2022-12-15

Santa’s Magical Manufacturing Workshop for Misfit Toys

Our story starts off on a snow-covered day in 1964 at the “School of Child Creativity.” The first of four candles are lit to start the holiday countdown, while enjoying a mug of mulled wine and gingerbread cookies. It is here that the children are first assigned the task of creating some toys from their teacher, Mrs. Noelle, that are considered outside the norm. As a result, the children conjure up toys that have new, different, or lack standard capabilities. Then think of ways they can play with these new innovations in some new unique ways to be enjoyed.

Each of the new toys develops a new persona and requirements for Santa’s Workshop. We have Dolly, a mischievous red-haired doll that is looking forward to the different disguises that children can imagine putting on her face and the adventures that they will take her on.

We have Charlie-in-a box, besides his unique name, comes with no voice. Using Bluetooth recording capabilities he is anxious to hear all the different languages and voices that the children can give to his personality. Our final character, though there were many from the creatives minds, is Oscar. Now Oscar is different as he is a cowboy that rides an ostrich. The idea behind this is that the cowboy can also then ride on any geographically dominated animal the child desires, The animal to be ridden could be a camel, a lion, a tiger, and yes, even a bear.

So, what does this have to do with Manufacturing Execution Systems?

Well, these toys need to be manufactured to exact quality specifications that require passing all sorts of North Pole children safety regulations. The manufacturing of these one-of a kind toys requires specific scheduling of materials, labor skills, and automation changeover so the proper child requirements can be met.

These strict requirements needed to make the toys safe for children introduce paperwork, measurements, and regulations to the manufacturing process. How can Santa safely make all the toys these kids want before Christmas? Lucky for Santa he invested in the MES solution from MTEK which digitizes the work instructions and process methods for the unique changes the toys require.

The solution integrates with the planning engine of Santa’s ERP and supply chain planning environment for materials and capacity needs. With the machine and automation level integration from the workshop into MTEK, his operational efficiency will be optimized.

This requires agility on the shop floor to accomplish by Christmas eve, and the elves have a lot of toys to be produced besides these one of a kind. (of course, all the children at the school are on the nice list).

Back at the head workshop office, with the pandemic and remote work, Santa’s elves have been getting a bit cranky, due to the incredible workload and over-hours it takes to create and deliver all those presents on time. Thanks to MTEK and their Manufacturing Execution System MBrain, the elves realize they can create and deliver all those presents on time. The Head of Manufacturing, Hermey, is responsible for sequencing the schedule on configuring the line for the new toys.

Santa’s shop has dramatically improved with automation and material handling equipment over the years, so he needs to assign the proper skilled elves, Alabaster Snowball and Sugarplum Mary, to the task at hand. Now the clean energy efficient Skeech machine must be reconfigured to NOT place a nose on Dolly using the Miff-n-Mott linen that is used. The material happens to be sustainable for those out there.

Thankfully, Santa’s workshop is a vision of a smart factory, characterized by intelligent production and fueled by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), cloud, and big data. Santa and Hermey are all about using data to be more efficient and helping the elves labor force focus on what matters most – innovation!

With the use of MTEK and the MBrain solution, mobile devices on the shop floor enable elves to move along the assembly line, receiving data that is relevant to where they are and what job they are doing at any given time. A digital assistant on the factory floor continually collects and analyzes data to help identify production issues earlier. Predictive data models allow elves to begin toy construction so the factory can be more productive year-round, alleviating peak production stress.

For Charlie-in-the-Box, special IoT automation was needed to properly insert the blue-tooth enabled recording device for the personalized voice. MTEK was easily able to accommodate the new phase-in process and seamlessly connected the large automation addition to the production line versus the normal chip insertion for the voice activation process. This impacted the quality assurance specifications and work instructions appropriately to test various recordings and audio quality.

Building Oscar to be able to sit on other animals for riding was a challenge. He typically would slot into the horse saddle but in this case, the saddle and animal would be able to vary. The inspection process was vastly different and the accommodation of how Oscar would position himself on the various animals, The elf QA inspector, Pepper Minstix, hurt her fingers while testing. MTEK had given the elf digitized work instructions to prevent such an incident but alas, the elves are a mischievous bunch and the Safety Manager elf, Bushy Evergreen, had to use MTEK to record the employee safety incident issue and the corrective action so others would not fall into et same mistake.

When all the unique toys were completed, MTEK recorded the actual build-out configuration and materials for traceability. Santa assigned them to an outside warehouse called Misfit Island for short-inventory planning. He would pick them up along the way as his nice list required.

Now, it turns out on Christmas Eve there was a blizzard and Santa, and Rudolf needed all the help they needed to get the presents delivered that night. The elf, Wunorse Openslae, was working overtime loading Santa’s bag and getting the reindeer ready, while the new North Pole 500 electric sled was getting completely charged. Meanwhile Rudolf had his red nose tested for brightness and GPS tracking accuracy.

Back at the School of Child Creativity, the students are concerned if the toys will arrive on time. Mrs. Noelle keeps telling the students that they must believe. Santa checks his list before take-off, and then checks it twice again to be sure he has everything. He commands the reindeer, and they are off. Santa then finds in his pocket a note about the unique toys at Misfit Island.

Santa sets the guidance system to Misfit Island and using the IoT sensors in the toys connected to Rudolf’s GPS and the sleigh Guidance systems, all is saved. The toys are picked up and delivered just-in-time for Christmas to the students, and the rest of the world.

Joy happens in Alfta and ell enjoy the celebration - smoked salmon, pickled herring, and lye-fish, plus ham, sausages, ribs, cabbage, potatoes and of course, meatballs followed by fondue and rice pudding. Even the elves back up at the North pole celebrate another successful ordeal. They dance around the maypole and take selfies with each other to post on their private social media group page.

Happy Holidays to all. This has all been made possible with the use of the MTEK MBrain Manufacturing System where they help Make Christmas Better.

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