Important Note Before You Start:

• A 10% increase in factory productivity is projected to increase annual profit by 30%
• A 20% increase in factory productivity is projected to increase annual profit by 60%
• A 30% increase in factory productivity is projected to increase annual profit by 90%

Please request our financial template to confirm. Client Case Studies in Full are Available on Request.

News

News Last 12 Months

Job Scheduling – (Jan 2020)

BUSINESS CONSULTANTS ADVISE ENGINEERS ON CRITICAL COMPONENTS TO JOB SCHEDULING

Working smarter; that’s what it’s all about. NZ Engineer News has approached three of the most experienced business consultants working in the New Zealand engineering space to advise us on job scheduling for engineers. Here’s what they had to say:

IAN FEATHERSTONE, OWNER OF GLASS HALF FULL

I recommend you look for scheduling software that has a demonstrated track record of working effectively for the engineering sector where 100% of the clients using the software are engineers and other custom manufacturers, where by default the software has all the necessary functionality to cope with all the complexities that occur on factory floors. The latest scheduling software use tablets on the factory floor, where factory staff start and finish their jobs on their tablets which enables automatic updating of job status and live and accurate scheduling.

DAVID LAWRENCE, OWNER OF LEAN MANUFACTURING

I consult to over 140 engineers and other jobbing manufacturers throughout New Zealand and Australia on scheduling, shop floor productivity and lean manufacturing. I can say that the substantial majority of engineers still schedule manually using spreadsheets and do not schedule well at all.

My short hand advice to owners, production managers and management teams of engineering firms;

1 Stop using spreadsheets to schedule work. Spreadsheets are very time consuming, job status must be assessed and recorded manually then entered by staff or management manually, and in most case sequencing of tasks and capacity of tasks is not considered so the forward work schedule is not accurate

2 Invest in tablets for your factory floor and labour management and scheduling software

3 Use only scheduling software that where jobs and tasks are updated live from factory floor tablets…

I use ‘Empower Workshop Productivity and Scheduling Software’ developed here in Auckland, NZ

WARWICK RUSSELL, OWNER OF SMETRIC INSIGHTS

Software such as Empower Factory Productivity & Scheduling is a game changer for engineers. By using touch screens or tablets on the workshop floor jobs, factory staff and time on jobs are tracked in real time and there is visibility across the entire business; where teams and individual factory staff are at, where jobs are at, where the capacity constraints are and what conversations are needed with clients on priorities ahead of time, not after a late delivery.

CABINET VISION AND MICROVELLUM – March 2021

“Empower have completed Stage 1 development of 2 interfaces from Cabinet Vision to Empower.  The first interface automatically transfers New Job and Client information from Cabinet Vision to Empower.  The second interface transfers Bill Of Materials (BOM) listing of materials description, materials code and materials quantity per Job from Cabinet Vision to Empower for Empower to then generate Purchase Orders and to Stock Control.  These interfaces will save a lot of unnecessary wasted time entering considerable same data into two systems for every new Job. 

Empower’s development of the Microvellum to Empower interfaces are also under development and available shortly. 

These interfaces will help Empower’s existing clients and will attract new clients to Empower Software who are currently using Cabinet Vision and Microvellum throughout Australasia and internationally.  For those readers who are not aware Cabinet Vision and Microvelum are two of the largest and most recognised international AutoCAD based design, costing and machining software products and brands to joinery industries."

EMPOWER SALES UP 400% – February 2021

“In the first seven weeks of 2021 Empower’s software sales are up some 400% on usual levels.  Our new web site has played a critical role in attracting and converting substantially more new clients and the Empower team have “stepped up to the plate” and successfully supported and implemented all new clients in 2021”

EMPOWER RELEASES ITS NEW WEB SITE – November 2020

“After 18 years of software product development focus and client support focus Empower we are very proud to release our new web site.  No other software company in the world, that we are aware of presents firstly anywhere near 79 client case studies and secondly 20% t0 40%+ reduction in labour times on jobs therefore 20% to40%+ reduction in labour cost on jobs, making Empower a world leader in our space.”

Australian Suppliers Magazine (Joinery Industries) | New Age Caravans Profiled – Sept 2020

New Age Caravans Case Study
(Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)

“We are owned by the Walkinshaw Group and are the second largest caravan manufacturer in Australia with 153 workshop staff.  Using Empower our workshop staff culture has quickly changed to be time and job focused.  We are eliminating slippage in key areas and getting significant gains in many areas on the workshop floor.  I expect that within 3 months we will achieve a 20% minimum reduction in labour times on jobs therefore a 20% reduction in labour cost on jobs and at 6 months we will get to 40%+ reduction in labour times on jobs therefore 40%+ reduction in labour cost on jobs".

David Lawrence
Site Manufacturing Manager, Over Seeing: CNC, Furniture, Programming, Side Frames, Chassis Assembly M: +61 400145222  T: 03 9305 1714

Supplier Magazine Front Cover New Age Caravans – Sept 2020

New Age Caravans Case Study
(Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)

 We’re now a high technology business • Our workshop staff culture is now time and job focused. Staff now drive their own productivity • We expect a 40%+ reduction in labour time on jobs • As production manager I now have the tool & real time information to do my job • 55 inch TVs on workshop walls display: staff, jobs and job times, in real time • Empower Software is simply an App. Low-cost monthly subscription.

David Lawrence | Site Manufacturing Manager New Age Caravans, Melbourne VIC

Empower Key Benefits – June 2020

Empower – Industry Statistics

1  30% of Australian joiners still use workshop staff completed manual time sheets to record their staff time on jobs

2   60% of Australian joiners do not record their workshop staff time on jobs at all

3   10% or less of Australian joiners use some tablets on their workshop floor and some form of software to track jobs, tasks and workshop staff [that is, 90% or less of Australian joiners are using no technology to track and manage their staff time on jobs]

8   27 Business and management failings exist if either workshop completed manual time sheets are used or if staff times on jobs are not tracked.  Report available to explain 27 failings on request sean@manufacturingandengineering.co.nz

TIN NEWS – NZ Technology Information Network

Recognition of Empower Software Supplying Software Internationally – April 2019

Empower Supplies Production and Scheduling Software Internationally

APRIL 5, 2019 / TECH NEWS, TIN NEWS

“Auckland based Empower Factory Productivity and Scheduling Software has been developing labour management and scheduling software for 16 years. Empower Software is cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS) based. Empower has clients across 27 manufacturing and engineering industry groups and now supplies 204 engineering and manufacturing clients throughout New Zealand, Australia, UK, USA, Canada, South Africa and the Philippines. Currently an estimated 95% of all manufacturers and engineers globally do NOT track their factory staff times on their jobs at all or they use manual time cards which their factory staff fill out at day end, which don’t motivate factory staff to work promptly and are typically 20 to 40% inaccurate in recording time”.

Australian Manufacturing News

Empower Software Recognised – May 2019

Empower Factory Productivity and Scheduling Software Recognised

Australian Manufacturing News reports on TIN100 News April, 2019 (profiled above)

“TIN100, a well-respected and recognised New Zealand Network of technology-based companies, including all stakeholders to the NZ Technology Industry, recently recognised Empower Software.

Australian Manufacturing News report that “TIN100, a well-respected and recognised New Zealand Network of technology-based companies, including all stakeholders to the NZ Technology Industry, recently recognised Empower Software”.

New Zealand, Australian and International manufacturers and engineers, from 5 up to 150 factory staff are investing in the Empower Software technology on their factory floors and using their Factory Productivity and Scheduling Software for live production scheduling, tracking of jobs and individual factory staff times on jobs and job status.

The performance of individual jobs and individual factory staff is live and continuous throughout the day and their individual productivity becomes totally transparent to all factory staff, management and administration staff. 

This technology and software drives labour times on jobs and labour cost on jobs down typically by 20% to 40%.”

NZ Manufacturing News

Makaira Boats – A Success Story – May 2019

Makaira Boats – A Success Story
(Keri Keri, New Zealand)

“In 2018 Allan invested in tablets for his factory floor, labour management and scheduling software. Since investing in factory tablets and labour software, build times and build cost on each boat has reduced by 30% within 11 months and he is confident that the company will reach 50% reduction in build time and build cost within the next 6 months. Allan says the advantages of this labour management technology are many and significant including: 30% going onto 50% reduction in build time and build cost per boat, allowing Makaira Boats to be one of the highest quality ‘heavy plate and heavy engineered’ boats on the market, whilst also being very competitively priced. “This is what all my clients are looking for…”   Allan Shaw, Managing Director

Suppliers Magazine (Australia)

Australian Suppliers Magazine (Joinery Industries) | New Age Caravans Profiled – Sept 2020

New Age Caravans Case Study
(Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)

“We are owned by the Walkinshaw Group and are the second largest caravan manufacturer in Australia with 153 workshop staff.  Using Empower our workshop staff culture has quickly changed to be time and job focused.  We are eliminating slippage in key areas and getting significant gains in many areas on the workshop floor.  I expect that within 3 months we will achieve a 20% minimum reduction in labour times on jobs therefore a 20% reduction in labour cost on jobs and at 6 months we will get to 40%+ reduction in labour times on jobs therefore 40%+ reduction in labour cost on jobs".

David Lawrence
Site Manufacturing Manager, Over Seeing: CNC, Furniture, Programming, Side Frames, Chassis Assembly M: +61 400145222  T: 03 9305 1714

Supplier Magazine Front Cover New Age Caravans – Sept 2020

New Age Caravans Case Study
(Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)

 We’re now a high technology business • Our workshop staff culture is now time and job focused. Staff now drive their own productivity • We expect a 40%+ reduction in labour time on jobs • As production manager I now have the tool & real time information to do my job • 55 inch TVs on workshop walls display: staff, jobs and job times, in real time • Empower Software is simply an App. Low-cost monthly subscription.

David Lawrence | Site Manufacturing Manager New Age Caravans, Melbourne VIC

Empower Key Benefits – June 2020

Empower – Industry Statistics

1  30% of Australian joiners still use workshop staff completed manual time sheets to record their staff time on jobs

2   60% of Australian joiners do not record their workshop staff time on jobs at all

3   10% or less of Australian joiners use some tablets on their workshop floor and some form of software to track jobs, tasks and workshop staff [that is, 90% or less of Australian joiners are using no technology to track and manage their staff time on jobs]

8   27 Business and management failings exist if either workshop completed manual time sheets are used or if staff times on jobs are not tracked.  Report available to explain 27 failings on request sean@manufacturingandengineering.co.nz

Empower Software Recognised – May 2019

Empower Factory Productivity and Scheduling Software Recognised

The TIN100 reports the performance of New Zealand’s 200 (TIN100 and next 100) largest technology exporters.  TIN recognised Empower as an emerging software business now supplying SaaS software globally.

Key benefits of Technology

1  50 inch TV monitors on office walls and workshop walls with live job staff and times from the workshop floor in real time

2  Empower’s API allows connection to any accounting or ERP software

3   Accessed on any device

4   business advisors and lean consultants can collaborate to support manufacturers and engineers with access to real time production and productivity reporting

5   Software upgrades every 10 days 30 day free commercial trial available on request

4 Commercial Joiners – Mar 2019

“Peppertree Furniture (Adelaide, SA, Australia)

At 10 weeks of using Empower Software we got 46% increase in factory productivity, at 6 months we got 86% increase and at 3 years we had got a 100% in factory productivity.  On factory productivity increases alone generated by Empower Software out annual profit increased by approximately $200,000”

Premier Furniture (Sydney, NSW, Australia)

“Empower Software has made a substantial improvement to factory productivity and bottom line and we would not be without it”

Tasker Joinery (Sydney, NSW, Australia)

Using Empower Software we are getting 20% more joinery out the door each month.  Our business consultant confirmed that a 20% increase in factory productivity would increase our annual profit by 60%”

Finecut Joinery (Sydney, NSW Australia)

“We have achieved a 25% increase in our staff and factory productivity”

4 Kitchen Manufacturers – Oct 2018

Alby Turner & Son (Adelaide, SA, Australia)

“Id estimate around 15% increase in our factory productivity…

Riverland Cabinet Makers (Riverland, SA, Australia)

Using Empower Factory Productivity Software we have maintained our weekly production with 40% less factory staff.  This is a 66% increase in our factory productivity…

Comace Shop Fitters (Adelaide, SA, Australia)

We have achieved a 40% increase in factory productivity to date, we achieved a 30% increase in factory productivity within the first three months of putting Empower in our business…

Schier Kitchens (Murtoa, VIC, Australia)

Empower Software will increase our factory productivity by 10 fold, at minimum… Empower is turning into such a magnificent analytical tool and it is progressing at a rapid rate of knots…”

Job Scheduling – Aug 2016

A better means of job scheduling

“At last, job scheduling software built specifically for cabinetmakers and joiners

I myself have struggled with job scheduling with no good software available until 2016. I have manually updated spreadsheets several times through the day to ‘rejig’ the schedule; I have updated job lists on paper and on whiteboards and then held meetings with other management and factory staff through the day to communicate the revised schedule. Sound familiar ? In the last two years Empower Job Scheduling has been re-built in the latest Cloud technology and it now works extremely well…”

By David Lawrence, Lean Manufacturing Consulting

6 Window & Door Manufacturers – Sept 2014

Total Timba Windows (Auckland, New Zealand)

“Empower has dramatically changed and improved the culture on our factory floor. It started working for us from the very first day we put it in. Within six months of using Empower we had achieved a 25% additional production from our factory staff."   Rob Pick Up, Director

Barrett’s Joinery (Timaru, New Zealand)

“We have achieved a 19% gain in factory productivity within the first two years.”  Glenn Sherborne, Director Production Management, Barrett’s Joinery

Versalite Aluminium Windows (Tamworth, NSW, Australia)

“Using Empower our staff and factory productivity has increased by 40%, saves us around $96,000 per year in wage cost and has brought about a significant and real positive culture change to our factory floor.”  Michael Myers, MD, Versalite Windows

Dicksons Glass and Aluminium, Adelaide, SA, Australia

“I would estimate the gain in our factory productivity to be 25%.”  Josh White, Production Manager, Dicksons Glass and Aluminium

Native Timber Joinery, Te Awamutu, New Zealand

“Within 9 months we had achieved an estimated 25% additional production from our same factory staff.” Adam Fursdon, Production Manager, Native Timber Joinery

Packer Windows and Doors (Adelaide, SA, Australia)

“We have achieved a 40% increase in our factory productivity”  Seb Packer, MD, Packer Windows and Doors

6 Furniture Manufacturers – July 2014

Sarajane Furniture (COWRA, NSW, Australia)

"Empower software is designed for and well suited to furniture and joinery manufacturing. We have had a quick return on investment. Our factory productivity has increased by 45%.  Glen Scott, Managing Director…

Silver Lynx Furniture (Melbourne, VIC, Australia)

Empower Software is an essential production and productivity tool to our business.  Simon Bowler, General Manager…

Pfitzner Furniture (Adelaide, SA, Australia)

Minimum 25% increase in factory productivity in first year.  Andrew Pfitzner, Director…

Forest Furniture (Hamilton, New Zealand)

Forest Furniture won the 2005 Waikato Times Retail Excellence and the Deloitte Best Small Business Awards, which was, in part, due to the Empower factory tracking and reporting system. We can say with confidence that using Empower has enabled us to increase our weekly output by 20% on the same staff numbers. Empower is an invaluable business tool that we would not be without.  Paul Entwisle, Managing Director…

Rose and Heather Furniture (Auckland, New Zealand)

120% factory productivity gain over two years. Using Empower we doubled our production whilst at the same time reduced our factory staff by 20%.  Willy McGregor, General Manager…

Peppertree Furniture (Adelaide, SA, Australia)

At 26 weeks of using Empower Software we had a 46% increase in factory productivity; at 26 weeks we had an 86% increase in factory productivity and at three years we had a 100% increase in factory productivity. On factory productivity increases alone, generated by Empower Software ,our annual profit has increased by approximately $200,000.  Mark Tozer, Managing Director…

6 Commercial Joiners Profiled – May 2014

Shears and Mac (Auckland, New Zealand)

"Too early to estimate but I expect a 15% to 20% increase in factory productivity over the next year, which will make a significant increase to our annual profit and will have a quick and high return on investment.  Jason De Graaf, Production Manager…

Comace Shop Fitters (Adelaide, SA, Australia)

30% increase in factory productivity in the first two years.  Paul Williams, MD, Comace Pty Ltd…

RH Page (Auckland, New Zealand)

“We regard Empower HQ as a strategic partner to our business and Empower Software as an essential tool. We could not contemplate running our business without Empower in the future.  Andy Pitcher, CEO…

JB Joinery (Christchurch, New Zealand)

15% productivity increase overall. We have made significant productivity gains in the factory and will get more gains with more management focus on Empower. I estimate Empower paid for itself fully within six months.”  Stuart Cowan, Director

Classique Furniture (Christchurch, New Zealand)

In the first two and a half years of putting Empower Software in our factory, staff dropped from nine to six whilst output increased. Overall our staff and factory productivity increase was 103%. This was a $125,000 wage cost saving per year and increased our annual profit substantially. Empower paid for itself fully within six months.  Graeme Dreaver, MD…

Central Joinery (AUCKLAND, NZ)

Empower Software paid for itself within a number of months. From a return on investment perspective the investment in Empower Software was a no brainer. Shaun Simpson, Managing Director…”

Delegation Australian Joiners visit NZ Peers – Jan 2014

Delegation of Australian Joiners Visit NZ Peers

“New Zealand Joinery businesses that were visited included Central Joinery, a 50 factory staff commercial joiner and kitchen manufacturer; Greenmount Manufacturing, a 60 factory staff commercial joiner and kitchen manufacturer, which also contract manufactures wardrobes, aluminium kitchen doors, campervan fit outs, etc; and RH Page, a 50 factory staff commercial joiner and corporate roll out specialist. As current President of the (NSW based) Furniture Industry Association of Australia, I wanted to be informed about technology driving joinery production,  Fred White…”

Barrett Joinery – May 2013

Barrett Increases Productivity (Timaru, New Zealand)

“A case study interview with Glenn Sherborne, Production Manager of Barrett’s Joinery, a 27 staff business that invested in job tracking and production software in 2006… At staff performance review time, Empower is certainly helpful to me in my role as production manager. It allows me to present each staff member with their individual Empower reports confirming their performance in terms of: • manufacturing jobs; • downtime jobs; • rework; • time and attendance. We recently paid bonuses to a number of our factory staff based purely on their individual performance reported in Empower. In summary Empower Software has been a very good production and labour management tool for us, enabling us, on the same staff and same wage cost, to significantly increase our weekly production.” 

Glen Sherborne, Production Manager

Kitchens R Us & Mr Shelf – Jan 2013

Empower Software saved us $600,000 in wage costs

“We employ 25 staff all up. We paid $11,000 for Empower Labour Management Software five years ago. Since then, Empower Software has saved us two and a half to three factory staff, which is a total wage cost saving of approximately $600,000 to date, and we save $120,000 in wage costs every year into the future”

Russell Reardon, Managing Director

Peppertree Furniture – Nov 2012

Monitoring factory production from Las Vegas (Adelaide, SA, Australia)

“While dividing his time between the factory, his retail outlet, visiting interstate clients and travelling overseas, Mark Tozer finds his Empower time tracking software keeps him in touch with everything. 

As owner of the Peppertree Furniture manufacturing business I saw the writing on the wall over 10 years ago, having to compete with increasing local competition and ever increasing volumes of imported goods from China coming onto our market,” said Mark. “It was clear that I needed quickly to get my factory highly efficient, and I needed to maintain 100% factory productivity on a daily basis or I would not remain in business…Empower time tracking software, purchased now over three years ago, has enabled me, with the same factory staff and same weekly hours worked, to increase our weekly production by just on 100%. That is, with the same staff I have doubled my production. “As MD I am actively involved in viewing our factory productivity screens and reports on Empower every day”. 

Mark Tozer, Managing Director

Tasker Joinery – Sept 2012

Turning a business on its head

“Empower Software is turning Tasker Joinery’s business on its head.

Our figures confirm that a 15% increase in our factory productivity will increase our annual profit by an estimated 45% per year, which is phenomenal business improvement and performance.

Greg Tasker, Director said that: “for the first time in many years I enjoy coming to work. I am no longer stressed as I am now in control of our entire labour force and know that all our management and staff are fully aware of times required and fully accountable to meet their times. I feel all my management and staff are now ‘in the same boat and rowing in the same direction’. This has enabled me to be much less worried about projects and our performance and I am already starting to reduce my hours to more ‘normal’ working hours.”  

Brett Handley, Capstone Business Consultants – business advisor to the joinery and furniture industries.

Central Joinery – July 2012

Central Joinery (Auckland, New Zealand)

“We currently employ 40 staff, which probably makes us one of the top five shop fitters in Auckland. Work varies from commercial to residential including high end kitchens to high end fit outs and commercial. We have outgrown our current three premises of 4,500 m2 and are building a new factory of 6,500 m2. One advancement we made in our business, three years ago, was replacing our time and job card system, in which factory staff manually filled out their times on jobs, with second hand PCs on the factory floor and Empower time tracking software. This system gives us tracking and reporting from the factory floor in real time, the benefits of which are significant..

Q: Empower Software was approximately a $20,000 all up investment for Central – would full payback have occurred in a number of months? A: Yes. From a financial return on investment perspective, investing in Empower was a no brainer…

Q: With good staff and any staff who maybe ‘dragging the chain’ at times, does Empower Software allow you to pay bonus or higher wages to those who deserve it? A: Yes. Empower Software reporting has the accuracy of actual times recorded on jobs to allow us to pay bonus to staff who meet the budgeted times. This incentive works well for our staff and jointly works well for Central Joinery. Empower Software will be…” 

Shaun Simpson, Managing Director

Express Sheetmetal – Jan 2012

Everything is going up, up, up

“Two and a half years ago, Express Sheet Metals was a small ten man business manufacturing ducting, mainly to order. Business growth was slow as they struggled from job to job.

“With hindsight we were far from productive on the factory floor,” explained directors Michael Arcari and Gaspar Lalovich. “The times that factory staff recorded on their jobs were woefully inaccurate so we could not use these in our costing of new quotations – and our budgeted times in new quotes were too high and were basically guesswork. Labour times on jobs are now taking, on average, a conservative 25% less time…We have been able to maintain our profit margin but bring down the budgeted labour hours, labour costs and quoted price. This has made us far more competitive in the market place, which has directly lead to our business quadrupling over the last two and a half years.  Using [Empower] time tracking software has transformed our business and annual profit: we love it and definitely would not be without it,”

Michael Arcari and Gaspar Lalovich Joint Directors

Peppertree Furniture – May 2011

Mega factory in SA (Adelaide, SA, Australia)

“The factory is based in Lonsdale, Adelaide and comprises 3585 m² panel machine and assembly work centres, adjoining 365 m² steel factory and adjoining 150 m² offices.

In three years since putting in Empower Software our overall factory productivity has increased 114%. We calculate this periodically on a spreadsheet benchmarking current week productivity back to week one, three years ago. Prior to putting in Empower we were doing around $10,000 of product a day and now we are doing around $22,000 of product a day. The new edge bander and new borer has contributed 14% to our overall factory productivity increase – leaving 100% productivity increase solely to Empower Software. Looking back on it three years ago Peppertree Furniture was terribly unproductive – I just did not realise it at the time because we simply did no time tracking and no bench marking…

This labour management tool has certainly taken our business to a whole new level… within the first year our additional profit in using Empower Software has exceeded $200,000 per year. Empower labour management software has been an invaluable and integral part of our success over the last three years. I believe strongly that every Australian furniture maker, kitchen manufacturer, shop fitter, timber joiner, window and door maker and steel fabricator needs labour management software and PCs on the factory floor because, like me, you need to consistently get the most out of every staff member and every machine every day and you need to know your true costs...” 

Mark Tozer, Managing Director

The Empower Story – Mar 2011

The Empower Software story

“Empower Software owners David Garret and Sean O’Sullivan met at Otago University in the late ‘80s. In 2000, whilst the two friends were enjoying a fishing trip, Sean told David (who was building up a consulting business in IT) that he should develop time tracking and job scheduling software because, although this software had been available for over 30 years, there was nothing commercially available in New Zealand. David was sceptical but after spending time on the internet checking out the situation, he got back to Sean saying: “I think it’s a big market and good opportunity and I want to get into it – shall we do it together?” Sean didn't need to consider his response – yes…

David and Sean set about developing a range of labour management factory productivity tools specifically for manufacturers, including time tracking and job scheduling software.  David and Sean set about developing a range of labour management factory productivity tools specifically for manufacturers, including time tracking and job scheduling software…”

Premier Furniture – Jan 2011

Getting it right (Sydney, NSW, Australia)

“Time tracking software and PCs on the factory floor provides Premier Furniture with ‘live’ and ‘accurate’ factory production and productivity information on times on processes and jobs per staff member and time on overhead jobs and other factory downtime. Analysis of this information enables Premier management to get job assignment and workflow right –which is now driving substantial gains in factory productivity.

2009 was a challenging and difficult year, to say the least. Distribution channels were changing, which impacted our client base and our margin had been squeezed for the third consecutive year. Clearly we needed to continue to improve our factory productivity to get our manufacturing costs down, and we needed to do it quickly.

In late 2009, Empower Software was recommended to us, a factory productivity software and consultancy business, which had 10 years experience in our industry and a solid track record of success in Australia increasing their manufacturing clients' productivity by 15 to 80%. It sounded exactly what Premier needed…I phoned the owners of Empower and had several very long phone conversations and demonstrations across the web. It was clear they understood my business well and that the software would track everything I needed. It was also clear they were very passionate and confident that their software would work well in my business and achieve the factory productivity gains we were after… It provides staff with a tool to be aware of and drive their own productivity. The software has made a substantial improvement to our factory productivity and our bottom line and we would not be without it”. 

Peter Langford, General Manager

Comace Shop Fitters – Nov 2010

Productivity up 30%+ and more gains to come (Adelaide, SA, Australia)

“Comace Interior Fit Outs profiles its experience in advancing the business, four years ago, to using PCs on the factory floor as well as time tracking software and, recently, advancing to job scheduling software. It profiles six productivity initiatives Comace is currently employing to progress the business. This article interviews Paul Williams, the owner and managing director of Comace in Adelaide, who says that his business philosophy is simple: “we focus on productivity, watch profit growth and reinvest the returns back into the business”... 

Paul Williams, Managing Director

Supplier Magazine Front Cover Peppertree Furniture – Jan 2010

“86% increase in factory productivity within 6 months, using Empower Time Tracking & Job Scheduling Software (Adelaide, SA, Australia)

“Peppertree Furniture manufactures commercial office furniture, has been in business 29 years, employs 21 staff, and annual turnover is $2.6 million. Our factory productivity has increased 86% in six months solely from putting PCs on our factory floor and using Empower Time Tracking and Labour Management Software (weekly production is up 53% whilst at the same time we have got weekly paid hours down by 22%). We were using Empower Software well and getting significant productivity gains within 48 hours of putting the system in. In the first week of using Empower the time reports showed that we were only 44% productive, I nearly had a heart attack, now we are consistently 85% productive week in week out. Empower Software has paid for itself fully within two months, and our profit continues to increase exponentially as our factory productivity increases. In achieving these results Empower has totally transformed our factory staffs’ work focus, work commitment, and job and daily productivity. Our factory staff are really using Empower as their own tool, much as they use their mallet or screwdriver, and have got all these productivity gains by themselves, without management assistance. I thought my factory was productive beforehand, clearly it was far from it…” 

Mark Tozer, Managing Director

47.5% Average Increase in Factory Productivity Survey Results – Sept 2009

47.5% Average Increase in Factory Productivity Survey Results

“The 2009 June end survey of 21 manufacturers who invested in time tracking and labour management software concluded:

1. The average increase in factory productivity was 47.5%;

2. The median manufacturer’s increase in factory productivity was 35%;

3. The lowest manufacturer’s increase in factory productivity was 15%;

4. The highest manufacturer’s increase in factory productivity was 160%. The 47.5% average increase in factory productivity was weighted upwards significantly by the following four manufacturers: Homeplus Southland 160%, Classique Furniture 103%, Lochiel Engineering 70% and Rose and Heather Furniture 60%...”  

Sean O’Sullivan. B Com (Hons) Otago University

Manufacturers Productivity Conference – May 2008

Productivity Conference in NZ

“Manufacturers productivity conference held in Auckland, New Zealand in May attracted many attendees from a wide variety of industries including: kitchens, cabinets, shop fitters, furniture, joinery, sheet metal and engineering.  Speakers included

1  Jon Martin Managing Director Phoenix Aluminium advised “Within 36 months factory staff levels were reduced from the 24 to 11 – saving $470,000 each year in wage costs [production levels were maintained]. One recent example of how time tracking works is one factory staff member went from 60% productive one month, to 100% the next month, to 120% the next month. Within three months the same staff member, doing the same job, doubled his output…

2   David Lawrence, production manager of Modulink Kitchens and Joinery in Christchurch advised “time tracking software brings total control to the factory floors and increases to weekly productivity has been substantial in all three joinery manufacturers he has worked for. At Asset Kitchens factory staff were reduced from 13 to 8 - whilst maintaining weekly output - saving $175,000 per year…

3   Paul Entwisle, owner of Forest Furniture.  Paul invested in PCs on the factory floor and ‘Empower’ time tracking software in 2003. Within two years Paul achieved a 20% increase in staff output and factory productivity.  When Paul won Waikato Business of the Year in 2005 the judges Deloittes, one of the big six worldwide accounting firms, were impressed with the PCs on the factory floor his ‘Empower’ time tracking software…”

NZ Engineering News

Job Scheduling – (Jan 2020)

BUSINESS CONSULTANTS ADVISE ENGINEERS ON CRITICAL COMPONENTS TO JOB SCHEDULING

Working smarter; that’s what it’s all about. NZ Engineer News has approached three of the most experienced business consultants working in the New Zealand engineering space to advise us on job scheduling for engineers. Here’s what they had to say:

IAN FEATHERSTONE, OWNER OF GLASS HALF FULL

I recommend you look for scheduling software that has a demonstrated track record of working effectively for the engineering sector where 100% of the clients using the software are engineers and other custom manufacturers, where by default the software has all the necessary functionality to cope with all the complexities that occur on factory floors. The latest scheduling software use tablets on the factory floor, where factory staff start and finish their jobs on their tablets which enables automatic updating of job status and live and accurate scheduling.

DAVID LAWRENCE, OWNER OF LEAN MANUFACTURING

I consult to over 140 engineers and other jobbing manufacturers throughout New Zealand and Australia on scheduling, shop floor productivity and lean manufacturing. I can say that the substantial majority of engineers still schedule manually using spreadsheets and do not schedule well at all.

My short hand advice to owners, production managers and management teams of engineering firms;

1 Stop using spreadsheets to schedule work. Spreadsheets are very time consuming, job status must be assessed and recorded manually then entered by staff or management manually, and in most case sequencing of tasks and capacity of tasks is not considered so the forward work schedule is not accurate

2 Invest in tablets for your factory floor and labour management and scheduling software

3 Use only scheduling software that where jobs and tasks are updated live from factory floor tablets…

I use ‘Empower Workshop Productivity and Scheduling Software’ developed here in Auckland, NZ

WARWICK RUSSELL, OWNER OF SMETRIC INSIGHTS

Software such as Empower Factory Productivity & Scheduling is a game changer for engineers. By using touch screens or tablets on the workshop floor jobs, factory staff and time on jobs are tracked in real time and there is visibility across the entire business; where teams and individual factory staff are at, where jobs are at, where the capacity constraints are and what conversations are needed with clients on priorities ahead of time, not after a late delivery.

Stile Aluminium Windows – (Oct 2009)

$11,000 One Off Investment saves Stile $100,000 Per Year

“We purchased the software 12 months ago.  At the time we had 8 factory staff - now we have 5 factory staff and we have maintained production.  This is a 60% increase in staff and factory productivity.

Time tracking has transformed the productivity of our factory.  We are now a far more productive and profitable business”...

Brent Hudson the Managing Director 

Is it Time? (to Adopt Technology) – Aug 2009

Is it Time?

“Manual time sheets that factory staff fill in at the end of the day were used 100 years ago and are commonly known as ‘lie sheets’ and ‘cheat sheets’ for obvious reasons.This article summarises compelling advice from those engineers and manufacturers who have moved on to now use inexpensive PCs on their factory floor, to time track jobs and staff and track the status of all jobs – which is all reported back to production management ‘live’...”

MARs Transport – July 2009

MARs Before and After

“MARS build heavy road transport equipment in the Riverland, South Australia. Their business turn around and success is quite remarkable.In six months, factory productivity had been turned on its ear, increasing by an absolute minimum 30 per cent. By progressing use of the system further, they expect to increase factory productivity to 50 per cent minimum within the next six months. “The system has worked for me for three main reasons: Firstly, all factory staff are now entirely goal oriented on all jobs – PC screens advise them of budgeted time, when they start each job and the actual time when they fi nish each job. “Secondly, all forms of downtime are tracked – overhead jobs, unproductive jobs, rework, unaccounted time, time stolen from lack of promptness at day start, smokos, lunch and day was costing 30 minutes per staff member per day, which for 25 staff was 62.5 lost production hours per week, totalling 270 lost production hours per month, which at our overhead cost was costing us in excess of $13,000 a month).” Thirdly, Peter and his production management staff monitor all times on all jobs, with up to the minute production information which enables far more responsive and better production management and planning. “The system gives us all the live business reporting and business metrics we possibly need…”  

Peter Morelli, Managing Director

History of PCs on Workshop Floor and Time Tracking Software in NZ – Nov 2008

Time Tracking Being Used in New Zealand

“As soon as PCs were developed some 30 years ago progressive engineering firms in the US and Europe used PCs on their factory floors to track “Live” their jobs, staff, and productivity…

The New Zealand aluminium window and door manufacturing industry has followed the US and European engineers by implementing PCs on the factory floor and time tracking software to increase productivity…

Phoenix Aluminium, one of several of New Zealand’s largest and most progressive window manufacturers, have been using PCs on the factory floor and time tracking software for 10 years and they have increased their productivity by 130%...

Other manufacturing industries that use PCs on the factory floor and time tracking software extensively include: kitchen manufacturing, shop fitting, timber joinery, aluminium windows, timber windows, boat building, contract fibreglass manufacturing, and standard and custom furniture manufacturing…

Sean O’Sullivan, Founding Director Empower Software, B Com (Hons) Otago University

Empower News

CABINET VISION AND MICROVELLUM – March 2021

“Empower have completed Stage 1 development of 2 interfaces from Cabinet Vision to Empower.  The first interface automatically transfers New Job and Client information from Cabinet Vision to Empower.  The second interface transfers Bill Of Materials (BOM) listing of materials description, materials code and materials quantity per Job from Cabinet Vision to Empower for Empower to then generate Purchase Orders and to Stock Control.  These interfaces will save a lot of unnecessary wasted time entering considerable same data into two systems for every new Job. 

Empower’s development of the Microvellum to Empower interfaces are also under development and available shortly. 

These interfaces will help Empower’s existing clients and will attract new clients to Empower Software who are currently using Cabinet Vision and Microvellum throughout Australasia and internationally.  For those readers who are not aware Cabinet Vision and Microvelum are two of the largest and most recognised international AutoCAD based design, costing and machining software products and brands to joinery industries."

EMPOWER SALES UP 400% – February 2021

“In the first seven weeks of 2021 Empower’s software sales are up some 400% on usual levels.  Our new web site has played a critical role in attracting and converting substantially more new clients and the Empower team have “stepped up to the plate” and successfully supported and implemented all new clients in 2021”

EMPOWER RELEASES ITS NEW WEB SITE – November 2020

“After 18 years of software product development focus and client support focus Empower we are very proud to release our new web site.  No other software company in the world, that we are aware of presents firstly anywhere near 79 client case studies and secondly 20% t0 40%+ reduction in labour times on jobs therefore 20% to40%+ reduction in labour cost on jobs, making Empower a world leader in our space.”