Creating efficiencies within your company drives speed. Anytime you can do something faster, you can get more done, right? And if you put two people on the same task, it goes even faster. For the past few months, we’ve been working on a project to drive productivity, speed and most importantly, visibility to what we’re doing.
It’s All Relative
Long story short – we are becoming more environmentally friendly by implementing a MRP II system custom designed for Sunset Hill Stoneware. Called HawkPoint, this system is the brainchild of Troy Dunsirn. Troy is the son of Duane Dunsirn, the brother of Tom Dunsirn and the founder of HawkPoint Technologies, LLC. Duane has partnered with his two sons to support the next generation of family entrepreneurs.
HawkPoint Technologies employs a staff of experts who install fully-engaged Shop Floor and MRP II systems, along with dashboard technology and IT services to support manufacturing environments. We can tell you, it’s nice to have them on our side. Known mostly in the paper industry for supporting converting and tag and label customers, the HawkPoint team has expanded their workflow expertise by adding hand-thrown mugs to their portfolio.
Less Rework, More Visibility
Prior to our HawkPoint implementation, we handwrote customer orders. In this digital age, we worked hard to find employees with great customer service skills – and great penmanship. Those days are over. Now when you call your favorite account specialist, they will begin to enter your order into our system as you are on the phone. Every detail of your order is entered with a few clicks. You want 96 Executive Slim mugs in Black Cherry. Done! You changed your mind and want Honeycomb instead? We don’t have to tear up your order, use white out or erase what we wrote. We simply change it online prior to your order being scheduled.
The artwork that appears on your final mug medallion is crafted in many stages. It starts with our design team at the office where they digitally design your artwork to be hand pressed into clay. The design team loads your artwork into the HawkPoint system, so the account specialist can attach it to your order. Once your order digitally arrives at our manufacturing facility, our production staff begins to prepare your approved artwork into a clay medallion that will be pressed out and eventually appear on your selected stoneware piece.
The Shop That Doesn’t Stop
After your order is received at the shop and your artwork medallion is in the process of being developed, Jason, our production manager, begins to schedule your order for production. He assigns orders based on in-hand dates and artisan capabilities as some 'big boy' styles take additional experience and physical strength to throw. Jason simply assigns work by electronically dragging/dropping orders to a potter.
Equipped with personal computer screens, the potters view their orders at their work station and begin throwing. Vital details like the style, quantity of pieces and other details are visually in front of them on the computer as they are throwing. The HawkPoint system shows what the customer wants without the potter cleaning off their hands between mugs.
The new technology helps every employee rearrange orders according to efficiency. This is especially true in our glazing area. Glazers can hand dip 400 Galaxy Night pieces without switching back and forth to mix new glazes. This saves time while giving the glazers improved visibility of the orders needed to complete.
From a management side, we now have visibility to employee production – how many pieces completed on a given day whether its mugs being thrown, handles applied or glazing completed. It also helps with inventory levels ensuring we don’t run out of clay, glaze colors or packaging boxes.
Shipping Made Easy
HawkPoint technology has made our shipping process easier. Our shipping department team can virtually pack boxes while physically packing your mugs and steins. This creates additional quality control to ensure all your items are accounted for and packed to perfection. Integrated with UPS, our shipping department easily exports your shipping information to UPS WorldShip as they place your last mug into its box.
As America’s Greenest Cleanest Pottery, our new HawkPoint system is helping us save trees and time. Call our account specialists to place your first order or reorder your favorites in new glaze colors. We’re dedicated to helping you keep stock on your shelves.
Keeping watch. Pat