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Reduce Make Ready Time and Increase Margins

Time is precious when you’re changing jobs on the production floor, we get it. With the investment in your machines and staff, the only time you’re making money is when they are running. If you can improve your pace of job set up, you can improve your margins and reduce time.

Automatic tracking and counts as jobs are run allow your operators to focus on other production needs. Automation is a huge time saver, and can reduce human errors on your production documents and job tickets. What if you had a way to capture shop-floor data while reducing the opportunity for human error when reporting at the end of the run, job, or shift?

We’ve seen many folding carton manufacturers run into this same issue time and time again. They are losing margin and billable hours when setting up jobs and documenting production details at the end of each job. Since your equipment is so automated and efficient, we wanted to offer you another way to find efficiencies and make more money.

We did the comparison to see where we could help manufacturers save more money. Those who have installed WIP Tracker can shave about 3 minutes off every make ready. Operators can simply click “done” and counts and data are recorded for make ready. Then it’s on to run or the next job.

Additional data is captured with run times, operator names, materials used, environmental conditions, actual piece counts, and so much more. Data is automatically saved, stored and made available for staff throughout the facility – and can trigger the next steps in your processes, depending on your ERP solution.

It’s all about communication and accurate data. These things play a huge role in improving processes to be more efficient and profitable. And this, is how you could bill nearly $20k more per work center by improving your set up times from job to job throughout the day.

Where did we get our numbers from?
  • An average of about $8.30/ job to change or make ready based on an hourly employee rate
  • Sale price of $550/hour to run a job on machine
  • Average of 3 job changes per day
  • Equals about $19,000 per year for operators to fill out paperwork


Reduce Your Rework in Real-Time

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Materials, process, and labor are the biggest factors folding carton manufacturers can improve to increase profit margins. The better manufacturing and inventory processes are the more efficient your people can be, therefore you are able to improve your profit margins.

When you’re slicing pennies as thin as you are, you need tools that help you save any fraction of a penny you can.

Our flagship product, CartonERP was developed specifically for folding carton manufacturers to use in improving their operations and communications, all of which is in order to improve efficiency. Our newest software product, WIP Tracker, provides you and your team with real-time data so staff throughout the plant can see things as they are happening. In the manufacturing process, issues with a run often don’t come to light until the job has been completed.  Often during shift change; job change or regular inspection intervals are when any problems are discovered. However, if you could see items getting flagged from a computer dashboard or app from your mobile device, you could catch any discrepancy in real time and take action before loosing valuable materials or staff time.

WIP Tracker was designed with easy to recognize data visualization tools, which include areas that are green, yellow and red so you know at-a-glance how things are moving – good, caution or an alert if there is an issue or stoppage. Having these metrics available to you at any time gives you more visibility of production as it happens – allowing you to make improvements, catch issues and resolve them much quicker. Early detection of these issues can save time, materials and money.

Analysis of post-production data is historical information. It’s done and there’s nothing you can do to change it. This means your company takes longer to find issues or opportunities for improvement when you’re sending data to an engineer to review spreadsheets. It’s historical data, and then it’s silo’d in a spreadsheet. We know this issue all too well in the folding carton industry, and others. Which is why we’ve developed software that allows you track every step of the manufacturing process, monitoring as it happens, and having the information immediately available from any device – be it your mobile phone, a tablet or desktop computer.

If you’re tired of looking back at completed production reports and talking with your team about what you could have done to prevent this, or what you will do next time, then perhaps you should take a look at WIP Tracker and our other business software products for your industry. Feel free to contact us, request information or a demo.

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Speed + Quality + People + Machine + Materials + Customer = Output (Profit, Costs, Etc.)


Overall Equipment Efficiency is more than just a buzzword, it’s a detail every manufacturer must know in order to improve the bottom line.

We talked before about If You Can Measure It, You Can Improve It. There are so many variables to be measured in the folding carton industry, from job to job or even from machine to machine. Our WIP Tracker product idea came from a software product for athletes, who need to monitor multiple variables to improve their performance.

Cyclists, for example, can monitor time or distance ride to ride – but that isn’t a clear enough picture. Think about all the variables in tracking performance during a bike ride:

  • Weather – rain, snow, wind or sunny
  • Hills and terrain
  • Elevation
  • Distance into the ride
  • Heart Rate
  • Speed
  • Time of day
  • Type of ride – practice, fun, race

All of this data is then consolidated so you can see all of the variables during each ride.

 These very same principles apply to folding carton manufacturing

  • How do you know which materials are run well on your machines? If you could know for sure that paperboard from supplier A always runs faster, better, cleaner than supplier B, wouldn’t you want to know?
  • Or, if Operator X always complains that the machine gives him/her issues while running a job, but Operator Y runs the same job, same machine without issue – and much faster – you’d want to know, right? This information would allow you to better cross train that operator X, and thus increase efficiency and make more money on those jobs.
  • Say you ran Job A in February and again in May – but the May run was way off in terms of timing, it shouldn’t have taken as long.  Then you ran it again in June and time was improved, but the machine and operator were the same. How could you find out what was different? This is exactly the type of data and insights missing from the shop floor.  You need visibility to humidity, materials supplier, operator, and other many other metrics to improve reporting and production review.  You can monitor and respond in real-time, and review all of this information before setting up a repeat job. This exact information empowers you to quote, schedule, and run more effectively.

This is the type of contextual data that can put you ahead of other folding carton manufacturers. You’re able to measure all data points where they intersect at the micro (and actionable) level.

What type of information can WIP Tracker monitor?

  • Machine Speed
  • Waste Report
  • Operators
  • Supplier / Materials
  • Job (customer, carton, printing)
  • Humidity Levels
  • So much more

At any point of the job run, you can have reports that tell you: This person, ran this material this time of day at this humidity level and their output was ____.

Pretty powerful information, giving you a competitive advantage. Let’s talk about putting this to work for you. Request a demo today.

If you can measure it, you can improve it.

Manufacturers often struggle with the quality of data coming from the production floor. The data and information input by operators can be as varied as the locations, shifts and machines they are running.

When it comes to folding carton and packaging manufacturers where every fraction of a penny counts, having the right measurements and visibility to those measures allows you to identify issues and resolve them before too much time (or money) is wasted.

Our latest product and software solution, WIP Tracker, allows production management real-time visibility to how your equipment and operators are running. Our team’s years of experience in the folding carton industry is your advantage to products that work. We know you can’t be everywhere in your plant at once. WIP Tracker was created to provide you with visibility to the shop floor.

Measure More Manufacturing Data in Real-Time, from Anywhere

You no longer need to rely solely on operators for correct data. In fact, with the assistance of WIP Tracker units, you can shift your operator’s focus from doing paperwork to being skill craftsman. They will be happier and the company will be more successful with more accurate and actionable data, which is automatically input by the WIP Tracker. Then simple dashboards, available on your computer or mobile device, are available at any time. Areas are highlighted with green, yellow and red – so you know where attention needs to be directed quickly to resolve any issues.

Trouble areas are hard to isolate with a single basic metrics like a total number of hours and pieces pieces per hour. Although the following scenarios share the same number of pieces per hour the opportunity for improvement is very different.

  • What if the machine ran for 2 hours and ran “slow” because of Material output?
  • What if the machine ran fast, but had an issue with multiple stops through out the run?

WIP Tracker gives you this granular data so you can address specific issues. You wouldn’t know if timing and output is related to an man, material or machine.

If you can’t measure it, you don’t know. And if you don’t know, you can’t improve it. WIP Tracker was designed specifically for folding carton manufacturers to give you a holistic set of data points, allow you to effectively measure the entire production process, and improve efficiencies to impact your bottom line.

For more information or to request a demo, contact us today.

WIP Tracker Featured in GRBJ

Software Maker Releases Tracking Product for Manufacturers


Published by Grand Rapids Business Journal on September 2, 2016

A software maker has developed a new tracking product to help manufacturers improve visibility, traceability and efficiency on the production floor.

Work in Progress, or WIP, Tracker by Workpack Solutions in Marne, a business systems software developer, is a set of hardware and software that collects data on the production process that can be accessed remotely by smartphones and other mobile devices.

Kristie Vos, Workpack Solutions president, said WIP Tracker also features dashboards that provide manufacturers with greater context than they typically have when reviewing data. She said that contextual data is particularly beneficial in helping manufacturers improve future runs.

WIP Tracker connects to manufacturing equipment electronically, either with an electronic eye or by connecting to an existing counter on the machine. Read the full article here:

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) Calculation

Manufacturing Measurement and Data Visualization

The manufacturing world is changing. It is speeding up with expectations for efficiency that are higher than ever. In the world of folding carton packaging manufacturing, companies are faced with this and several other aspects including inventory management, product tracking, real time data visualization and work in progress traceability.

Often, production teams can be overwhelmed with data, and management of it. Still, the more information you have better your business can run. Efficiency is the name of the game here. How many good products can you make and how effectively are you using your current labor, equipment and planned materials? The WIP tracker is an exceptional solution to assist with OEE in your facility.

The WIP Tracker from Workpack Solutions provides more transparency to your manufacturing process, performance, machine optimization, and production quality, giving you visibility to on how best to optimize and maximize productivity. Efficiency is a huge competitive advantage. Focusing on Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) we can look at how this data can give you accurate measures on:


Monitor run time along with shift changes, breakdowns, and overall production counts of cartons.


Count pieces and compare count output with available capacity, charting speed, time, and quality.


Monitor overall production counts for good and bad Product. WIP Tracker separates make-ready waste counts from good run counts then stores data for analytics and reporting.

While these data points are available from other separate sources, having all of this data contextually available to management and production staff via computer or mobile device at any time allows for immediate correction. WIP Tracker can illuminate problems that exist in a manufacturing process, whether it is material, equipment or staff related.

When it comes to OEE, WIP Tracker offers you a complete solution with hardware and software. It connects management to the equipment, manufacturing systems, productivity and production staff. The WIP Tracker is able to communicate with nearly any device or equipment, allowing for access to job specific performance metrics and detailed reports via the CartonERP management system dashboards or through a separate WIP Tracker interface.

For nearly six decades, the manufacturing industry has strived for continuous improvement in production output and quality. OEE has been the map guiding this.

In an information age fixated on automation and optimization, WIP Tracker provides a cost effective solution of hardware and software combined. Ensure your folding carton production facility is able to monitor, measure and respond to all work in progress, improving OEE with this innovative new solution. For more information or for a free demo, please contact us today.