, these apps are helping companies become Lean and do real-time continuous improvement. Companies that find a way to derive value from Manufacturing Apps in 2018 will undoubtedly gain a competitive advantage. How can you use Manufacturing Apps to achieve operational excellent in 2018?

Setting your goals is easy. Keeping them is the hard part. As you consider your resolutions, bear in mind that starting small, writing them down, making them public and using technology can make it easier to achieve them. If you are interested in learning how Tulip can help, get in touch. Good luck!

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Tags: Digital Transformation, Manufacturing

Tulip’s 2017 Year in Review

Posted by Saul Lustgarten on Dec 27, 2017 5:49:00 PM

What a year 2017 was for Tulip! We’ve grown our customer base, expanded our product, launched a new website, won many awards, got funding and grew our team. As we prepare to enter 2018, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate some of our most significant milestones of 2017. In the past year:

We added some of the biggest names in manufacturing to our customer base

We would be nothing without our customers, and as 2017 comes to an end, we’re honored to have added some of the biggest names in manufacturing to our customer list. From Fortune 100 companies to leading global apparel manufacturers to Pharma to boat manufacturers, we now have clients across ten different countries, and over 13 industries. They have developed hundreds of Manufacturing Apps and are using them on a daily basis to run their operations more efficiently. As we step into 2018, we’re excited to see our customers continue thriving and growing with Tulip.

We grew our product into a powerful Self-Serve App Platform

Our customer growth wouldn’t have been possible without the numerous new features we’ve added to our product. In 2017 we expanded our Triggers functionality and upgraded our App Editor, both of which empower our users to build Manufacturing Apps without having to learn how to code. We launched a new Analytics Builder, which makes it easy for our users to create reports and dashboards on demand. We successfully deployed our On-Premise solution as well as our Machine Monitoring functionality, which lets you connect your machines to your Tulip Apps (we support OPC/UA, MTConnect, Modbus, Fanuc and other protocols). Our supported device library keeps growing; we launched our Knowledge Base and a new website. We’ve had a busy 2017, but the best is still to come — 2018 has some significant product launches lined up!

We were recognized as industry leaders

The only opinion that matters to us is our customers’. However, this year we’ve also been fortunate to get praises from the leading Industry Analysts who have recognized our leadership in the Self-Serve Manufacturing Apps movement we’ve created. Gartner selected us as Cool Vendor, IDC named us 2017 Innovators, and Frost and Sullivan chose us as their Entrepreneurial Company of the Year. Furthermore, we were invited to speak at numerous conferences such as AME, the MIT Innovations in Management Conference and the Exponential Manufacturing conference. Lastly, we got some fantastic press coverage from leading publications such as the Wall Street Journal and The Boston Globe.

We grew our team and raised $13M

This year we raised our Series A round of funding from top-tier VCs such as NEA and Pitango. We opened our offices in Europe, expanded to ten countries and grew our team. We have a fantastic group of very talented Tulipians working hard to transform manufacturing, and we expect to grow even more in 2018. If you want to be part of our revolution, get in touch.

Thank you all for an incredible 2017 — Here’s looking forward to a fabulous 2018!

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Tags: Tulip, Manufacturing

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