Summary: From anecdotal to quantitative decision making, SmallHD has built a data-driven business strategy system underpinned by the NetSuite platform
For SmallHD, a company that makes high definition field monitors typically used in the film and television industry, a custom-built system to refine its production strategy has led to significant improvements in production amidst rapid growth.
SmallHD’s monitors help define depth of field and ensures shoots are executed the right way first time around without the need for expensive repeats. Founded back in 2009, the company moved out of its initial start-up phase relatively quickly and started building up a solid customer base.
Embracing all-in cloud
As its market started to expand, SmallHD quickly needed to get its books straight and decided to go ‘all-in cloud’ by adopting NetSuite in 2010 and embracing Google Apps at the same time. The firm then started adding in additional functionality such as demand planning(opens in new tab) along with other intelligence extensions.
Reed Philips, IT Manager, SmallHD and Andy Wilcox, COO, Small HD explained how their firm built what it calls its MPS (management production system) to help run its business at NetSuite’s recent SuiteWorld conference.
The firm had previously used a paper-based system to run its manufacturing production strategy(opens in new tab) and realized that it was stuck in a situation where imprecise decision making was holding back the business.
From anecdotal to qualitative
“We wanted to move from this archaic level of anecdotal decision making to a new era of qualitative and quantitative decision making,” said Wilcox.
The custom-built system now in operation is able to capture data from the firm’s manufacturing floor and direct that information to the place where it is of most productive use. The company uses Tableau data visualization software to view the information it derives from its workforce and production line.
Breaking down sub-assemblies
Each component of the firm’s technology is defined and broken out into its own ‘sub-assembly’ process, each of which has a standard target build time. Each component is monitored through its own individual Tableau dashboard so that each assembly process and its corresponding build time can be monitored.
Wilcox explained how the firm uses this information intelligence to look at failure analysis and fine tune the firm’s processes.
The whole system here connects to and sits upon NetSuite. Interfacing between NetSuite and MPS is done on a continuous basis to keep the system updated. The MPS system itself is written in PHP and can run on any device that runs a browser.
Costs and results
The whole development process for MPS took around nine months to a year in order to complete at a cost of around $5,000 per month plus hardware expenses for a server and mobile devices.
SmallHD estimates it has received a roughly 37 percent increase in productivity across its operations over the last year; thanks largely to the creation of the MPS system.
As an example of a firm that knew it wanted to improve its processes to directly and positively impact its profit potential, SmallHD is a great example of an organization sharpening its focus.