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ThermoFab Partners with Lilly Software to Improve Workflow and Cut Lead-Times by 90%


07 October 2003, Hampton, NH (USA) — ThermoFab (Shirley, MA) www.ThermoFab.com has seen significant benefits from applying the principles of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) and implementing VISUAL DBR (Drum-Buffer-Rope) from Lilly Software Associates. In an effort to adapt to the new principles, ThermoFab changed the way it assigns and controls work in the plant. With these changes, the average lead-times for the high-quality pressure-formed plastic enclosures that the company makes for a wide range of medical, industrial, and computer product manufacturers have decreased from 45 to 5 days.


“We produce thermoformed plastic parts and assemblies where the volume doesn’t justify injection molding and other high-volume techniques,” says company president Tom King, Jr. “Typically, we’ll produce 50 to 100 units per month for a customer but we have some products that we do in lots of as few as 5 units. We quote 6 to 8 weeks delivery, and up until now, we’ve had a very difficult time making good on those promises. All of a sudden, with DBR, we’re shipping everything on time – even the ‘rush’ orders.”


In May, King attended a seminar wherein Eli Goldratt and Lilly Software CEO Richard Lilly introduced the Theory of Constraints and talked about how Lilly’s DBR software can help make a dramatic difference in plant throughput. King brought the message back to his staff in June and signed on for a ‘Fast Track’ implementation with Lilly Software early in August.


“We went ‘live’ with the software on September 16th, only 39 days after we signed the contract with Lilly,” King reports. “Only 39 days to transform ThermoFab into a company that can manufacture at warp speed; faster than any of our competitors. We are exceeding all of our plans and expectations.” The original ‘go-live’ date was set at the end of October. It beat that date by 50 days.


With its old cost accounting methods, ThermoFab had to turn away business that appeared to offer low margins. In its first month of TOC consulting and through re-evaluating its business using throughput measurements, however, ThermoFab was able to recognize hidden profit and take on new business. With more accurate business metrics and improved delivery, the company projects to gain an additional 10% revenue in the coming year. The company’s transformation is due entirely to the hard work and dedication of the employees and the support of Lilly Software’s implementation team. “Mike Lilly, Chuck Seipold, and Darryl Walker really had their act together,” King says. The Lilly team trained ThermoFab employees on DBR concepts and worked with them to inject the DBR process into their everyday procedures.


Now that the software is in place to support the new DBR way of managing production, King looks forward to even better results. “It’s never good enough,” he says. “We can always improve more. Soon, our bottleneck will be sales. We’re caught up on our backlog and now we’ll be looking for more work.”

About Lilly Software Associates

Lilly Software Associates, Inc. provides a complete line of enterprise and supply chain solutions for manufacturers and distributors. The VISUAL Enterprise™ suite of products helps companies capture and analyze real-time data about all their business processes using ERP, Project Management, Business Performance Management, Quality Management, Customer Relationship Management, and Warehouse Management System capabilities. From award-winning software to strategies in Lean Manufacturing and TOC, Lilly Software offers companies the tools they need for higher productivity and profitability.

Most VISUAL® applications run on Windows® 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, UNIX®, LINUX, Novell®, using SQLBase®, Microsoft SQL Server®, or ORACLE® relational databases.

Lilly Software has received many industry awards for its products, service, and financial growth since its inception. Most recently, the company has been voted one of the Top 10 Best of Breed solutions for manufacturing by readers of Consumer Goods Technology, listed in Software Magazine's Top 500, selected as a Top 100 Logistics Information Technology Provider in Inbound Logistics, listed in the Top 100 Application Vendors in Supply Chain e-Business, included in MSI's Top 100 for its eighth year, and ranked as one of Start magazine's Hottest Companies.

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