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.

FreePoint Technologies Increases Focus on Manufacturing

Direct Impact Solutions to acquire FileMaker business and other non-manufacturing assets

LONDON, Ont., Mar. 19, 2020—FreePoint Technologies, an award-winning provider of software for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to manufacturers worldwide, today announced that Direct Impact Solutions has purchased FreePoint’s FileMaker custom development business, including the CoreSolutions name, trademarks, and related intellectual property (IP). Direct Impact Solutions also purchased FreePoint’s custom web development business that is unrelated to manufacturing. As part of the transaction, Direct Impact Solutions hired several FreePoint employees with skills related to FileMaker and web development.

“As demand for our ShiftWorx products has grown, our custom software team has shifted more of its focus to manufacturing. We saw a need to find a company that would serve our other customers well, especially those with significant investments in FileMaker applications,” remarked John Traynor, CEO of FreePoint. He continued, “Direct Impact was a natural choice. We’re confident that our non-manufacturing clients will be well served by this transaction, and that our transitioned employees will have a terrific opportunity for growth and development with a world-class employer.”

FreePoint will continue to offer custom software development services and will now serve manufacturing clients exclusively. It will also provide customization of FreePoint ShiftWorx products and custom integrations with ERP and other systems using the ShiftWorx Public API.

Direct Impact Solutions, headquartered in Laval, Québec with offices in North America and Europe, provides custom business application solutions based on FileMaker, web, mobile, and cloud technology. Philippe Lazzaroni, President of Direct Impact, said “We look forward to welcoming our new team members and working with a diverse set of new customers. As a leader in the FileMaker market, a Claris Platinum Partner, and a member of both the Microsoft Partner Network and the Apple Consultants Network (ACN), we appreciate the trust FreePoint has placed in us and we look forward to a successful transition of this business.”

The transaction closed on March 10. Both companies are private, and the terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

About FreePoint Technologies

FreePoint provides Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) software to manufacturers worldwide, helping them easily, rapidly, and cost-effectively connect to their machines and with their people, delivering immediate improvements in situational awareness and operational efficiency on the manufacturing floor. More information is available at https://getfreepoint.com/.

About Direct Impact Solutions

Direct Impact Solutions is a global leader in the development, integration and optimization of custom-made solutions built with the FileMaker Workplace innovation platform, Web, and Mobile apps. More information is available at https://directimpactsolutions.com/.

Media Contact: FreePoint Technologies Inc. Mike Psotka +1.226.663.2289 x414 media@getfreepoint.com

Direct Impact Solutions Inc. Julie Coderre + 1.450.663.0005 x7215 communications@directimpactsolutions.com

# # #

Announcing ShiftWorx Plus – Your End-to-End Machine Monitoring Solution

 A Machine Monitoring Solution that Tracks the Metrics that Matter Most to Manufacturers

FreePoint Technologies announces the release of their newly updated platform, ShiftWorx Plus, which will help manufacturers increase production by nearly 50%

London, ON – March 13th, 2020 – FreePoint Technologies, an award-winning industry leader in the industrial internet of things, announces the release of ShiftWorx Plus; an advanced machine monitoring solution that manufacturers are using to greatly increase their production capacity. Existing customers using FreePoint ShiftWorx have seen production improvements of up to 50%. Now, in addition to tracking and explaining machine downtime, manufacturers can use the new product to track production and machine uptime by job, part, and operator, and to document scrap, workorders and more. Now manufacturers can significantly increase the amount of actionable data being collected.

With ShiftWorx Plus, manufacturers see machine data presented in easy-to-understand dashboards that can be tailored to operators, supervisors and managers. With live, actionable data immediately visible on the shop floor, workers and managers alike become more engaged and can quickly take action to keep production moving at full speed. Collecting more data leads to richer reports, and deeper insight into the manufacturing process—highlighting nay bottlenecks that are present. And by displaying relevant metrics for everybody to see, manufacturers can produce more with less while driving meaningful, continuous improvement throughout their shop. With highly flexible configuration options, each manufacturer can scale out a ShiftWorx Plus solution that’s tailored to their unique needs.

“Customers are telling us ShiftWorx Plus is a game changer” says John Traynor, CEO of FreePoint Technologies:

“We’re always looking to provide manufacturers with the metrics they need to be successful. With the latest addition to our machine monitoring platform, we’re helping manufacturers better understand their data, while getting a 360° view of their downtime.”

Manufacturers can use FreePoint ShiftWorx Plus to identify and eliminate bottlenecks, inefficiencies and production issues within their shops. Now, manufacturers can experience end-to-end visibility on their shop floor, with no blind spots.

 

ShiftWorx Plus Machine Monitoring Benefits

Connect with FreePoint Technologies

About FreePoint Technologies:

FreePoint Technologies is a leading industrial internet of things and Software as a service (SaaS) company based in London Ontario. Collecting, monitoring and visualizing data for successful, growth-oriented manufacturers; FreePoint puts vital analytics in the hands of management and operators to improve efficiency, enhance employee engagement and fuel sustainable growth.

FreePoint delivers real-time productivity information, connecting manufacturing processes directly to managers and operators in innovative, practical, and cost-effective ways. The ShiftWorx platform allows customers to identify actionable information in the factory and share it effectively with the people that can make an immediate difference.

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For more information on FreePoint Technologies ShiftWorx Plus, or if you would like to schedule an interview, please contact:

Lisa Bailey | Director
Phone: +1 800.682.0486 x240
Email: lisa.bailey@getfreepoint.com

Explore The New ShiftWorx Plus

Big changes are coming to FreePoint Technologies! If you’re a manufacturer who wants more quantitative data from your machines while better understanding the context of that data, then we’ve got some great news for you – we have not only upgraded, but fundamentally improved the entirety of our ShiftWorx machine monitoring platform. This upgrade brings with it a variety of improvements including expanded functionality, enhanced customization and improved user experience.

ShiftWorx Plus Benefits

What is ShiftWorx?

ShiftWorx is a comprehensive machine monitoring solution that enables you to track your machine performance, downtime and activity. The platform collects and visualizes machine data in an easy to read, user-friendly dashboard that can be displayed on the shop floor for both your managers and operators to engage and discuss. This additional information empowers you to generate richer reports and gain deeper insight into your manufacturing process.

By displaying relevant metrics for everyone to see, you can improve accountability, make better, more educated decisions, and drive meaningful continuous improvement throughout your shop.

Introducing ShiftWorx Plus

The upgraded ShiftWorx Plus platform exists to provide manufacturers with additional data to help inform their decision making.  Enabling you to collect and monitor machine performance and downtime data, ShiftWorx Plus can also track additional variables, such as:

  • Jobs, Parts, Work Orders
  • Scrap, Waste, SKUs
  • Operators, Team Leads, Supervisors
  • And More!

ShiftWorx Plus ReportingYou can even use ShiftWorx Plus to create customized, role-specific dashboards! With more data available at your fingertips, you can run reports that highlight the various correlations between different data-points, see the run times on specific machines, determine yields on your part– the list goes on! With state-of-the-art, high-level monitoring capabilities, you get end-to-end, 360° insight into your entire shop with no blind-spots.

With optional add-ons available to ShiftWorx Plus users, manufacturers have more flexibility then ever before to build a solution around the specific needs of their shop. Available add-ons include custom integration, alerts & notifications, and our brand-new digital andon and call box system – giving you the benefits of an andon solution, without the additional wiring, labor and installation fees.

What it Means for You

For manufacturers, these new features provide more data to both drive improvement, and better inform their decisions. For current clients, rest assured nothing about your current ShiftWorx package is changing, except for the name. In the coming months, we will be performing the migration to the upgraded platform, at which point some additional training may be required for current customers.

 

For those looking to upgrade and experience the new features included in ShiftWorx Plus,  Reach out today!