Project management software How software helps contract manufacturers win projects
New manufacturing project management software advances from Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division enable sheet-metal fabricators to connect data from planning, quoting, and manufacturing systems to improve decision making and productivity.
A new software solution from Hexagon connects tools to automate planning and production processes for fabrication. By connecting with computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) systems, the software helps production shops to automate planning and production processes, from determining material usage and production time estimation to optimising processes and sheet-metal nesting strategies, from a single dashboard.
Managing inventory to meet just-in-time material requirements can be an intricate balancing act as production teams strive to quickly secure and complete new projects. Hexagon’s manufacturing project management software, Workplan, now eliminates manual data entry by making it possible to repurpose existing job-quotation data to rapidly begin projects and provide an overview of job requirements so production teams can track projects throughout planning and production. Its centralised inventory database oversees supply needs, simplifying the management of materials and supplier information, and enables users to conveniently order materials directly from the system’s interface.
Connecting the manufacturing project management system with CAM solutions enables manufacturers to quickly analyse production needs and manage downstream activities by eliminating manual data entry and capturing valuable proprietary information. For sheet-metal fabrication, Workplan now connects directly to Hexagon’s Radan CAM software so that comprehensive material data, including sheet sizes, current pricing, and product codes, can be added to Workplan’s inventory and used for job quotations. These more accurate job quotes can include production data used by the system to determine material needs, as well as the time per part and the total time that each project requires.
Tapping into Hexagon’s specialist sheet-metal solution, Workplan can now manage coils of material as it does other material types, including the option to reserve quantities of material for specific jobs. As the software automatically maintains a current record of inventory, jobs are flagged for follow-up if there is not enough material in stock to complete a project. Because users can simply cut the size of material that they need from the coil, the system’s ability to process coil usage reduces the number of material types that need to be digitally stored and managed.
Furthermore, users can now track the progress of nests from the shop floor using barcode scanners that reduce the risk of selecting incorrect projects when working with multiple nests on the shop floor. Using a touchscreen station located in the production department, a manual barcode scanner can be used to scan the barcode on the operator’s printed instruction sheet to view the status of a corresponding nest in progress displayed on the touchscreen.
Mould and die shops also benefit from improved connectivity with CAD. Workplan software can now also import a bill of materials (BOM) from Hexagon’s Visi solution, automatically updating the information as designs progress within the dashboard.
Workplan 2022.0 also includes productivity improvements for contractors and OEM departments that need to integrate the software with their enterprise IT systems. Employees can track time from anywhere using a convenient and responsive mobile-friendly web page that’s customised to their specific duties, making it more convenient for staff to capture data quickly and accurately into the system. Companies can also now control user rights with a single sign on (SSO) through Microsoft Active Directory to simplify IT administration and security, and to configure the batch creation and emailing of invoices to daily, weekly, or monthly schedules to reduce repetitive administrative tasks.