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Milo's Tea Company Deploys Smart Manufacturing to Improve Productivity and Support Expansion into New Markets, while Postponing Investment in New Factory

To meet the increased customer demand for their best-selling tea, Milo’s Tea Company needed to find a way to optimize their existing operations to produce more cases. While they initially thought the best course of action was to open an additional manufacturing facility, the team at Milo’s Tea found themselves asking the pertinent question, are we getting the most out of our existing assets?

Working with Polytron, a Parsec Certified Gold Partner, the team at Milo’s Tea decided to implement TrakSYS, the unified Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) Platform from Parsec, to help accomplish their goals.

Could reducing downtime and short stoppages, as well as eliminating waste and digitizing their paper-based records, truly help them achieve their goals of production optimization? These questions, and their subsequent answers, would ultimately lead Milo’s Tea Company to delay opening an additional facility for 18 months.

Multiple phases (which included solutions for Performance Management, ERP Schedule integration, Historian, TrakSYS-enabled Smart Devices, and Maintenance Management), were deployed over 24 months. From being able to create 55% more cases from their existing assets, to achieving an ROI within 3 months of the first phase, the results Milo’s Tea experienced with their TrakSYS implementation let the team know they had made the right decision.



.Q1: Why was TrakSYS selected as the MOM software platform?

A1: There were many reasons Milo’s Tea Company chose TrakSYS. First, they really liked the dashboards and the user interface. Operators were able to easily move around the platform to perform the tasks they need to do, and also view the dashboards to get quick, meaningful, actionable data. Second was scalability. Milo’s knew they wanted to grow their use of whatever system they chose. TrakSYS offered the scalability they were looking for. Third was the versatility to work with their existing infrastructure without any major upgrades. They were able to install TrakSYS and start getting data. Going along with that thought was the relatively quick start up time. They were able to plan, design, develop, and start using the system in a matter of a few months.

Q2: We are just starting to look into our company’s Industry 4.0 strategy. Any additional recommendations on how we should start?

A2: Many Pilots and Proof of Concepts are not successful because they don’t leverage best practices and learnings from successful deployments. Considerations should include:
1. Business drivers first—make sure to focus on solving business problems. Big problems that can be solved with a little investment deliver large ROI.
2. Stakeholder alignment
3. Consider technology stack to minimize number of technologies used.

Q3: How well did the operators and floor leaders adopt TrakSYS? What do you attribute the adoption results to this successful implementation?

A3: Operator adoption and ownership of the TrakSYS solution went very well. Operators provided feedback throughout the process from development to post go-live. Polytron was able to quickly incorporate many of the requests received by the Operators using remote access and given the flexibility with the TrakSYS platform. The Operators realized that their input was valued and that ultimately it was their system. In addition, they saw that they could use the system to better track and meet their production targets, which translated to financial incentives.

Q4: How much of the physical equipment was newly installed? How much of it was retrofitted to interact with TrakSYS?

A4: All of the equipment in the Alabama plant was existing. We upgraded several PLCs to make them Ethernet compatible. All of the equipment in Tulsa was new and came with Ethernet ready PLCs. As mentioned, the TrakSYS IIoT Smart Devices were also added in areas where the equipment did not have PLCs.

Q5: Can you have an event chronicle within TrakSYS? Event audits? Event genealogy?

A5: TrakSYS provides many tools for capturing data, providing genealogy information, and CFR 21 Part 11 compliance for Audits. Teams can capture Event Data directly from machine controls and utilize web-forms for manual data entry. TrakSYS also offers a wide range of Pareto and other KPI reports, enabling the analysis of event data.

TrakSYS Task Management is used to remind operators to perform critical functions, such as quality checks or electronic logbook/EBR entries. This function also serves to capture and validate all the information related to a given task. All data captured by TrakSYS (and all changes made to the data) can be automatically maintained in an audit trail using the TrakSYS Audit function.

Finally, TrakSYS Journals can be used to collect a wide range of information related to shift reports, component issues, training, and more. These digital entries make that information available to the plant team through searchable Web reports. TrakSYS can also provide full product BOM, traceability, and genealogy through its Materials Management capability.