Leveling the Playing Field for the Millennial Generation

No one likes an unfair game or an unfair system. With access to new technology such as the internet and social platforms, the new generation is keenly aware of and particularly sensitive to the injustices of the past and the present. The challenge with traditional employee measurement and incentive programs on the plant floor is that there is no common denominator. No way to truly compare the drill press operation to the CNC machine to the cutting of steel. FreePoint Technologies patent pending Shiftworx platform is the world’s first true application that completely flattens the factory floor and levels the playing field for everyone – even millennials. By effectively adopting the core concepts of lean manufacturing and applying technology solutions, FreePoint measures actual value added work vs waste in the exact same way in every process.

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While powerful, but becoming increasingly common in machine monitoring, this new cloud connecting technology platform enables the development of deep gamification and engagement tools for any process, cell, plant or group of plants that wish to be at the forefront of attracting and retaining the future workforce. There are no barriers due to language or location. All people and all process are measured in the same common sense and fair manner. Easy to understand and universal in its application, FreePoint equips manufacturers today with the tools and technologies to leverage their existing assets into millennial ready and smart manufacturing powerhouses of tomorrow.


For more information on how FreePoint can help level the playing field for your employees, millennial or not, please contact engage@getfreepoint.com.

FreePoint Helps Client Increase Productivity by 25%

The following case study demonstrates how FreePoint’s technologies were successfully used by a manufacturer to help increase their productivity by 25% in one year.

The customer is an Ontario-based machine tool shop. All of the company’s orders are for custom, single unit production. The following figures and study focus on their 6 most critical machines.  

Mills: Oct – Dec 2015 vs Oct – Dec 2016 Baseline

To establish a baseline for comparison, the chart below shows the operating time for the mills for the period of October 1 to December 23 for 2015 and 2016 on a 24 hour X 5 basis.

In 2015, the average spindle time was 30.78% and for the same period in 2016, the average was 38.58%. This equates to an increase of 562 minutes, or 9.4 hours of additional utilization per week, per machine, or 1.2 extra shifts per week per machine. This represents a 25% increase over the same period last year.

Calculated net benefit:

The net improvement achieved in the operation of the mills in 2016 would be 141% of the cost of one full time operator for one shift. Assuming one full time operator costs the company $100K (all in cost), the net cost benefit would be $141K. Or looked at another way, if one hour of machine time generates $80 in revenue, the added revenue created equals 9.4hrs X 6 machines X 52 weeks X $80 = $234,624.     

“Value Added Time” vs Spindle Time

The charts in this report are all based on the actual spindle running under load minutes. The FreePoint system uses a proprietary algorithm to determine “value adding time” because the spindle is often not on the entire time that the part is being machined. The value adding calculation is reflective of the period of time the machine is productively busy. For the critical machines in this particular year-over-year report, the algorithm calculated that the “value added” time is typically 1.8 X the actual spindle running under load time. The net financial benefits shown above could arguably be adjusted by this factor (making the net positive effect over $420,000).

Mills: 2016 year overall

The charts below show the mills for the entire year. The chart on the left shows the seasonal trends for the year. January and February are slow, March to June are strong, July and August are flat again, and then September to December are strong again.



The chart on the left shows all the machines week by week while the chart on the right shows each machine for the year.

On a 24 X 5 basis (24 hours per day, 5 days per week), the total average utilization time for all the mills in 2016 was 33.5%.

Mills 2016: Quarter by Quarter

On a quarter by quarter basis, you can clearly see the seasonal ebbs and flows: January and February are slow, March to June are strong, July and August are flat again, and then September to December are strong again.

Spindle time vs revenue generation time

The “spindle” time captured represents the time the spindle is working on the part and creating revenue. Setup and teardown are also other activities that are often factored into the cost of the job and are therefore could be considered as “revenue creating”. FreePoint’s ShiftWorx platform is capable of capturing set up times and tear down times, but this information is often already available from many company’s ERP systems.

Down Time Code and Notifications Modules now available:

Downtime codes can now also be collected by the ShiftWorx system. This function was not used by this customer in 2016, but it is available, along with email and text alarm and alert notifications.

For more information on how FreePoint can help you increase productivity, please contact info@getfreepoint.comRemember, you can’t improve what you don’t measure!

FreePoint Helps A Customer Increase Their Productivity By 42%

The following case study demonstrates how FreePoint’s technologies were successfully used by their customer to help increase the productivity of a critical machine by 42%.

The customer is a leading international manufacturer and distributor of high quality die sets, components, steel plates, and metal fabrications used in the production of tools, dies, and molds. The following figures demonstrate the impact of FreePoint Technologies’ system.   

During FreePoint’s ShiftWorx training in November 2015 with the client, ShiftWorx tools were used to assess the impact of the company’s recent continuous improvement project with a critical vertical machining centre. In September 2015 the customer implemented a change in their process, and FreePoint decided to use that situation as a training example.

The first chart below shows the active machining time for the machine from October 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016. FreePoint used this period to establish a “baseline” from which to compare the future improvements against. The period was selected for the following reasons:

  • The machine was operated by the same operator for the same shift in a steady fashion for a long period of time
  • The period did not include the traditional vacation period (July and August)
  • Workload varied from week to week and month to month, but a 9 month period leveled out the peaks and valleys.
  • “Zero days” show up on the chart but are excluded from the average calculation.
  • The percentage are based on a 24 hour (or 1440 minute) “day”. They can easily be converted to a shift by multiplying the percentage by 1440 (total for a 24 hour day) and then dividing by the minutes in that shift. (For instance, 11.72% of a 480-minute shift would be 35%)

The chart below shows that on average, the machine operated 11.72% of a 24 hour day, or 169 minutes of “value adding” time on a single 8-hour shift, which equates to 34.2%.


For comparison purposes, the following chart shows the summer months – June 2015 and July 2015. There are 3 weeks of inactivity, likely due to holidays or lack of work for the machine. The daily average is down a bit, to 10% of a 24 hour period, or 144 minutes or 30% for the 8-hour shift.

The month of September shows a slight increase over the pre-summer numbers, at 12.75% of a 24 hour period, or 183 minutes of value adding time per day or 38% for the 8-hour shift.

The month of October comes in at 13.46% of 24 hours, or 194 minutes or 40.4% of an 8-hour shift.

And finally, November 2016 (up to November 25th) comes in at 16.76%, or 241 minutes of value adding activity, equal to 50.2% of the 8-hour shift.

This represents a 42.6% increase in value adding machining time when compared to the baseline established for the 9 month period from October 2015 through June 2016.

We had the opportunity to ask the customer some clarifying questions to gain an insight into the effect FreePoint Technologies had on their business.

Q: What problem were you trying to solve?

A: The problem we were trying to solve was to reduce setup times on the machine and to increase the time the machine was working.

Q: What change or changes made the biggest impact?

A: The two biggest changes were that we added setup vises for clamping material, and made changes to our programming. Parts are put in vice and clamped square, reducing setup time on the first side. We also made changes to the program so that the face head was in contact with the material making chips more often. We did this by reducing air passes and reducing program editing by the operator.

Q: How long did it take to implement the change?

A: It took about 2 weeks to implement the changes and we saw results immediately.

For more information on how FreePoint can help your continuous improvement efforts, please contact engage@getfreepoint.comRemember, you can’t improve what you don’t measure!