Microsoft Best Apps Conference – FreePoint is Delivering IIoT Results Now!

FreePoint Technologies is featured at this weeks Microsoft Best Apps Conference, taking place live Thursday, May 20, 2021 from 1:30 – 3:00pm EST.  Manufacturers will be participating virtually and listening to various industry leaders presenting on the Top 10 software / apps essential to help Canadian businesses achieve their Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) goals in the current economic environment.

FreePoint Technologies Microsoft Best Apps Conference

FreePoint Technologies’ ShiftWorx software delivers IIoT results now!  Presentation by Paul Hogendoorn at Microsoft’s Best Apps Conference is at 2:15pm on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

Paul Hogendoorn the founder of FreePoint will be presenting on how our SaaS solution affords manufacturers the means to connect their machines, to visualize and report data, and motivate their workforce to improve.

ShiftWorx - FreePoint Technologies Inc.

The barrier to entry has never been so low – ShiftWorx provides manufacturers of any size, with any number of machines regardless of age or type the ability to connect those assets in the cloud, improve productivity, understand data, and engage their people.

ShiftWorx manufacturing KPI dashboards provide visualized data in an easy-to-understand layout that empowers the user with integral knowledge needed to improve; including productivity data such as machine status (is the machine operating and adding-value, or not?), uptime and downtime tracking, quality and waste tracking, and more with powerful Business Intelligence (BI) reports accessible at the press of a button.

Ultimately, ShiftWorx connects every machine, and reports accordingly so that all involved are on the same page and equipped to always make informed decisions.  We live by the credo that one cannot improve what is not measured, and we have proven the information ShiftWorx provides is pivotal to achieve that goal.

As a leader in Industry 4.0 innovation, we have developed a machine connectivity and reporting solution any manufacturer can benefit from; and we have truly reduced the obstacles to entry with a software product that is not expensive, and not difficult to integrate or use – so we ask, what are you waiting for?  Contact us today to get started!

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn

Three Reasons for Manufacturing’s Resilience

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn

Paul Hogendoorn – FreePoint Founder

Earlier this month, FreePoint Founder and CRO, Paul Hogendoorn was featured in Manufacturing Automation Magazine for his article titled “Three Reasons for Manufacturing’s Resilience During the Pandemic”. Throughout his article, Paul explains that demand remains strong for the “higher value” products where North American manufacturers primarily focus, as consumers spend their discretionary income on “durables” instead “consumables” like entertainment, vacations, and services.

As value-adding activity has retuned to pre-COVID-19 levels, technology allows a lot of the administration and management to be done remotely. While COVID-19 has been tumultuous for life outside of the factory, for some, life in the factory has provided a period of near normalcy as PPE was already part of many jobs and breaks and interactions were largely structured.

Paul goes on to explain that manufacturing’s resilience can directly be attributed to the efforts of our great people – from operators, to management, to the c-suite. Our people are dedicated, dependable and deliver tangible results every day. Employees are buying what they are making and manufacturers are creating both the product and the market for the product.

As Paul says in the culmination of the article “The companies that have come through this stronger have done so by sharpening their focus on their value adding activities, getting more done in less time, and by unleashing the adaptive, dedicated and innovative potential of their people. ”

Get all the expert insights by reading the full article here.

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn

FreePoint – Year in Review

With the help of our partners, clients and employees, 2020 has been a year of change and growth for FreePoint Technologies. As we approach the end of the year, we like to reflect on our biggest accomplishments as well as the individuals that made them possible.

2020 started with a bang as we released ShiftWorx Plus, a revolutionary addition to the ShiftWorx platform that drove end-to-end real time insight into every aspect of the manufacturing floor. ShiftWorx Plus unlocked manufacturing data related to:

  • Jobs, Parts, Work Orders
  • Scrap, Waste, SKUs
  • Operators, Team Leads, SupervisorsShiftWorx Plus Benefits

As demand for our ShiftWorx product suite grew, our custom software team shifted their focus to exclusively manufacturing. This was coupled with an acquisition of FreePoint’s non-manufacturing clients by Direct Impact Solutions who continued to serve the non-manufacturing CoreSolutions customers.

This renewed focus propelled significant growth and improvement in our cutting edge product offerings as we launched:

Like all businesses this year, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the COVID-19 pandemic. This presented unprecedented challenges and a changing work environment for manufacturers, as we saw production pauses and an increased focus on remote monitoring.  As the manufacturing industry restarted, we saw strong manufacturers emerge from the pandemic stronger and with renewed commitment to IIoT technologies. Data collected during the pandemic revealed some very interesting observations and our own team transitioned to working remotely, which the majority continue to do today.

2020 brought new relationships and strategic partnerships with world class ERP and manufacturing solutions providers like MIE Solutions, 3IS, and CIMX. These partners align with our corporate vision of prioritizing deep technology-driven insight, technical expertise, and actionable data in an easily understood format to help manufacturers increase production capacity, enhance employee engagement, and ultimately drive sustainable growth.

FreePoint and CME Logo2020 also saw us selected as Qualified Service Providers with Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) and has allowed us to work closely with many Ontario manufacturers through their Technology Assessment Program (TAP) and Grant.

It has been a very productive and exciting year for FreePoint Technologies. To our valued clients, loyal partners and dedicated employees, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to you for accompanying us on our continued journey.

We have big things on the horizon for 2021, and we can’t wait to share all that comes in the new year with you.

Happy Holidays!

 

FreePoint Returns to Microsoft’s Vox ISM Event

FreePoint is excited and honored to be taking part in another online Best Manufacturing Apps Conference (BMAC). Hosted by Microsoft Canada partner, VOX ISM. BMAC is the one-stop experience that brings together Canadian manufacturers, industry experts, and Microsoft’s top APPs, helping to keep them on the forefront of manufacturing’s digital transformation. Microsoft & VOX ISM have assembled the top 10 Manufacturing Apps in one place. All products are industry leaders & certified by Microsoft.  ShiftWorx PlusThis iteration of the conference will be an online experience with sessions and virtual vendor booths. FreePoint’s Director of Sales and Partnerships, Alan MacKinnon will be demonstrating How to Drive Efficiency, Meaningful Insight, and Financial Performance Through Integrating Real Time Machine Data and Business Systems, in addition to displaying our non-invasive machine monitoring software and hardware solutions.

According to Vox ISM, there are 4 reasons you should be attending the 2020 BMAC conference:

  1. You are looking for new ideas, trends and applications to help support your growing manufacturing company
  2. Your business has changed since COVID, but your ERP system hasn’t. You now need mobile access, better security, better reporting, and a system that can keep up with continuous improvements
  3. You are looking to invest in automation to reduce costs and labor in Finance, Manufacturing, Quality or Supply Chain departments
  4. You want to learn how to get funding and grants to accelerate the adoption of new technology

If you would like to attend this years conference, you can register here.

 

FreePoint Technologies Is Now One of The Qualified Service Providers for CME

We are excited to announce that FreePoint Technologies has been approved as one of the Qualified Service Providers for the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) Technology Assessment Program.

The Technology Assessment Program connects manufacturers in Southern Ontario with qualified experts and provides grants of up to $25,000 in reimbursable funds for creating a customized plan on how they can improve productivity by capitalizing on existing assets and implementing the latest advanced manufacturing technologies including hardware, software, and cloud computing.

As one of CME’s Technology Assessment Program qualified assessors, FreePoint will work with companies to create the customized plan and  upon completion of the assessment, will recommend an action plan that will enable manufacturers to make informed decisions to assess, purchase, adopt, implement, train and maintain new technologies.

“We are extremely excited to be selected as a Qualified Service Provider for the CME Technology Assessment Program.” Said FreePoint Founder Paul Hogendoorn. “This program will help manufacturers in Southern Ontario understand and make meaningful investment into technologies that provide actionable data driven insight to drive sustainable growth, increase production capacity and enhance employee engagement.”

Technology Assessments can focus on areas such as:

  • Productivity
  • Process flow
  • Quality (for example, ISO Certification)
  • Waste reduction
  • Environmental impact (various green certifications)
  • Energy efficiency (production level)
  • Information and management systems

POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGY ADOPTION

Lower Operating Costs

Digitization opens the door to the collection of data that can be mined to identify efficiencies in existing operations, decrease downtime, and monitor and guide production activity.

Increased Product Quality

Advanced technologies can help to root out errors and deficiencies in production, boost quality control, and lead to overall improvements in the production process.

Higher Innovation Capacity

Technologies like 3D printing and rapid prototyping speed innovation cycles and can unlock new abilities and capacity that were previously unavailable to producers.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

Digitization and advanced technology use can increase customer satisfaction by decreasing response times, creating more specialization and customization opportunities, and improving product quality.

For more information on the eligibility requirements and FAQ’s of the program please visit https://cme-mec.ca/technology_assessments/

Interested in finding out more, Reach out to us today.

FreePoint Founder Outlines Why Industry 4.0 is Not as Scary or Costly as You Might Think

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn

Paul Hogendoorn – FreePoint Founder

FreePoint Founder and Chair, Paul Hogendoorn has featured in CIO Application magazine’s Vendor Viewpoint and Manufacturing issue of their most recent publication with his most recent article “Why Industry 4.0 Is Not As Scary or Costly as You Might Think”

In this featured article, Paul outlines:

  1. While industry 4.0 represents the future of manufacturing, you can (and should) get started today and how to begin
  2. How it’s possible to connect to any machine – regardless of age and function.
  3. How to establish your baseline and drive production capacity improvements of up to 50+%

Throughout this article, Paul stresses why getting started today is important. Accounting for the new challenges COVID-19 has created, understanding when your machines are driving value-added work along with remote monitoring and reshoring supply chains; industry 4.0 is the catalyst to help you emerge from this pandemic ahead.

Manufacturers can do more to ensure their success by taking a systematic approach to industry 4.0 and digitization in their shop. By properly combining people and technology, manufacturers will be much better positioned to take full advantage of their industry 4.0 technologies and drive future growth. Industry 4.0 isn’t just the future state of manufacturing, it’s available and driving meaningful improvement in large and small manufacturing environments now. FreePoint makes this technology accessible today, to any manufacturer.

Read the full article here.

Don’t struggle to get the most out of your IIoT solution. Make sure you are leveraging both your people and your technology in order to ensure the highest levels of success in your organization.

 

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn

Observations of Manufacturing During the Pandemic

Data can reveal some interesting trends, and this is certainly true in manufacturing, where the aggregated data from approximately 100 factories equipped with FreePoint’s ShiftWorx system reveal some very interesting things over the course of the response to the pandemic. 

The first thing we saw was fairly obvious. We saw total “value adding activity” (productive activity) drop 43% from March 9th to April 5th, with the steepest decline between March 23rd and March 30th.

The second thing we saw was that it was not a unilateral 43% decrease across all manufacturers. Some manufacturers shut down, some slowed downs significantly, but many were able to continue through the period without any indication of a slow down. This too is understandable.

The third thing we noticed was very interesting, and something that will certainly cause some contemplation.

Machine Data

Pre-Covid

Machine data

Post-Covid

 

Notice the difference?

Of the companies we saw that were maintaining their overall productive activity, we often saw improvements in the productivity of the day shift, consistent levels in the afternoon shift, and a reduction or elimination of production activity on the weekends. Total productive activity, or “value adding activity” as we measure it, was the same for the whole week, with less or no time scheduled on the weekends.

This required some further digging.

Chart with pre-covid highlighted

Pre-Covid

Chart with two week period highlighted

Post-Covid

Pre-covid, we have often noticed that afternoon shifts in these companies regularly run more consistently day to day than the day shifts. In discussions with management and operators, the most common explanation offered is “simple, management’s not here on the afternoon shift”; there’s less interruptions, less schedule changes, less scheduled maintenance. In short, the work that needs to be done is scheduled for them to do, and then they are left to do it. The other suggestion offered is that different types of people are going to gravitate to the different shifts; those that like to be left alone to their work will gravitate towards the afternoon (or night shift), and those that require a more dynamic work experience (more things to do, more interaction with other people) prefer the day shift. The result though is the same – there’s more distraction and opportunity for disruptive activity on the day shift.

During the crisis respond period however, those distractions were reduced or eliminated. There were no visitors allowed in the plants, be they customers, suppliers, contractors or salespeople. Administration, sales and support staff, and many managers were asked to work at home, and they did. Problems that needed to be solved on the floor were solved by the people on the floor, which makes sense because companies best able to cope with trying times such as these are the companies with the best people.manufacturing machine connections

But, the requirement to work more outside of the plant presented an opportunity not wasted on many managers. After a short time of anxious adjustment (perhaps adrenaline withdrawal), when it became clear they could manage remotely and the sky wouldn’t fall without them there 50+ hours per week, they started to set their attention on larger thoughts and planning. Every good manager has a list of things they wished they had the time to really focus on, and now they have that time.

Strong manufacturers are going to come out of this stronger. I’m convinced the accelerated adoption of technology will be part of that (remote machine monitoring and paperless workflows), but its still a company’s people that make them strong, and will make them stronger yet. The benefit of removing distraction from the plant floor and letting good people focus on their job showed up in our data right away. The benefit of giving good managers the time needed to really concentrate and focus a bit more on the list of things they’ve always wanted to get around to will take a little longer to show up in the data, but I’m sure it will. Strong, resilient companies are built by strong, resilient people.

The data doesn’t lie!

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn
Paul Hogendoorn
Founder and Chairman
FreePoint Technologies Inc.

FreePoint is Back At Microsoft’s Vox ISM Event

FreePoint is once again excited to be taking part in this year’s Best Manufacturing Apps Conference (BMAC). Hosted by Microsoft Canada partner, VOX ISM. BMAC is the one-stop experience that brings together Canadian manufacturers, industry experts, and Microsoft’s top APPs, helping to keep them on the forefront of manufacturing’s digital transformation. ShiftWorx PlusThis year’s iteration of the conference will be an online experience with sessions and virtual vendor booths. Paul Hogendoorn will be presenting about machine integration and as always, FreePoint is excited to be displaying our non-invasive machine monitoring software and hardware solutions.

 

According to Vox ISM, there are 3 main reasons you should be attending the 2020 BMAC conference:

  1. Find the right app for your business needs and get solutions tailored to your industry that works with the products you already use.
  2. The BMAC is recognized as the best platform for Canadian Manufacturers to interactions with the latest trends in the manufacturing industry.
  3. Attendees can interact with BMAC 2020 presenters showcasing their latest technologies “Live”.

If you would like to attend this years conference, you can register here.

 

Maintain Remote Visibility into Your Shop

To help further support our clients during this trying time, we wanted to outline how you can leverage ShiftWorx to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 limitations.

remote working in manufacturing

Remote Visibility & Automatic Alerts

Maintain Operations From a Distance or With Limited Staff

ShiftWorx is web accessible, so you can view your dashboards from home—keeping you informed on exactly what’s happening in your shop, in real-time. With the Notifications module, you can set up alerts that send directly to your phone or tablet, so you immediately know if any problems occur.

Upgrade to the New ShiftWorx Plus

Monitor Your Entire Shop Floor, With No Blind-Spots

Earlier this month we released an important update to the ShiftWorx platform —increasing overall functionality for manufacturers like you. Alongside this update, we streamlined our products into 3 different ShiftWorx bundles:

  • ShiftWorx Lite
  • ShiftWorx Standard
  • ShiftWorx Plus

With ShiftWorx Plus you can stay up to date with everything in your shop by logging and reporting on metrics ranging from job, operator and scrap, to parts, SKUs and more. You can also create custom, role-specific dashboards for your managers and supervisors; so everybody stays in the know, even from home.

New ShiftWorx Plus Reporting Dashboard

machine monitoring reporting dashboard

Report on machine uptime, downtime by part, status code usage, startup time, cumulative status code rank & more!

We are passionate about ensuring the success of our clients during difficult times like these. If you require further support over the coming weeks or have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. 

FreePoint, COVID-19 and You

To ensure the success of our clients during this difficult time, we have outlined various ways manufacturers can use ShiftWorx to mitigate some of the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic is having on their day-to-day operations.

Some of our clients have administration staff working remotely – if that is the case for your company, there are several ways you can leverage ShiftWorx to mitigate the impact of their absence.

Remote Access to Your Dashboards

ShiftWorx is fully accessible through the web, nothing stops you from bringing up your ShiftWorx dashboards on your phone, tablet or home desktop computer—so you can keep up with exactly what’s happening on your shop floor, in real-time.

Viewing Your Downtime Data

For clients who have Downtime Narration as part of their ShiftWorx solution, accessing downtime data is just as easy as accessing your dashboard from home. By navigating to your Narrative View you can view, in real-time, what machines are down and why – so you can take immediate action.

ShiftWorx Notifications

By using the ShiftWorx Notifications module, you can have alerts sent directly to your phone or tablet, so you immediately know if any problems occur, regardless of where you are.

Stay in the Know with ShiftWorx Plus

With ShiftWorx Plus, you can stay up to date with everything in your shop by logging and reporting on metrics ranging from job, operator and scrap, to SKUs, work orders and more. Using our enhanced customization options, you can create custom, role-specific dashboards for your managers and supervisors; so everybody stays in the know, even from home. If you require any assistance getting set up, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

If you are one of our clients who finds themselves working from home, now could be an ideal time to schedule your migration to the new ShiftWorx platform, complete your training – or both!

We’re Here

In times like these, it is important to us that we maintain open and transparent communication with our team, partners and clients. We are committed to the health, safety and continued success of both our customers and employees. With that in mind, we have adapted our business in a way that meets the needs of both.

FreePoint remains open for business but we are exercising appropriate caution. As such, many of our employees have seamlessly transitioned to a remote working environment. Our installers are still performing local installations, however due to travel restrictions, any international clients will need to self-install their ShiftWorx hardware. We have very detailed and helpful self-installation documentation and are ensuring our team is also available through video chat to answer your questions during self-installations.

As the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt around the world, we will keep you posted, monitor the situation closely and adjust our operations as needed to respond to any new developments. We wish you, your family and your community the best during this challenging time.