Ajax Textile Processing Success Story: Overview
Ajax Textile, the largest independent textile dyeing and finishing plant in Canada, uses PMC to maintain an extensive array of equipment that must operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Read on to learn more about the Ajax Textile Processing success story.
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Ajax Textile Processing Company Ltd. is the largest independent textile dyeing and finishing plant in Canada. The company produces fabric used for active wear and casual wear, such as sweat suits, golf shirts and T-shirts. The plant, which occupies 125,000 square feet, contains an extensive array of equipment that must be in top condition because it runs virtually 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Challenge: Non-Y2K-Compliant Software
Like many companies in the late 1990s, Ajax discovered that the company’s mainframe operating system was not Y2K-compliant. Unfortunately for maintenance supervisor Don Holden, the IT department had its hands full implementing a new operating system and preparing for the year 2000 transition, and didn’t have time to update the maintenance software — which had been developed in-house to make it compatible with the new operating system. “It would have taken a year for them to get to it, and I couldn’t operate without software for that long,” says Holden. “I was more or less on my own.”
The Solution: Start Simply with PMC
Holden began searching for a packaged computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) to replace their outdated software. He researched and evaluated a number of products before choosing PMC. “I selected DPSI’s PMC because it was similar to what we had before, but better,” says Holden. “PMC is more adaptable, and there are many more things you can do with it.” It took two months for Holden to convert to the new system. “We had to re-enter all 260 assets, but we were able to copy and paste many of the work orders into PMC. It was user-friendly that way.”
“You can start off quite simply,” says Holden. “You type in the procedures you want done to service one machine, and tell it how often that service should be done. That’s enough to start. You don’t have to have every part and piece in there to get started. Then you can keep adding more and more information to it over time, changing and adding as you go. The more information you put in, the more useful it becomes.”
Today, Holden has all the preventive maintenance for the year scheduled. He even inserted a reminder of the company’s annual inspection by the fire department. “As I add or lose equipment or personnel, or want to do something different to the machine, I just add as I go. It’s quite flexible.” Holden prints off more than 100 work orders a week. “Every Friday morning, it takes me about an hour and a half to produce the work orders for the coming week. Our secretary takes the work orders and parcels them out to our 20 employees, each of whom has a binder with his own set of work orders. Then she closes out the work orders that have been completed,” reports Holden.
Flexible Scheduling Ensures Work Order Completion
Of course, scheduling work to be done isn’t the same as actually accomplishing it. “If tasks aren’t completed, they’re left open in the files until they are finished,” says Holden. “I can run a report to see what hasn’t been finished. If a PM is one week late, a report goes to the supervisor of the person to whom it was assigned. Two weeks late and a report goes to the supervisor’s boss. Three weeks late, they have to deal with me.”
One cause for incomplete work orders is scheduling difficulties. Certain procedures take eight hours with six men working on a machine; others require that a critical piece of equipment be shut down for a week. With the high demand for Ajax’s textiles, it can be hard to schedule the necessary downtime. But, as Holden tells the production manager, “You’ve got to give it to me eventually. Pay me now or pay me later.” Fortunately, the plant owner is sold on the value of preventive maintenance. “His motto is ‘fix it before it breaks,’” says Holden.
Despite excellent preventive maintenance, sometimes machines break down. When that happens, Holden can go back and reconstruct the history of the machine: what preventive maintenance was done and who did it. “This helps me determine the cause of the breakdown,” he says. “It also lets me keep an eye on our employees. I can tell if the preventive maintenance work was actually done or not. I can look at the state of the machine and say, ‘There’s no way this could change from this state to that in 24 hours.’ You catch the odd bad character that way.” On the other hand, there is such a thing as too much maintenance. “Tracking work orders also shows me if we don’t need to do things as often,” says Holden. He can then reduce the frequency of certain tasks, freeing up time for other work.
PMC’s Friendly, Flexible Support Makes Learning Easy
After having taught himself how to use PMC, Holden stumbled across a faster way to cancel a work order with just a point and click. He called PMC support and spoke with a technician who confirmed that Holden’s method was sound. As Holden recalls the incident, “We started chatting, and the support technician suggested that I take a three-to-five day software training seminar in Greensboro, North Carolina. We’re up here in Ontario, and I didn’t have time to go. Then I asked where they were located. It turned out that the help desk is in Newfoundland, a short distance from a town where we own a vacation home. Although DPSI doesn’t usually schedule training there, the company arranged for me to have one-on-one training in Grand Falls Windsor because it was so much more convenient for me.”
“DPSI’s support staff is very good,” Holden continues. “They usually respond within a half-hour, and sometimes in as little as five minutes. One time, a colleague in training at the plant accidentally messed up the system. I talked to support and they were able to get it all back.”
The Future: Explore PMC’s Capabilities to the Fullest
“PMC is a good system; we’re quite pleased with it,” says Holden. “We haven’t utilized it as much as we could, but it’s doing a lot of work for us and we’re looking into going further with it.” “PMC has already proven to be indispensable,” adds Holden. “At this point, there’s no way I could run this plant without PMC.”
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